Every year around this time, accounting firms find themselves hustling to wrangle an open fire hose of client needs – and bring in the staffing support to accommodate the demand. With W-2s and 1099s to be prepared and end-of-year audits to be performed, hiring managers are expected to ramp up an accounting workforce at a time when talent is at a premium and there is no time to be lost. With more businesses leaning into the services that public accounting firms provide, this is a pain point that isn’t going away. In fact, without a cogent strategy to address these seasonal and cyclical staffing needs, the issue only figures to grow more painful for accounting firms (and the businesses they serve) over time. Fortunately for those tasked with doing the staffing of accountants, auditors and related support, tapping contingent labor provides an excellent resource for temporary, project-based labor. Here’s how to make the most of it:
Divide and conquer. You have a trusted staff of experienced CPAs, auditors and office professionals, and perhaps your business even requires certain full-time specialists who stay busy year-round. Tapping contingent labor isn’t necessarily a strategy intended to fill those roles. There are, however, acute moments in the annual business cycle – big projects rather than day-to-day tasks – that require all hands on deck, and then some. These moments are when contract workers become a critical resource.
Because every client’s greatest time of need comes after the end of the calendar year (when tax preparations, audits and projections all come due), the pileup requires outside help. Additionally, the cadence of accounting work has helped create a job economy of professionals who specialize in parachuting into a firm and expertly buzz-sawing through specific tasks. Silo out your seasonal needs, identify the areas where contingent labor can help most, then deploy talent in a way that will be least disruptive to the usual rhythms of your firm. This positions staff and contractors to focus on what they do best and allows your organization to plug and chug based on cyclical business needs.
Get ahead. Audit busy season is an inherently busy stretch for accounting and auditing firms, but it’s hardly the only one. The lead-up to the April 15 tax filing deadline and October 15 extension deadline bring their own special kind of madness, and firms almost certainly need to flex their staff with contingent labor at these stages, too. But the importance of EOY extends beyond completing immediate tasks; hiring managers who want to avoid the annual scrum for talent should be identifying and securing the services of their best and most valuable contingent laborers now. Lining up those contracts well in advance provides peace of mind to both the employer and the worker, and often leads to ongoing relationships that keep experienced, trusted independent contractors coming back for seasonal work again and again.
Call on an expert. Just as your clients come to you to manage their books, you may consider a third-party specialist to help connect you to the best contractors on the market. PeopleCaddie has a proven track record in the accounting space, and our technology-enabled platform and high-touch service put the best CPA and auditing contractors at your fingertips. With our roster of qualified candidates, all of them reviewed by previous PeopleCaddie clients and vetted by seasoned recruiters, you can trust your next seasonal hire’s skillset, experience and fit within your organization. With PeopleCaddie, preparation for audit and tax busy seasons – perhaps your firm’s biggest pain points – doesn’t have to be a pain at all.
Looking tap contingent laborers? PeopleCaddie’s talent cloud features contractors with wide-ranging expertise. Contact us to find out how our team can help power your contingent labor strategy.