Are you already feeling the heat of the busy months ahead?
Tax season stress is no joke. Unsurmountable piles of returns, tight deadlines, and demanding clients can make even the most seasoned and organised accountant cringe under pressure. The result? A burnout.
You’ve probably tried all the traditional tips and tricks to stay sane during this not-so-sane time of year. So, we are not going to suggest caffeine overdose or slamming energy drinks to stay focused and calm.
Here are some tried and tested tips to alleviate stress and have a more productive tax season:
1. Take inspiration from your seniors
As bad as tax season stress is now, don’t forget that it used to be worse 10 or even 5 years ago. We tend to take technological comforts for granted, but it wasn’t long ago that physical records, pens, and calculators were the only tools for accountants.
If there are older accountants at your firm, take some time out to ask them about the busy seasons of the yesteryear. You might realize that things are not as bad as they seem. If nothing else, the more experienced and older associates may open avenues to more stress relievers you may not find online.
2. Prioritise your tasks
Start each day by deciding what all tasks you need to get done that day. Accordingly, create a to-do list. It is essential to make this list every morning so that you get in the habit of prioritizing your tasks.
Also, as much as possible, try to establish and stick to a routine during the tax season. If you have a demanding client with tax issues that require a lot of time and concentration, set aside a chunk of time when you will not be interrupted. This may require coming into the office at 7 am, staying late, and even working at home.
3. Make an action plan
Sometimes stress comes with having too many tasks on your plate. For instance, you have been told to expect 1,000 tax returns in this season. Obviously you’d feel stressed. Now, take a step back and try to plan your workload. Try to divide 1,000 tax returns such that each team does a part of it every week. This will not only make a humongous task look achievable, but will also give each team a short-term goal.
Preparing an action plan will help you shift focus from the hundreds of miscellaneous tasks down to one important one. After you can get that one thing done, start on the next.
4. Consider tax outsourcing
Though many strategies could help you reduce stress during the busy season, there’s only one strategy that will also allow you to continue taking on new clients without hiring additional staff: tax preparation outsourcing.
What makes tax outsourcing beneficial and reliable is the flexibility it offers. Depending on your needs, utilise your outsourcing partner to handle different tasks, such as assisting in self-assessment, documentation, calculating returns, and ensuring compliance. Your outsourcing provider will be able to adjust their offerings to suit your specific needs. The goal is to allow outsourcing team to handle the excessive workload so that your in-house team members can focus on ensuring quality.
5. Take care of yourself
No doubt, the busy tax season is strenuous for accountants. But it does not mean that you will burn your candle at both ends. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and do not lose your health over deadlines and long work hours. Eating nutritious meals will help keep your energy levels up. Working 24/7 and ignoring your sleep patterns will eventually hamper your productivity and make you prone to errors. Try to take regular breaks throughout the day and meditate if possible. If your schedule allows, go for a short walk, or consider desk exercises to maintain your physical and mental stamina.
Tax season isn’t meant to be something to get through. It is in fact a great time to leverage for growing your business, inviting new clients, instilling trust in your existing clients and preventing your staff from a burnout. However, all of this will only be possible when you are able to stay healthy, prepared, driven – and not bogged down by stress.
Remember – Tax season will always be stressful. What makes an accountant and their firm more profitable during the tax season is their stress management – for your staff members and yourself.
Start today by getting your free tax season consultation here to bust the stress of tax season for yourself, your firm and your clients.