The looming certified public accountant shortage is no longer materializing somewhere off in the distance. It’s here, and many accounting firms have found themselves looking to nontraditional measures to close the gap. Among small and midsize U.S. firms, an increasingly common strategy has been the recruitment of international talent to support seasonal operations. Although larger firms have tapped the overseas market of CPAs and auditors for years, there are potential complications – for all firms – that can’t be overlooked.

As more organizations employ international contractors for seasonal services, the pool of skilled and qualified prospects has dwindled driving up the hourly rate. Additionally, security matters are a legitimate concern when engaging international talent. Global talent options shouldn’t necessarily be ruled out altogether, but organizations should consider them a failsafe – a last hiring resort – particularly when domestic contractors are still a viable alternative. The key: planning ahead.

Every organization should have a general contingent labor strategy, but accounting and auditing firms also must respond to a regular seasonal cycle that allows for – and, frankly, requires – a certain amount of workforce planning. Here’s a basic blueprint for these firms to follow in order to best prepare for tax season:

Engage a Third-party Hiring Partner 

In-house networks can be limiting, while headhunters and traditional staffing agencies tend to be too transactional in nature. A talent cloud, on the other hand, can connect you with proven candidates, onboard them quickly and help you curate and maintain a contractor strategy that makes the most sense for your firm. Reach out today to ask how PeopleCaddie can help.

Identify Your Preferred Tax Season Contractors

Whether you landed on a do-it-all employee who is a hand-in-glove fit for your company culture or a hard-to-find specialist who perfectly fills a key role, targeting your most valued contractors and signing them on early – a year or more in advance – ensures consistency of product and prevents a mad dash for talent at the last moment. Work with your talent cloud point of contact to set up these engagements early.

Anticipate Your Business Needs

No matter the lengths an organization goes to precisely project its hiring needs over time, unexpected circumstances invariably arise. Today’s workforce may require expansion (or contraction) based on tomorrow’s business developments. Sketch out your firm’s current needs and build business projections that anticipate future initiatives. Begin identifying leveraging contractors during tax season can help your firm solve problems or shortfalls by creating a bench of talent that’s ready when you are.

Involve Your HR team

Those involved with hiring typically have a lot of experience anticipating future needs and figuring out how to meet them with staffing solutions. Be sure to include human resources in your business planning and discussions with a talent cloud – they can be some of your best assets in leveraging contractors during tax season.

Rinse and Repeat

Permanent employees take time to hire and onboard, and they require long-term commitments that, if overused, can put the profitability and financial solvency of an organization at risk. Contractors provide firms the flexibility to quickly scale up or down based on immediate business needs, and that freedom allows for the pursuit of more business without stress to your current workforce. Interested in learning more about how you can leverage contractors? Contact PeopleCaddie to develop a strategy on how your company can use our talent cloud.