Unbelievable Realizations – Busy Season Tips

The value of busy season tips

What do you think you would like to see after you finish your next audit engagement? How about unbelievable realizations!  Notably, everyone strives for that. However, sometimes it’s hard to achieve, especially when juggling multiple engagements at the height of busy season.

So, here are 5 quick tips to help you bring the words “amazing” and unbelievable” back into your vocabulary at this time of year … and in a positive way of speaking!!

Tip #1: Enhance client collaboration & find efficiencies with the Engagement Organizer

First, did you know that Engagement Organizer, a cloud-based PBC list, is available to all CCH ProSystem fx Engagement customers? Indeed, this fully customizable request list is available directly from your binder. Moreover, as of the January 2020 release, workpapers can route directly into the binder after the client uploads them!  Check out these latest quick videos to learn more. (Oh, and this feature doesn’t cost you extra!).

Tip #2 Integration with tax

Second, are you using CCH ProSystem fx Engagement’s ‘Dynalink’ feature? If not you should be because, when data in the Trial Balance changes, the Dynalink flows the data directly to the tax return. To learn more about this feature, click here. Furthermore, if you are a CCH ProSystem fx Tax or CCH Axcess Tax customer, then why not maximize all of the solutions to their fullest value? Ultimately, you’ll move much closer to a no-touch tax return.

Tip #3 Use placeholders

Third, use ‘Placeholders’. They are a type of workpaper that simply adds a placeholder for things you know the client will send.  Moreover, when the client uploads that workpaper into Engagement Organizer, it replaces the placeholder.  Additionally, placeholders allow you to get ahead when rolling forward. Meaning, when you know you will need the same workpaper again from your client, just set the property to ‘change the workpaper to a placeholder upon roll forward’.

Tip #4 Tailor your engagements

Fourth, when completing your audits, make sure you start with a proper risk assessment. Really question why issues may be high-risk.  Then, tailor your response accordingly.

  • Don’t test items that aren’t significant. 
  • Make sure the level of work is appropriate to the related risk.
  • Be sure the review & sign-off of the planning is timely (at the partner level) before fieldwork starts, which will help avoid all re-work and frustration. 

Not only is this important from an efficiency standpoint, but it is also critical from a quality standpoint. Doing so will avoid a lot of heartache later during peer review. To learn why this is so critical, listen directly to what Carl Mayes at the AICPA has to say.

Tip #5 Focus on the three C’s

Fifth, focus on the ‘three C’s’ – culture, competency, and computers.  First, your “culture” needs to be one that constantly promotes things like staff development, challenging the status quo, proper leverage of work, etc.  Next, you need to build “competency” by training on accounting/audit topics and their software tools.  Finally, “computers” means you are evaluating the hardware and software and making sure it fits your needs, especially with the pace of technology change that we are seeing right now.  Wolters Kluwer can help you with two of the three C’s, i.e. competency and computers.  As long as you provide the culture, we can effectively help you increase profitability through the other two. Ultimately, having a positive attitude is an ongoing effort that is key – even during busy season!


To conclude, following these busy season tips will help your firm drive unbelievable realizations. Also, to help get you through busy season, more installments of busy season tips are forthcoming. For example, look for practical tips on using analytics, and also how to help your administrator using our enhanced “Admin Views”. Stay tuned!

P.S. Here’s another blog you’ll find valuable, Audit Strategy: Transformation vs Optimization


Cathy Rowe

All stories by: Cathy Rowe