Submitted by Danley Yip, CA
Division Director, Robert Half Management Resources
Tax preparer jobs and other opportunities for accounting and finance professionals to explore temporary and project work exist year round. Still, tax season presents perhaps the best chance to investigate jobs in the tax preparer career path.
Tax-preparation giant H&R Block boasts 19 million clients worldwide, and thousands of other firms will be spending January through April servicing countless individual, corporate, small business and sole proprietorship returns. The federal government estimates that more than 300,000 seasonal jobs are created during tax time.
In fact, many organizations, not just CA firms, will need additional assistance during this time to handle the deluge of work. They will seek certified tax preparers, tax accountants, bookkeepers and auditors. Often, individuals do not even need to possess prior tax experience to pursue project assignments. That’s because companies frequently hire temporary staff to function as a “relief crew” so full-time employees can focus their attention solely on the business’ taxes.
Consider the following benefits to project work to determine if the option is right for you this tax season:
Most individuals take on project work during tax season to earn extra money. Firms pay a premium for skilled professionals who can prepare and audit returns. Some even offer bonuses based on the number of returns accurately completed. Retirees or those who work only part time may be particularly interested in taking on a temporary tax assignment to supplement regular income.
Tax returns can often be prepared around the clock, not just between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. That allows individuals with commitments during regular business hours to work in the evenings, on weekends or during other convenient times. In addition, you can typically choose how many or how few hours you’d like to work each week. Talk about personal and professional balance.
If you’ve ever considered a career in tax, then project work may be beneficial to you. It allows you to explore the field with little risk and determine if it is the right path for you. Recent college graduates or those who have been out of the workforce for an extended period of time may be particularly interested in entering the work world through temporary assignments.
Possible full-time work
Temporary assignments allow you to “test drive” potential full-time opportunities with a firm. Through project work, you can showcase your skills, demonstrate your ability to effectively collaborate with clients and coworkers, and highlight the value you can bring to the company over the long term. Furthermore, many organizations have fiscal years that don’t align with the calendar year, and some tax preparation must be completed each quarter. As a result, needs may exist even after April has passed.
Project assignments enable you to expand your current knowledge of tax laws and preparation. Some individuals who work on a temporary basis during the season have completed tax preparation coursework at accredited schools but do not work in the industry. Rather, they have full-time careers in other fields — such as law, healthcare or administration — and take on project assignments out of interest or the desire to expand their skill sets.
If you are interested in taking on project work during tax season, there are a number of ways to locate potential openings. Many organizations, from tax-preparation firms to government agencies to private and public companies, post job listings in newspapers and online. Another option is to register with a staffing firm that specializes in finance and accounting. These companies often have access to job listings that are not publicly posted, and such firms are skilled at locating employment opportunities that best match your background and interests.
If consulting is of interest to you, tax season may be the right time to get your feet wet by taking on project assignments. The many advantages of temporary work and relative ease of starting out make this a virtually risk-free way to learn more about a potentially satisfying and rewarding career.
Robert Half Management Resources is the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. With over 120 locations worldwide, our consultants take on the most exciting projects with industry leaders and emerging organizations. For more information visit www.rhmr.com.
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