Should You Hire Temporary Workers for Tax Season?
Whether your firm is large or you’re the sole owner and staff member, tax season brings with it crushing pressure and a landslide of work. The onslaught often turns firm leaders’ attention to an important question they might not have seriously thought about all year: Should you hire temporary staff to help you get through the tax work?
It’s a tough question to answer. On the one hand, having to write up a job description, vet and interview prospective employees, and train someone may seem like too much work just to get a person or two to help out for four months. On the other, if your back’s to the wall and you’re only considering this now, you might not have the time or brain space to think about what qualities you’d like in an employee who will work with you full-time for the next several years. The choice can be tough, which is why many tax pros just decide to slog through each tax season alone, even if the work might be too much.
So, what should you do? It’s helpful to start by considering exactly what temporary staff can help with before you make a decision about whether or not you want to hire someone.
What Can Temporary Accounting Employees Help With?
When it comes to temporary employees, you might be surprised at the variety of professionals available to you. As the gig economy continues to flourish, many people with office and even tax-specific skill sets are welcoming the idea of hunkering down for the winter and working for a few months for the same employer, giving themselves some steady income and employment they’ll be able to count on.
Let’s begin by exploring the common functions the majority (read: easiest to find) of temporary employees would be able to serve in your accounting firm:
- Administrative Tasks: A temporary administrative assistant will help with around-the-office tasks like responding to calls and emails, as well as sorting them into categories based on how urgent the subject is. They can also process, assemble, and deliver tax returns, extensions, and estimates, ensuring you can spend more time on higher-level tasks that require your expertise.
- Simple Tax Preparation: Becoming a tax preparer is a popular choice for people who are interested in working in accounting and want the flexibility of working full time, part time, or as an independent contractor without having to go through the rigorous education required to become a CPA. While these professionals perform helpful tasks like bookkeeping and payroll year round, their tax-specific knowledge will come in especially handy to a busy accountant during the busy season. They can prepare either simple or more complex tax returns for both individuals and businesses, collect financial records, update clients’ information, provide educated analyses of financial data, and communicate directly with clients about their tax returns.
- Complex Tax Preparation: Enrolled agents (EAs) are also tax preparers, but the IRS gives them the resources and ability to perform an even wider range of tasks. These individuals usually worked for the IRS for a while and/or passed a three-part exam before obtaining a certification. While some are CPAs, it’s not a necessary prerequisite; in fact, EAs have one major advantage over CPAs: They’re not limited to working only in certain states. Enrolled agents can help you handle just about any issue that might arise for your taxpayers. Their functions involve resolving disputes and even representing clients if they have a case open with federal tax authorities.
As you can see, there are many tax-season-related tasks a temporary employee can help you with. Better still, all of the jobs on the above list can be done year round. So, think about the tasks you need help with post-busy season. If you like the person you hired temporarily, you can always talk to them about staying on full time.
How Technology Has Made Hiring Temporary Staff Easier
There are a number of additional advantages to hiring a temporary employee. First, tax preparation jobs are expected to continue to grow between 2021 and 2031, which means there will be an abundance of people seeking work. Second, all three of the above jobs can be done remotely. Technology has been a big help with this.
Take SmartVault, for instance. This document management software vendor has combined a secure way to exchange paperwork with both clients and at-home employees with easy integration with other frequently used programs like Intuit QuickBooks and Lacerte. It also integrates with the Cloud. So, your temporary employees will be able to easily access the necessary documents without compromising security, all from home.
To learn more about how SmartVault makes working with temporary employees and clients alike easier, schedule a demo with one of our experts today.
Blog by: Carrie Stemke