I was a little slow I guess, but I was generally pretty accurate I thought.
But here are my statistics (again I guess). Basically, tell me how slow you think this is. Is this level of speed ever acceptable at any firm for a first year preparer?
Here are the stats:
I did about 100 returns working about 545 hours during tax season (about 57 days). About an hour or two each day can be lost in the busy season just due to talking on the phone, talking with staff about certain issues, or just zoning out for five to ten minutes every hour due to mental fatigue. So, time I spent actually concentrating on the return per return would come out to something like (57 times 2 hours 114 hours) ... 545-114 = 431, so about 4.5 hours / return.
So, I'm averaging somewhere between 4.5 hours to 5.5 hours per return. Keep in mind with the returns I did I had to put all the information into an organizer, check off in that organizer correctly, then enter it into the software system correctly, then print the return and check off to the organizer.
I would say at least 80% of the returns had either Schedules D, C, E, or K-1s (there were a good many multi-state returns as well, and really most returns had more than one of the aforementioned schedules), and virtually all of them had Schedule A. I had to call clients often about Schedule A information.
A lot of time was spent trying to figure out the right questions to ask or simply figuring out what the data the clients gave me was actually telling me.
I also got faster at first, having an average return time of around 2-3 hours after the first couple of weeks, but I did slow down as the season went on, probably due to mental fatigue. Basically, the partner had been telling me I had speed issues from my very first return.
Anyway, I guess the whole point is is this ever acceptable for a first year preparer? Or, do you try to get the averages more close to 2 hours? Is 2 hours sort of the golden standard? I'm thinking about applying to some other CPA firms, and I'm thinking of giving them my time breakdown. But, if it's not even close to being acceptable, then I'm not going to mess with it really. By the way, I was only getting paid $30,000 /year, but they did pay for medical insurance. Average return price was around $200 or so, but I could be off by as much as $50 (upwards not downwards) on that average perhaps.
Anyway, thanks for any advice any of you can give me.