Busy season: understanding the challenges

accountant during busy season
By Beverley Flanagan | 9th November 2022 | 3 min read

Last year, accountants faced increased stress due to Covid; alas, the typical difficulties and strains associated with busy season are again intensified this year due to new external factors: the talent shortage and cost of living crisis.

What’s the key to coping? Understanding.

We’ve detailed various difficulties you may face – from external factors to typical process challenges – enabling you to develop an effective strategy sooner.

Economic factors

It’s starting to feel like each year, something external to busy season will run rampant, causing enormous amounts of additional stress for accountants during an already challenging period.

Cost of living crisis

Not only is there an increased volume of work due to the busy season, but many clients are struggling due to the cost of living crisis, resulting in an added spike of those seeking support.

It’s up to accountants to act as a lifeline, proactively offering advice and speaking with clients to help them reduce their rising costs.

But how can you find the time to provide this added support? Extensive workload planning and management are required alongside efficient and streamlined processes.

The talent shortage

Surveys indicate that 74% of accountants are struggling due to a lack of skilled workers, and 49% stated recruitment/retention is a significant challenge.

The combination of busy season workloads and many firms struggling with recruitment and retention is worrying; requirements for efficient processes and automation that free up your staff’s time have never been greater.

People issues

Staffing and client considerations are required, and issues must be navigated for a successful busy season.

Out of offices

Due to the Christmas and New Year period, preparation for both staff and clients being out of the office is needed.

For clients, if they are yet to return to the office, this will be a problem. More notice about what you need and what is missing will be crucial.

As for staff, advise that annual leave is booked as early as possible, providing time to plan for staff shortages.

Problematic clients

We appreciate that for many accountants, some of the stress during busy season comes from problematic clients who leave it until the last moment or are struggling through the period.

If available, use past data to locate these problematic clients and communicate what you need from them early and repeatedly.

Process considerations

It’s no secret that busy season is stressful due to the sheer volume of work, and the processes/technology you have will contribute directly to the level of challenge you’ll face.

Software inefficiencies

Troubleshooting issues can be notorious for halting pace and delaying accountants.

If you’re using multiple pieces of technology that don’t connect, a massive amount of time is wasted jumping between applications – something you can’t afford during the busy season.

Paper processes

Reliance on paper-based records is incredibly inefficient and far more prone to human error, placing added stress on accountants.

Additionally, if staff are working from home but documents are paper-based, time will be wasted going back and forth to the office.


With the enormous increase in workload during busy season, attempting your typical activities over the same period will potentially set you up for a backlog of work and a jaded January.

Following suit and doing nothing delays the pain. Give yourself the maximum window of time possible and begin preparation for busy season as soon as possible.

The Busy Season Stress-Busting Blueprint

Let's face it, busy season is stressful.

But with some planning, you can easily turn busy season into business as usual.

If only there was a handy document, perhaps a blueprint, that compiled heaps of advice and guidance... Look no further - our Busy Season Stress-Busting Blueprint is exactly that, and available now!

From tips and tricks on improving your processes to supporting your mental and physical wellbeing - our guide provides an all-in-one resource.

Download the free guide here, and make this busy season the best yet.

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