Solving the Busy Season Cycle: The Importance of Project-Based Talent
Ever feel like you’re stuck in a cycle of upsizing and downsizing your employee roster? Busy season hits, more clients sign up, workloads increase, and you enthusiastically bring on new accountants to pick up the slack. But then the inevitable happens: clients leave, projects disappear, and workers have to be let go.
It’s a painful process for everyone involved. But thankfully, in today’s economy, it’s one that can be avoided. We sat down with Beech Valley Solutions founding partner Brad Hughes to get some insights on how project-based talent can end the cycle, allowing you to exert better control over your budget while keeping employee morale high.
AF: Why is it important for firms to utilize project-based talent?
Brad: Firms can increase their profitability by flexing their staff levels up during busy season and then flexing back down during slow times. Firms can also increase employee morale by effectively using project-based talent during busy season. Often times, even firms that planned well wind up being understaffed, as key employees unexpectedly bolt right before busy season. Bringing on project-based talent helps ease the burden that in the past has been assumed by their staff.
AF: How has the availability and quality of project-based talent changed over the last few years?
Brad: Working within the gig economy has become more prevalent across all industries, including the accounting profession. As more CPAs are interested in picking up projects instead of jobs, the availability and quality of talent is increasing significantly.
AF: What are some strategies firms can use to seamlessly integrate project-based talent into their corporate structure?
Brad: Firms that have the best experience with project-based talent treat their freelancers similar to how they treat their full-time employees. This increases morale of the project-based talent, and it greatly increases the likelihood that the same project-based CPAs will be interested and willing to return next year.
AF: What are some strategies that will help firms maximize the effectiveness of project-based talent?
Brad: Firms that provide a great experience for their project-based resources tend to have the same resources recur year-to-year, which increases the effectiveness of their project-based talent. For firms that haven't worked with project-based talent in the past, we understand what audit and tax software they use and match CPAs who have experience with that software, which decreases the time it takes to train the new resource.
We also recommend firms integrate project-based talent into the same mentorship programs that they use with their full-time employees. For firms that have multiple project-based CPAs recur year-over-year, those recurring CPAs can act as mentors to the seasonal CPAs who are working their first busy season for the firm.
Find the best project-based talent
Head over to Accountingfly now to discover the top project-based talent looking for work in your industry.