[IMGCAP(1)]For the tax preparation office that relies on seasonal hires, this is the make or break time of year.

The higher the quality of preparer, the greater the customer satisfaction, and the greater likelihood of repeat customers from one tax preparation season to the next.

But despite the overall state of the job market, it’s not always easy to find seasonal preparers, according to Chuck McCabe, president of Peoples Income Tax and The Income Tax School.

“Tax offices have a high turnover rate, because tax preparation is a seasonal career for many people,” he noted. “For many, it is sometimes a stopgap between jobs or careers because it doesn’t take that long to learn the basics.”

“To avoid turnover, we recommend hiring people that will be satisfied with a seasonal career,” said McCabe. “These types of people are great because they are satisfied with the seasonality and will return to work for you year after year.”

So who are these people?

“Early retirees who want to travel other times of the year, spend time with family, or are on a fixed income fit the seasonal profile well,” said McCabe. “Parents with small children that need or want their holidays and summers free are another good source. Professionals with complimentary careers such as financial services, insurance sales, or accounting professionals may also be a good source, providing they’re not competitors.”

People with complementary seasonal careers such as lawn care and retail also work well, according to McCabe. “These people may not have much work in the first quarter of the year, making tax preparation ideal for them,” he said.

“Finding these types will definitely reduce turnover, which will earn more loyal customers in the long run,” said McCabe. “People like coming back to the same preparer year after year. The more of a relationship your preparers develop with a client, the less likely they will leave you for another firm.”

But since nothing lasts forever, McCabe recommends that each employee sign an employment agreement, which includes non-compete, non-solicitation and confidentiality provisions.

“A non-compete agreement has to be reasonable to be enforceable,” he said. “They are enforceable during the term of employment, and in most states after employment except for California. In order to ensure that it is not overly restrictive, we only make it apply to clients whom the employee serves while working for us. We make ours for two years, which is a reasonable time.”

“The non-solicitation agreement would prohibit employees from soliciting other employees or clients of the company,” he said. “It applies not just to the ones they served but to any clients. The confidentiality agreement restricts employees from divulging any confidential information, including trade secrets and customer lists. In addition, Code section 7216 would also restrict employees from taking any client information.”

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