By Lyle Ball, CEO of Avii 


In accounting, some things seem to never change while others seem to never stop changing. Both can be frustrating. The movement away from time-based billing, more remote work, less compliance-focused accounting, and more advisory work was well underway even before the COVID pandemic. During and post-pandemic, changing tax code, shifting deadlines, wildfires, hurricanes, financial market unsurety, and crises caused by the downtime of major technology providers has accelerated the moving sand beneath our foundation.  

Now, the Great Resignation (which I’ve re-framed as the
Mighty Migration) makes employee retention an increasingly bigger issue for accounting as well. 

This leads to an additional set of truths I will now bring forward: 

1)    Since change is inevitable, change management is perpetual.

2)    As we plan for change (and no, this is not an oxymoron) we can predict the needs with far greater effectiveness by understanding the highest pains for accounting by season.


When we develop our timelines for change by season, we can address the highest needs with a much higher level of precision and confidence. We can achieve dramatic improvement in Accounting Experience Management™ for clients, practitioners, and managers by putting our focus on the one (or several) proven and predictable areas of greatest need in each season of the year. 

And in this way, we come much closer to managing change within a meaningful timeline that we can both predict and control. 


Let’s presume the functions of accounting fall into three primary seasons of every year: 

  1.  Tax Season. Regardless of anything else, we know when it is and we know that it will always appear. 
  2.  Extension Season. Every year, there’s a portion of the firm’s clientele who will need and want to file an extension. In some years, such as 2020-2021, the extension may aim for one date and then become another and becomes a nearly universal event but with different criteria for individuals, business filings, and trusts. In 2021, the 2020 extension season that begins on April 15 has extended from July 15 to as late as October 15, making it a major factor in the 2021 work process of all US firms. 
  3.  Year Long. Outside of tax we have consistent operational issues and support for the audit and advisory work that plays an increasingly key role in funding and M&A in addition to a growing role in the differentiation and profitability of the firm overall.  

Each of these seasons are vital and call for specialized technology and workflow support. To aid in the effectiveness and precision of aligning these seasons into timelines and plans for technology upgrades, I’ve compiled a few of the things our clients have said about their most pressing needs and the experience management priorities for each: 

The Highest Needs Timeline for Accounting

Tax Season:

  • Project Management, Team Management, Scheduling, Client Communications, Dashboards, Automated & Interconnected Workflows:
    • “Workload compression – large volume of work to complete in a relatively short period of time.” 
    • “Overload of work in the pipeline with limited resources to get it all done timely.”
    • “Staff availability and resources – finding/having the right number of staff to handle workload without burning them out.”
    • “Status of returns – whose court is the ball in; estimated completion time; follow up questions or missing item requests.”
    • “Project and resource management – status of work across the firm and by responsible team member; availability and knowledge base to complete projects by staff members
    • “Delays in transmission to IRS because of high volume stacked on deadline day.
  •  Client Communication:
    • “Managing items requested with clients back and forth.”
    • “Managing expectations with clients.”
    • “Steps to complete the filing after return is completed – signatures; payments; accessing portals to find returns and instructions for completion.”
    • “Receiving e-file signatures on deadlines (instead of before).”
    • “Getting final documents to clients.”
  •    Secure Document Exchange:
    • “Receiving documents and info with enough time to schedule/complete necessary work.
    • “Exchanging documents with clients in a secure way. (Transitioning them from email, etc.)”

Extension season:

  • Project Management, Team Management, Scheduling, Client Communications, Dashboards, Automated & Interconnected Workflows:
    • “Checklist of items waiting for – audits, K-1s, etc.”
  • Client communication:
    • “Includes all issues of the regular tax season, but worse because of non-standard final deadlines to obtain and organize information.”
    • “Keeping clients updated with shifting deadlines.”


  • Project Management, Team Management, Scheduling, Client Communications, Dashboards, Automated & Interconnected Workflows:
    • “Tracking client work/interactions for new projects, opportunities, and situations to grow our business.”
    • “Staffing resources…too few then too many then too many leaving the firm.”
    • “Work allocations to keep people working during non-busy seasons.”
    • “Client Advisory Services has a constant workload throughout the year…but we struggle with the unpredictable influx of special projects from the other service lines during their deadline seasons.”

What’s Needed Now

In the need to make technology shifts and experience management for clients, practitioners, and managers perpetual, we believe the greatest approach calls for modular and consistent uplift of the highest priority solutions, at regular intervals throughout the year. As with every form of experience management, it is vital to listen intently and with intention to all audiences the firm serves, both internal and outside. Their responses will provide greater insight into what you must do to increase their effectiveness (and happiness) than the words from any technology vendor. Answering their concerns will go far toward ensuring their commitment and allegiance to your firm, as well, which is an inherent answer to evolving your culture from The Great Resignation to The Great Migration of heightened effectiveness and fulfillment as well.  

However, in Avii’s opinion, the Highest Needs Timeline can be met most effectively with the support of modular and deeply interconnected technology tools like the ones we develop and provide in the Avii platform. But regardless of the solution, we’ve developed an Accounting Experience Management™
 worksheet that makes it easier to mesh the needs of the audience to the varieties of technology product solutions to plan, prepare, and budget for ideal support.  

In all, close attention to the seasonal aspects of accounting’s highest pain points will make a significant difference in your ongoing success in 2022 and for many accounting seasons to come. 

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