How CPAs Recover from Tax Season

Article excerpt

Denise Hanley, director, computer support, Kraft CPAs, Nashville.

Unwind? Not in my job. As soon as tax season is over, we hit the ground running. I'm in charge of computer support for my firm. During tax season, my department is on call practically 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If there's a computer problem, we get beeped for immediate action. We can't afford to have computer downtime during tax season.

But right after April 15, when the crushing need for computer use eases, my department gets down to its real job: technical support. We start work upgrading our IBM AS/400 minicomputers. We also upgrade the networks and all the computers in the firm. These are jobs we can't do during tax season. Our department also handles training and marketing for our computer support services.

The most difficult job we have is analyzing what went wrong with the software or the hardware during the frenzy of tax preparation. We have to figure out how to fix things. That may mean upgrading software, evaluating new software and determining whether and how to make the change.

Complicating this process is the fact that our firm does many audits: Once tax season is over the staff shifts gears and gets heavily involved in auditing. Thus, there are no real slow periods at our firm.

Anne M. Yamamoto, CPA, tax partner, Frank, Rimerman & Co., Menlo Park, California.

My husband and I are both CPAs, and this year we did something a little different: We took off the week after tax season for the first time. We stayed home with our two kids and took day trips because planning a big trip seemed too much like work.

In our firm, we focus initially on administrative items on e tax season is over. The thing I always hate is that we have to prepare bills right away. We also do performance evaluations.

We've realized there are a lot of administrative things that we're really on top of during busy season and then tend to let slide once it's over. This year, we've decided to change that. For example, during tax season, we have weekly tax partner-manager meetings in which we review personnel scheduling and any other important items. It really is a very effective management tool, so we're going to do it year-round now. If we can make the time to do it in our busiest time, why can't we continue doing so when work slows down? During the summer, we're going to focus on evening out work flow and coordinating training, vacation and maybe even marketing efforts.

Connie Brezik, CPA, PFS, senior consultant McGladrey & Pullen, Casper, Wyoming.

Tax season really begins around February 1, after our clients receive their 1099s and W-2s. …