“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin
Taxes. That horrible chore that makes it on our to-do list every year. Even for those who are expected to receive a large return, the task can seem daunting. Forms, filing, 1040’s. Most of us just take the mess of papers, receipts, and forms and hand it off to a professional. But have you ever stopped to think about what it’s like for a CPA? Imagine if other professions were comparable to what CPAs go through. If most of us had to cram 75% of our work into a 3 month span, we would be blundering messes.
At TeachUComp, we work with CPAs and EAs on a regular basis, helping them achieve continuing education credits. We see how difficult their work is. Here are the top 5 reasons we respect the CPA profession.
- January-April is stressful. And by stressful, we mean “working-80-hour-weeks-digging-through-shoe-boxes-full-of-receipts” stressful. The nature of the profession requires most of their work to be completed during tax season. This year was especially difficult due to changing government regulations. After the Fiscal Cliff debate, Congress delayed the start of tax season by almost a whole month! As if CPAs weren’t already rushed!
- Changing Tax Code. You only need to glance at the list of IRS Publications on their website to get an idea of how complicated tax code can be. Not only do CPAs have to understand complicated accounting concepts, but they must stay up-to-date with changing tax code and tax laws. While the IRS website can be a great resource, trying to comb through the hundreds of publications and articles is enough to make your head spin!
- Continuing education is required. Due to the technical nature of the job, preparing taxes requires a certain amount of continuing education. It depends on the state, but some CPA’s or EA’s have to earn upwards of 10 hours of CPE a year. This can be a conference or class, however it sometimes requires learning new material, reviews, and exams.
- It’s mostly a customer service job. When most people think of accounting, they think of keeping books, and boring mathematical operations. However, during tax season, a large part of a tax preparer’s job is customer service. It is their job to serve the client and make them happy. However we all know how difficult that can be sometimes. In a culture where the “customer is always right” it can be a daunting task to make the customer happy when you are taking their money and handing it to the government.
- Making a mistake can have huge consequences. All of us have made at least one mistake at work. Most of the time we can recover, learn and move on. However what if one little mistake (such as moving a decimal point or forgetting a minus sign) could lead to huge financial consequences for the client? Not only do tax preparer’s have to make sure they are following tax code, being ethical, making the customer happy, and completing work quickly (because the client needs it done NOW) but each return has to be error free. Talk about stress!
So if you are one of those people that has waited until the last minute or are filing extensions, remember the stress that your CPA or EA is under. After this season they definitely deserve a vacation!