How to Avoid Overtime Work during Tax Season?
Learn how accounting firms in Canada can avoid overtime work during tax season to prevent their accountants and CPAs from getting burnt out.
Throughout tax season it's common for accounting firms to work overtime to meet client demand. However, it is recommended to avoid it. Under Canada's Labour Code, employees are entitled to 1.5 times their hourly pay, if working more than regulated hours per week. They can also be compensated with time in lieu for every hour of overtime worked.
Failure to comply with this policy is risky for the employer. It can even lead to employees filing a lawsuit, as was seen in the recent case of Fresco vs. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The plaintiff commenced a class action lawsuit on behalf of 31,000 customer service employees who worked for the bank. Ultimately, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sided with the plaintiff and a remedy will be determined on how CIBC must compensate class members.
This example demonstrates how overtime can come at a high price for all businesses, including accounting firms. In addition to potential lawsuits, accounting firms risk losing profits, employee burnout, damages to legal standing and reputation in the industry. It's in the accounting firm's best interest to avoid overtime work during the tax season and the mistakes that can come with it.
Read on to learn how to avoid overtime work and reduce your workload.
Tips to Avoid Overtime Work during Tax Season
Consider Overtime an Exception
At times, even with clear policies limiting or capping overtime, companies can have an overtime culture that starts around tax season. It leads to disengagement and employee burnout. Employers should lead by example and make it so that overtime is an exception.
Your accountants should not be pulling 44+ hour work weeks during the tax season. It should only be an exception for when it’s necessary or a client's work requires more time to sort out.
CPAs possess a wide-ranging financial acumen, however, not all accountants practice every facet. For instance, some are tax accountants while others specifically provide audit services.
When the 2020 tax season arrives, accounting firms need the expertise of accountants specialized in tax preparation and tax software. Cross-training your employees in tax prep will prevent them from working overtime.
Allow Flexible Work Hours
Flex times and remote working has shown to improve productivity for many employees. This allows accountants to work during the hours they find most convenient, reducing the need to work overtime.
Currently, the pandemic encourages employees to work from home. It provides them with the opportunity to build a flexible schedule so they work hours where they can focus on work.
Match Employee Staffing to Demand
Besides improper scheduling during tax season, a burgeoning accounting client demand may outweigh accountant capacity. But this doesn’t always mean having to take up the expense of hiring another in-house CPA.
Accounting firms can be proactive this 2020 tax season by leveraging freelance accounting services and outsource tasks. This way employees are not overburdened during the busy tax season.
Make sure Accountants have the Right Technology
Technology that simplifies tax prep during tax season provides accounting firms with the opportunity to automate processes. This saves you and your staff time otherwise spent on manual tax prep and instead focusing on client relationships.
Enter Taxbotic – an online software-as-a-service platform that automates T1 tax preparation and document gathering. Reduce your time spent sifting through large client binders and following up on missing information. Taxbotic gathers client information with a few simple questions and document uploads through the user friendly Taxbotic accounting software.
Our customers liken life before and after Taxbotic to feeling as though a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. Below are some of their experiences.
Before Taxbotic: “You send out tax checklists, wait forever to receive the documents from clients, only to find out clients didn’t send everything. You are stressed, work feels scattered, schedules take a hit and constant back and forth transforms into long hours.”
After Taxbotic: “Taxbotic fetches everything you need to prepare your client’s T1, organize in one place ready to populate the tax return software without worrying about missing something, you’ll be on top of things and out of office on the dot.”
Learn for yourself why so many accountants choose Taxbotic this tax season. Start your free trial today.