IRS Issues Among Top Challenges for CPAs

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Difficulties in working with a resource-challenged Internal Revenue Service have become a more pressing concern for CPA firms over the past year, even as they grapple with lingering impacts from the pandemic, a new survey shows.

Frustrating dealings with the IRS – whether because of slow responsiveness, backlogs or other performance issues – were cited as the top challenge of firms with 10 professionals or fewer, according to the survey sponsored by the American Institute of CPAs.

While IRS issues were cited as a top-five challenge last year by all firm segments except the largest (those with 21 professionals or more), they have become a more prominent concern across the board.

Historically, “finding qualified staff” has been a leading concern of all firms other than sole proprietors and that held true to a large degree this year, as well. But the fallout from the pandemic also continues to occupy firms. For example, “Keeping up with COVID relief programs,” such as the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the like, remains a major concern for firms with 10 or fewer professionals. For the largest firms, keeping connection and morale up with employees that are largely working remotely is a newer concern.

As in past years, survey respondents were asked to rank issues expected to have the greatest impact on firm practice operations over the next five years. Recruitment/retention and changes in the regulatory environment were two leading concerns.

The survey was conducted online from April 19 to May 23. The 752 respondents represent a mix of practice types and firm sizes.