Press release

Right Networks 2019 Post-Tax Season Firm Survey Results: Managing Consequences of Workload Compression Was Biggest Concern of Accounting Firms

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More CPA firms were concerned with managing the consequences of workload
compression than keeping staff and clients updated on the newest tax law
changes according to the 2019
Post-Tax Season Firm Survey
conducted by Right
, cloud hosting solution provider for tax and accounting
professionals, in partnership with the CPA
Firm Management Association
(CPAFMA). Workload compression,
particularly its impact on firm morale and quality control, was a top
concern of 40 percent of CPA firms as they headed into the 2019 tax
season, while one-third of CPA firms were most concerned about keeping
accounting staff and clients updated on the implications of the newest
tax law changes. The survey also revealed what most suspected: this tax
season was a challenge. Fifty-five percent of respondents said this busy
season was either substantially more difficult (23 percent) or slightly
more difficult (22 percent) than previous ones.

“Entering tax season, firms were balancing workload compression with the
education of staff and clients on the implications of the Tax Cuts and
Jobs Act,” said Roman Kepczyk, Director of Firm Strategy at Right
Networks. “Add in late legislative updates on tax software and you can
easily understand why most firms were in scramble mode from the very
start of busy season.”

How Firms Prepared for Tax Season
With workload a top
concern, many firms said the one change they made going into tax season
that had the biggest impact was software improvements, with many firms
utilizing digital signing and e-filing, going 100 percent paperless, and
updating tax software. Seventy-five percent of firms increased staffing,
and while the hiring of additional accountants was common, this year
found many firms also increasing the number of administrative hires and
interns to assist with non-tax related work.

Hiring new staff came with its own set of obstacles. “Fifty percent of
firms said training new personnel on firm systems was a significant
challenge, compared to just 22 percent that said training on new
legislation was difficult,” said Kepczyk. “Given this, firms may now be
more motivated to proactively train new hires and interns earlier in the
year, before busy season, and provide more ‘just in time’ training
throughout the first two months, which is an area where we have
traditionally found firms lacking.”

Cloud-Powered Collaboration
When respondents were asked
specifically about the benefits of having tax applications hosted in the
cloud, the vast majority (72 percent) reaffirmed the convenience of
anytime/anywhere access and 67 percent touted the secure environment
provided. “Cloud providers like Right Networks have technical resources
well beyond what most standalone firms could ever implement and
maintain,” said Kepczyk. “As for remote access, it allows staff to work
effectively outside of normal operating hours – and to work around their
family activities, which we believe improves staff morale.”

Firms found that their efforts to move to new technologies and the cloud
paid off, with 34 percent citing improved collaboration with their
personnel and 20 percent citing improved collaboration with their
clients. The enhanced collaboration may have also benefited total work
hours. “Forty percent of CPAs said they worked ‘about the same’ while 45
percent said ‘substantially or slightly more’ which is not as big a
difference as we might have expected, given the challenges this tax
season presented,” said Kepczyk.

Improvements for 2020: People and Processes
The lack of
in-depth training on applications, processes and equipment was the
biggest regret of firms leading up to tax season, as noted by 39 percent
of respondents. Staffing was viewed as essential for addressing
significant bottlenecks before next tax season. Firms said they would
hire more quality staff at the middle level, more experienced
administrative staff, and more interns, and would also address
bottlenecks at the review stage.

“Tax season is always the most stressful time of year for CPAs, and 2018
filings were expected to be the most complicated in recent memory. Yet
it appears that a combination of increased staffing and use of
cloud-hosted applications helped firms successfully meet the challenge,”
said Kepczyk. “Looking to 2020, 40 percent of firms expect to implement
more in-depth training, which should lay the groundwork for a productive
and smooth tax season.”

This nationally
representative survey was fielded to more than 3,500 members and
prospective members of CPAFMA April 18 through April 30, 2019. The
survey yielded responses from 162 firms. The margin of error was +/-8 %.

About Right Networks
Right Networks
helps accounting firms, independent accounting professionals, and small
businesses move their legacy tax and accounting software and
business-critical applications to the cloud. Right Networks is 100%
accounting focused and offers an industry-leading solution that hosts
and maintains legacy tax and accounting software alongside a curated
application ecosystem of 250+ best-in-class applications, including
QuickBooks, Lacerte and ProSeries from Intuit, Expensify,,
Avalara, SmartVault and Webgility. By providing critical, time-consuming
application updates and back-ups and zero scheduled downtime, as well as
24/7 tech support and enterprise-class security, Right Networks
customers achieve the flexibility that is critical to serving their
clients and/or running their business. The company has earned widespread
industry recognition and was most recently named a 2019 CPA Practice
Advisor Readers’ Choice Award recipient.

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learn more about the company’s solution, pricing and available plans.