While summer is the most popular time of the year for folks to move, mobility accountants know that it’s time to prepare and ramp up for the mountains of work that will come at the end of the year. Inevitably, I get questions from our clients, prospective clients, transferees, and staff regarding what we do to ensure all the moving parts that feed into finance are accurate and completed on time.
The answer I give is rather anti-climactic, but realistically none of these things are trade secrets, and none of them can be replaced by good old fashioned hard work. I always tell new hires that if they want to go home at 5 p.m. in December, this isn’t the career for you. If you get excited about building comradery with your peers through reconciling a complex account while eating stale, cold pizza and running a true-up at 10 p.m., welcome aboard! That aside, if you think about some or all of these tasks and incorporate them into your year-end process, you are sure to enjoy more meaningful success that will lead to happy stakeholders.
From a year-end perspective, thinking through every scenario and how you envision the months progressing from October through January gives you a template to ground yourself in when things get hairy or last-minute requests roll in. It also gives you time to think about strategic objectives that can be implemented to allow proactivity versus reactive, time-wasting activities. At Aires, we accomplish this through collaborative calls to our clients and their tax providers in September that walk through a time-tested 26-question guide. Any concern is addressed and discussed upfront to ensure it doesn’t cause surprises in December when everyone is under a time crunch.
I love hearing about those entering the mobility field for the first time; in my experience, almost no one knows what it is or that it even exists until they jump in head first. Because of this, it is crucial to set up multiple trainings provided by different people that have vast industry perspective and understand how mobility accounting fits in. We start year-end trainings in July, break them up over the coming weeks, and provide time to work in our development system, running through various scenarios to ensure our team is ready for the challenges that will be presented to them.
Throughout the year, our company constantly upgrades, enhances, and does generally amazing things with our technology in order to really “wow” our clients. We even have numerous awards sitting in our lobby to prove it! Through all these upgrades it is important to remember that the year-end process needs some “TLC” prior to running at full speed. It is critical to test all functions of your year-end process, to ensure all of these cool things created during the year didn’t inadvertently disrupt your year-end process flow.
We all have things we are passionate about – politics, golf, our kids, sports – the lists go on and on. One not-so-exciting thing we should all be passionate about is reconciling accounts (don’t laugh, it’s true). Ensuring systems are congruent can be a very satisfying task and help obtain desired results. When asked for a reconciliation file, jump at the opportunity for independent verification that your reportable relocation is correct. This will lead to accuracy in your W-2’s.
At this point in the year, you are no doubt working diligently to ensure everything goes according to plan. Creating and executing on a functional, successful process is not an overnight endeavor; it takes dedicated time, thought, collaboration, innovation, and hard work. I hope these tips can encourage you to have unprecedented success with your process.
We all know moving and taxes are some of the most stressful moments in a person’s life, so additional stress at tax time due to a poor year-end process can spell disaster. Instead, spend a little time out of your day creating a process focused on accuracy and success. I’m sure you will enjoy tremendous results from your post-relocation scores and – better yet – ensure that you have a happily relocated employee.