AccountantsWorld CEO Dr. Chandra Bhansali is warning about the tax season crunch that many accountants will be facing in a few months when their clients come in to not only do their taxes, but also close the books on their small businesses, while getting help complying with the Affordable Care Act.

“The biggest challenge for accountants is going to be the Affordable Care Act,” said Bhansali. “The problem is it affects both employers and employees. There are new forms that have been created to address it, such as the 1094-B and C, and 1095-B and C. I believe the most important thing for accountants at this time is to educate their tax clients and their business clients about the Affordable Care Act.”

Bhansali thinks it’s important to be proactive. “We have observed that most people don’t start things proactively,” he said. “At the peak of the tax season, they get bombarded by their clients about all these questions. So it is extremely important, we believe, that they should start sending emails and newsletters to their clients about this.”

He noted that AccountantsWorld provides newsletters to clients who use its Website Relief system. “As part of the website, we provide them electronic newsletters that go on their website so clients can get educated,” he said. “I believe that is going to be one very important thing.”

Another important matter relates to business tax returns.

“I talked to about seven or eight accountants in the last two to three weeks about how much time they spend,” said Bhansali. “Before they can do their business tax returns, they have to close the books. About 25 to 30 percent of small businesses don’t use any accounting system. They write manual checks and then they dump everything on their accountant’s desk—all their canceled checks and bank statements—sometimes in January and sometimes as late as February. And accountants struggle to close the books at that time when they’re busy with other tax returns.”

He estimates that many accountants need to spend 20 to 30 percent of their time closing the books for their small business clients.

“That creates a total catastrophe during tax season, as you can understand,” said Bhansali. “That’s part of the reason accountants are so busy.”

He noted that his company’s client write-up system, part of the cloud-based Accounting Power, enables accountants to spread that work throughout the year so it doesn’t interfere with tax season.

“Rather than waiting for clients to bring in their canceled checks and credit card statements and bank statements, accountants can download the data from banks and credit card institutions right into the write-up system on a regular basis,” said Bhansali.