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How Many Non-Auditors are Getting Pulled Off the Bench to Do Inventory Counts This Year?

Hello and Happy post-Christmas Monday, everyone.

Quick show of hands (let’s just pretend I can see them through the screen OK?), how many of you NOT in audit have been pulled off the bench to do inventory counts this week? We’re hearing some grumblings of tax people being thrown into the gauntlet and thought it might be good to throw the question out there to find out if this is just the usual “hey you’re not doing anything anyway and Kevin has the flu so he can’t go to St. Louis to count widgets” year-end situation or something a bit more acute.

As we all know, there is a critical labor shortage not just in accounting but everywhere, but since we don’t care about “everywhere” it’s solely the pressure accounting firms are under to recruit and — more importantly — retain talent that we’re interested in at the moment. Can’t imagine firm-sponsored Applebee’s dinners are going to go over well with tax people who thought they’d get some much-needed rest and actual food this holiday season, and we already know that entire teams are jumping ship one after another, leaving fewer victims associates to do the counting this year. Add to that, you have the Rona wildcard still in play; the CDC recommends isolation if you have symptoms, even if you’re fully vaccinated. That last one has the potential to be disastrous for already short-staffed teams.

Last year some firms deployed remote inventory counts using real-time video — think someone from the audited entity roaming the warehouse with a GoPro strapped to their head — but that was before vaccines were widely available to anyone who wants one. We’re curious if remote inventory counts are here to stay, especially after KPMG recognized they are faster and cheaper (we all know how much firms love to save a buck).

Anyway. We’d love to hear how things are going this year, so go ahead and let ‘er rip in the comments, shoot us an email at [email protected], or text us at 202-505-8885. As usual, you are also welcome to use the tipline to vent (therapists are expensive, we get it) if, say, you’re counting vats of bull semen, stacks of dildos, or otherwise engaged in any kind of terrible inventory count.

Stay safe out there all of you, no matter where there is.

Photo by Samson Katt from Pexels

One thought on “How Many Non-Auditors are Getting Pulled Off the Bench to Do Inventory Counts This Year?

  1. I am a tax partner in charge of one of the industry group in Los Angeles and I gave our audit team a flat no on using my people for inventory counts. My people already have enough work and stress during our two busy seasons and I am not going to subject them to more work for the audit practice. Public accounting is not the same it was when I started. After busy season there used to be a break when people would work less than 40 hours a week and could breathe a little bit. Now the work doesn’t stop all year long. We finish buys season and go to 40 hours chargeable right after April 15th. That may seem reasonable to outsiders, but when you just got done working 60-80 hours a week people need some time to recover and not work 40 hours chargeable right after busy season. At some point I have to give my people a break. 2020 and 2021 where exhausting for our practice, and our tax practice has actually surpassed the size of the audit practice and we are also short on people. This may seem petty, but I also feel like if we asked the audit team to help us out that they would not offer any support.

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