Income tax preparation is a large piece of work for many public accounting firms, including ours. Most of the clients whose businesses we help throughout the year ask us to file their personal and business returns, and some clients engage us just to do their taxes. So, from February through April 15th we’re doing at least some work for a majority of our clients.
Our office hours remain 8:30 to 5:30, but our team members work longer days, and in February professional team members start working six days a week. No vacations are scheduled and we work on Martin Luther King and Presidents days.
Fortunately, because we are a mid-sized firm we are not all-consumed by tax preparation and we don’t go too crazy. During the height of tax season in past years we’ve conducted full-scale audits, completed independent inventories, created routine and special financial statements, and have helped potential buyers with their due diligence work. We have also helped people with IRS and California tax notices and other pop up needs that were impossible to predict. We don’t pull all-nighters, either!
In addition, we welcome new tax clients up to nearly the filing deadline. We may initially help the client file an extension request, but we are able to step up and help someone we’re just getting to know.
Smaller firms, especially sole practitioners, can be maxed out during tax season. An unexpected illness — tax season is also flu season! — can severely limit what that firm can do for its clients. When a single CPA is working 12 hours a day already, it’s difficult to find time to research an unexpected tax issue or to respond to a work interruption or a sudden, substantial client need.
For us, the view from the inside is that we’re bustling but not stupid bustling. Most days most of us still have a sense of humor. We’re enjoying helping our clients with their taxes.