In the public accounting world, every accountant is unfortunately familiar with the struggle of busy season. Even though this is one of the biggest struggles of a career in public accounting, most just accept it as the realty of being in the industry. There are so many different reasons why busy season is so busy, but what if there was a solution that could potentially take away most, if not all, of the busy season hours?
Every year, year-end rolls around, the companies work on finalizing the books while the public accounting firms are waiting and dreading the federal filing deadline looming right around the corner. Unfortunately, most clients have the federal deadline in mind for when they must have their books finalized and sent over, thinking we, the public accountants, have plenty of time to finish it up the couple of weeks before the deadline. However, for the public accounting firm, there are a ton of these clients with that same thought in mind, all sending their info over in those same last couple of weeks.
As the deadline approaches, clients’ financials come flooding in. For most of them, this may be the first time the CPA has seen anything regarding their books all year. There’s no telling what kind of cleanup or surprises are waiting for you after being absent from the books the whole past year. There may be a whole bunch of assets to add to the tax software, or a ton of changes you sent over from the prior year and none of them had been made in the clients’ books. They may have a whole different version of the software they were using, so now you are having to convert their file. There’s a whole variety of different matters you are going to have to take care of once you open the books for the first time that year.
Even if there are no errors or major surprises in the books, every client is different. They all have varying expenses and income items. Some may have a long, detailed chart of accounts that shares barely any of the same accounts as the next client’s books. Whether the clients’ books are a total mess or perfectly organized, the accountants have now gone from waiting on the final financials to drowning in work to get done by the deadline approaching way too soon.
Of course, realistically there’s not usually a whole lot of time spent just waiting around not having anything to do in these public accounting firms since we are so often still too stuck working on the prior year to even think about getting ahead on the current year. The world of public accounting always seems to be pushed to an afterthought, still working on the prior year, rather than working on providing insight where its most valuable, as decisions are being made. Being stuck in last year’s books never allows us as public accountants to get ahead and prepare for the deadline we know is coming every single year.
Now what if there was a solution that helped prevent all these roadblocks causing busy season to be so busy? Imagine a technology innovation that allowed us to have access to the clients’ books not only throughout the year, but every day. The technology would provide a web-based interface showing the financials on a daily basis and provide constant alerts. Alerts throughout the year for any items that require the accountant’s attention and to the client for any red flags that show a potential error in real-time instead of at the busiest time of the year. The software also converts these long, detailed charts of accounts from all different types of industries into a tax lead schedule that can flow directly into the tax prep software. The software even makes the tax reversals required for the tax return. Now when all those finalized financials come flooding in shortly before the deadline, you are already mostly done with those tax returns. No more major, time-consuming surprises right before the deadline. No more converting the delivered financials to the right version of the software. No more time spent waiting on the financials to even get started on the returns. Can you imagine a career in public accounting without busy season hours? With the technology we are developing, we are working towards making that dream the new reality.
Published on Monday, July 15, 2019 @ 3:49 PM CDT
The BaCo Group Focus
We focus on what we can do. We like to describe the circumstances that might generate a “We Can’t” response from a client as an opportunity to find a solution where we can.
We focus on what we can do in the Emerging Business arena, working primarily with closely held businesses and their owners in the area of reporting, income tax planning and compliance. We work well with owners of a business or businesses that want more efficient transparency in their financial reporting. That’s done by implementing best practices in their monthly closeout process, consolidating the information across all entities and automating the monthly report dispersal of their consolidated financial statements.
We work with clients that are as committed to what they can do as we are, that happens by eliminating inefficient manual processes that have plagued our industry for so long. If a new client is going to make it difficult for us to efficiently serve them by not keeping their accounting up to date and limiting our ability to assist, we simply don’t accept that engagement. We remain committed to you when taking on new clients, taking on clients that embrace inefficiencies impair our ability to take care of existing clients.
That means if you have not filed your returns and need to catch up or if you have done things with your old accountant the same way for the past twenty years and don’t want to change, this may not be the right fit. However, if you, like us, have grown weary of the status quo and are looking for advisors that are willing to be innovative and will create new techniques and technologies to do that, please give us a call.
The BaCo Group Difference
Our commitment to technology is what sets us apart.
We have developed a system that is designed to do bring efficiencies to the table that have not existed before. Clients indicated they would be receptive to a process that doesn’t involve a year end scramble to produce reports or send backups of every file to their preparer. We responded and created a system to do just that, a system so innovative that we have a patent pending the things that are in production now for that process.
A technology that makes the relationship between a client’s accounting records and their CPA's workflow seamless. Once a client is introduced to the process, it is up to date in our workflow every day, for every client. A command center to see items that need to be addressed, to address them, communicate to the client and move on to the next without opening email or tax returns or client files, that's integrated into a Command Center, not a passive dashboard but a centralized platform to drive the boat from. One client involved in the development with us described what they saw us building as the difference between looking at a thermometer and a thermostat.
Our industry works under the premise that relationship is not possible by focusing on the vast number of differences every client has in their accounting, from the reports generated to the method of delivery, from the software to the version of the software, there are so many things that every client does in a unique manner that we can’t possibly develop a platform that will overcome all of the differences. We broke the mold by focusing on the things that are the same for every client and then designed a consistent method of delivering introducing that directly into our workflow.
The BaCo Group Effect
The Effect on Clients Today
As our clients are onboarded they immediately have better visibility into their businesses for the owners and investors through automated consolidated online reporting, delivering the reports they want with drill down detail of the activity.
More efficient reporting and an improved closing platform for the controllers, the client accounting teams and their CPAs by introducing an online reporting system that puts everyone on the same page. Consolidated numbers are produced automatically every day, alerts are generated, and you can work with us to determine the best practices are for your monthly closeout. Ideas that have been proven effective by other controllers in and out of their industry.
The year-end process is streamlined, the production of reports and year end records is eliminated, the questions an account may have about what assets were sold, checks were voided, loans were created were highlighted as soon as their input entered the shared workflow and were addressed and cleared up long before now. Most importantly, it eliminates the time wasted by clients and their accounting team to bring their accountant up to speed on what took place last year, the need is gone because we were there.
Agreed to fees up front, we try to be efficient in the billing process, so we only do it once, we send a bill that covers what the services we will provide over the next 12 months and what the monthly fee schedule will be. We only bill you extra when you ask for something extra. There may be limited exceptions where the we don’t know what amount of work the process will entail, but in those rare cases you know up front.
The Effect on Clients Tomorrow
Monthly reporting will include updated tax projections throughout the year, as we close out this year, the techniques we are patenting and have proved to work in our beta environment will be implemented on the platform, so every client can see what their taxes are projected to be for next year, today. Those results can be annualized and shareholders that log in and see their files can see those items times their ownership percentage. It will include places for us to track their estimated payments against the projected income from their endeavors, eliminating the need to update files and wait on projections.
We believe that the day will come where most clients will receive their tax return before they used to send the reports they generated to start the process. We believe that because we will have helped make that process more efficient for both the sending of the data and the closeout, by doing that we can work with a system that flows the adjustments we make and will make, directly into the tax return.
Of course, we already allow for flexibility around that, just because we finalize a return, doesn’t mean we have to electronically file it until we need to. If circumstances arise that means we need to wait on taxable income from someone using a CPA not as committed to this process as we are, we can hold the returns we need to, so we can determine what amount we should elect to take for bonus depreciation or how much we need to contribute to a retirement plan.
The Effect on Our Professionals
It means the folks you are working with are not worn out at the filing deadline or unplugged from what you are doing for the current year.
It means that as we grow our product and brand, more and more qualified professionals seeking an opportunity like this, to join us. We will hire professionals on the right path at another firm that never thought they would leave because of what that career looks like compared to the one we are describing. Things like sabbaticals and once in a life time opportunities include questions like "can you log on and ..." or "be sure you are checking your email from your phone." The half hearted answer you get from someone on vacation with his family is worth far less than one from someone committed to providing services to all of our clients while others are out, because they know that others will do the same for them when it is their turn.
For example, the managing partner here went on a one month bicycle ride from Canada to Mexico in 2014, unplugged and let his team take care of it because when they are out of the office, he insists they unplug. He covers for the team when they are out, they do the same for him when he is. That commitment is the same whether it be for a bicycle ride down the Pacific Coast Highway or a weeknight at home watching their favorite show with their spouse.
We already have that today because we said no to the clients that are not willing to be efficient. We are committed to our service area by not preparing individual tax returns for individuals we do not work with all year. The introduction of brand-new data at the last minute just to get a tax return churned out that someone demands not be extended creates stress on everyone, so we just don’t take them on and we referred the ones we had before to other CPAs more focused on that type of practice and committed to those kinds of hours.
We can see the future like this and plan on making continued progress this year, because as we onboarded our clients into the system, we are catching up this year. We won’t waste time logging into and out of a client’s ERP or converting pdfs and excel documents into a format that we can work with. The data is in our workflow, the time wasted restoring files, sending accountants copies and posting adjustments to spreadsheets then sending them to clients who never post the ones we sent before are in our past because they were posted to the clients file when we entered it into our workflow.
We do that because we focus on what we can do, when everybody else said “you can’t” we looked at it as an opportunity to find a solution where we could and because we did that, we are doing things that nobody says we can for those clients and professionals that choose to work with us.