Navigating the 2021 Remote Busy Season: Strategies for Accountants

Navigating the 2021 Remote Busy Season: Strategies for Accountants

The 2020 tax season has brought unprecedented challenges for accountants and tax preparers, with a global pandemic, new tax legislation, and the transition to remote work adding layers of complexity. This article explores four essential strategies for accountants to not only survive but thrive during the 2021 remote busy season. From managing time and stress to ensuring security, privacy, and client peace-of-mind, we delve into the crucial aspects that can make a significant difference in delivering excellent results for clients.

  • Chapter 1: Manage Time and Stress Effectively

  • Time and stress management are perennially critical for success during busy seasons, but in the extraordinary circumstances of 2021, these skills are more vital than ever. Here are actionable tips to navigate time and stress effectively:

    Set Clear Client Expectations: 

    Ensure clients understand their responsibilities and the consequences of missing deadlines for providing necessary information. Establish clear rules, secure client agreement, and document all communications for future reference.

    Embrace Distractions Mindfully: 

    Acknowledge the need for breaks and distractions. Schedule regular breaks to increase productivity in the long run and consider implementing the "do not disturb" feature on your phone to maintain focus during work hours.

    Break Accountability Buddy: 

    Collaborate with a colleague or friend to hold each other accountable for taking breaks, ensuring a healthy work-life balance even in the remote setting.

  • Chapter 2: Ensure Security, Privacy, and Client Peace-of-Mind

  • The shift to remote work amplifies concerns around data security and privacy. To address these, consider the following measures:

    Comply with FTC Regulations: Adhere to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations mandating tax preparers to maintain a written plan for client information security and privacy. Update or create a security plan that addresses remote work challenges.

    Virtual Private Network (VPN):

     Implement a Virtual Private Network to mask your online presence, protecting against online threats and ensuring a secure environment for client interactions.

  • Chapter 3: Collaborate Virtually for Better Tax Preparation

  • Efficient collaboration is key to successful remote work. Leverage technology to enhance communication and project management:

    All-in-One Video Chat and Messaging Solution: 

    Onboard clients and teammates onto a unified video chat and messaging platform like Slack to facilitate seamless communication. Establish rules for availability, response times, and scheduling video conferences.

    Project Management Software: 

    Utilize project management software such as Asana or Trello to track projects, manage timelines, and ensure everyone stays on task. These tools contribute to a more organized and efficient workflow.

  • Chapter 4: Get Familiar with New Tax Regulations and Legislation

  • Stay informed about new tax regulations and legislation to provide valuable insights to clients. Focus on key areas, such as:

    CARES Act Impact: Understand the impact of the CARES Act, especially provisions related to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, ASC 405-20, ASC 470-50, ASC 958-605, and IAS 20.

    • Net Operating Losses (NOLs) under the CARES Act: Recognize changes in Net Operating Losses rules and strategize on maximizing their use.

    Biden Administration's Proposed Tax Plan: 

    Stay abreast of potential tax changes proposed by the Biden administration, encompassing higher taxes on high-income households, increased corporate taxes, and expanded tax breaks for specific initiatives.

    The 2021 remote busy season presents myriad challenges, but with strategic planning and proactive measures, accountants can not only navigate the storm but also emerge stronger. Embracing effective time and stress management, ensuring security and privacy, leveraging virtual collaboration tools, and staying informed about new regulations are pivotal steps toward thriving in the current landscape. By making this busy season count, accountants can reinforce the value of their services and position themselves as indispensable professionals in times of complexity and uncertainty.

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