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How Freelance Accountants Ease Tax Time Stress at CPA Firms

By Brad Hughes

  • November 07, 2019
  • 5 min. read

Tax season is just around the corner. Maybe your accounting firm has gained a few large clients this year and you’re not sure how your in-house CPAs will handle the uptick in tax time activity.
Tax time can be stressful for everyone, but accounting firms can especially feel the brunt of the season. Your usual clients are reliant on your services, especially when filing deadlines are approaching – not to mention the individual filers who only come out once a year.

CPA Firm Necessities

At an accounting firm, you’re charged with monitoring and managing the financial aspects of several different businesses and individuals – and keeping every detail straight. Throughout the year, there are a few familiar filing deadlines to meet:

  • March 15
  • April 15
  • September 15
  • October 15

During the months and weeks leading up to these deadlines, your firm may feel stretched to capacity. And it’s a double-edged sword, because if you hire the staff to meet demand for the busy months, how do you keep them busy during the slow season?

Hiring a freelance accountant to help your firm through this tax time crunch can help you save time and money. Our research shows that by replacing just a small percentage of your full-time accounting staff in tune with client demand, you could save up to $46,000 per freelancer hired.

Adding freelancers will boost your firm’s capabilities during seasonal upticks in business.

The Cost of Full-Time Staff vs. Freelancers

To analyze your potential savings by hiring freelance accountants, you need to calculate just how much you spend on your current, full-time staffers. To come to a real figure can be somewhat difficult – what if a full-time, salaried employee has become disconnected or unproductive? Their inability to focus means you might have to hire yet another full-time staffer. The cost of slacking aside, the case for freelancers is a compelling one.
When you figure in salary, training and on-boarding costs, taxes, full-time benefits, and the loss you take on a bad hire – the real cost of full-time employees can be nearly 90% higher than their salary!
The cost of bringing a freelance accountant aboard can vary significantly depending on the amount of work you need and if it’s needed immediately. Updating your roster with freelancers across the board wouldn’t be feasible. But replacing the right percentage of full-timers with freelancers – and at the right time of year – can mean huge savings for your firm. At Beech Valley, we can find just the right type of vetted professional with just the right degree of expertise, teamwork, and communication you desire.

Are There Pitfalls to Hiring Freelancers?

Maybe you’ve considered hiring some freelance staff for your firm, but you’ve heard horror stories. There are some drawbacks to hiring freelance staff you might not have considered:

Hiring the over-seller

There are two types of freelancers – those who do so because they want to, and those who do so because they feel they need to. The latter bunch might just be looking for a paycheck and not really have your firm’s best interests at heart.
The good news? With some basic vetting procedures, you can easily identify and distinguish between the two. It’s important to understand why the professional is freelancing.

Inadequate IT infrastructure

If you don’t have a system in place that’s conducive to freelance, off-site work, you’re setting your freelancers up for failure. You must have easily accessible systems that allow freelancers to do what you’ve hired them for.

Hiring a freelancer with invalid experience, or no experience

Not all freelancers are created equal. In the first pitfall mentioned above, the overseller is the type of freelancer who’s freelancing out of necessity – not out of a deep desire to do the work. Perhaps your chosen freelancer has loads of credit, but not in the types of accounting you require. In the worst-case scenario, the freelancer has some community college accounting courses under their belt but has no real understanding of a corporation’s reporting requirements.

Inefficient freelance hiring procedures

When you hire full-time staff, you have a vetting procedure, followed by training, and finally easing the hire into his or her position. With freelancers, you can’t treat the on-boarding process the same, or you risk missing the very windows of seasonal business you’re hiring them for.
But that’s where we come in. We’ve already done the vetting process and ensured each freelancer is knowledgeable in the aspects of accounting they’ve applied for. Each of our prospective freelancers are tested on their abilities, and only the top 2% of applicants are accepted to our platform.

Help Boost the Gig Economy

Creatives – freelance writers, artists, designers and such – have been doing “gigs” for years. Project managers are even in on the boom. In fact, according to Gallup, as of August 2018, 36% of American workers had some stake in the gig economy. That number will rise to 43% by 2020, and it’s projected that by 2025, up to 70% of American workers will be performing some type of contracted work.

The biggest drivers of this transformation are:

  • The internet – has made collaboration easier than ever, people can meet or work together without meeting in-person
  • Subscriptions – freelancers can utilize software subscriptions in their work for small monthly fees

Beech Valley Solutions offers the best of both worlds. We give freelance accounting professionals a platform and you’re able to find just the right accountants to seasonally staff your firm. But why should you invest in our freelance accountants? We only allow the top 2% of applicants access to our platform. When you hire a Beech Valley freelancer, you’re hiring top talent.
Beech Valley offers freelance accounting professionals with three to 15 years’ experience. Our professionals can assist your clients with:

  • Tax planning
  • Tax research
  • Trusts and estates
  • Tax compliance

Our vetted freelancers can assist with all types of businesses, from Sole Proprietors to Corporations. Your CPA firm can benefit from the expertise and service of a freelance accounting professional. Not to mention, you’ll help the gig economy continue to thrive.

Tax time is nearly upon us – let Beech Valley Solutions provide the solution to your tax season crunch.

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