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What’s Haunting Accountants: A Collection of Ultimate Tax Season Horror Stories

31 Oct 2019  |  
Tags: accounting Tax return Tax preparation
Tax Season Horror Stories

The Winter chills are bearable but what’s not is the hair-raising number of tax-returns. There’s a certain sense of brutality that emerges from having to work harder and under more pressure when the rest of the world is revelling in the warmth of Christmas, while the tax returns still linger, ghost-like, at the top of your desk.

With missing colleagues and last-minute clients popping out of the shadows – accounting is rich with dark tales of ominous occurrences during the Tax Season. This Halloween, we’ve picked the ones that have earned a cult status over years.

The Late Nights at Office

There’s something eerie about being left alone at the office all by yourself. The slow rustling of paper, the screeching of the wheeled chairs and the occasional flickering of the lights – everything just adds up to stress of the piling stack of tax returns at the corner of your desk.

You’re not alone. The towering paperwork with the looming in of deadlines is spooking accountants all over – leaving you no choice but to take care of work outside of your office-hours. This can result in not only stress but also isolation, anxiety, high-blood pressure and an array of silent killers coming your way.

How to ward off the late-nighters:

  • Automate What You Can: Start small by clearing off the mundane, repetitive tasks off your plate by using point automation solutions that can range from a close checklist solution to replacing Excel to a highly automated matching engine for large volumes of data.
  • Get Some Extra Pairs of Hands: Outsourcing a share of the workload – especially the non-core functions like bookkeeping and filing returns is also a more cost-effective yet profitable option for firms to get some extra pair of hands on their workload without burning a hole their pockets.

The Disappearance of Colleagues

If the sound of carols and jingles sends shivers down your spine – you know your team has a staffing shortage problem. As Christmas quickly approaches, your colleagues slowly start taking off for Christmas vacation, leaving you alone on a scanty office floor to deal with the last-minute tax-season workload. But there may be a way to battle the Christmas blues.

How to Expel the Christmas blues:

  • Find Help Across the Globe: Cultural differences could be a boon for your firm’s staffing shortage issues. While your team is out on a Christmas break, you could look for staff on the other side of the globe, where people aren’t culturally inclined to celebrate Christmas to that extent. It would the right time to seek help from an outsourced team for a minimal cost and get a big return out of it in terms of productivity during the holiday season.
  • Move to the Cloud: With a cloud-based software,all your workflow data is in one place. The cloud could still be hovering over your teammates while they are away on their holidays.

“Where Did You Come From?”

You may have outdone yourself by tackling all the workload in time for a stress-free Christmas break but right before you shut your computer down, that one horrid email pops up – “Is there room for one more?” Last-minute clients have been ruining Christmas breaks for ages. That’s because people tend to be creatures of habit and previously tardy clients are likely to remain that way without a little intervention.

Here's the intervention plan for tardy clients:

  • Send Plenty of Reminders: Those little nudges in emails and communications through a firms’ accounting software can pay off noticeably in the long run. Firms can follow a checklist to self-assess their requirements from the clients.
  • Consider Penalties: Saying ‘no’ is terrifying but having a policy for penalties can effectively communicate how costs can escalate due to those extra hours that an accountant has to put in even during the peak of their Christmas breaks. It may even help in turning a firm’s perpetually late clients into early fliers, leaving time and capacity to handle procrastinators.

The Vengeful Wipe-Out

The fourth quarter of the year is an ominous time. Even with proper planning and team members to back you up during the tax season, things could go awry when you take certain matters into consideration:

  • It’s the beginning of the cold and flu season
  • Staying in touch with clients on holiday
  • The end of tax season means there’s always an impending threat of a mass burnout in your team.

    There may be tax season spirits can latch on to you in ways you may have never thought of.

    Some last-minute resorts to unavoidable tax season horrors:

  • Keep data on-the-go: Moving to a cloud-based software can ensure real-time live data and constant accessibility for clients.
  • Adopting an MIS Dashboard: Which is also a really powerful way of keeping clients updated on KPIs and their business performance.
  • Turn to People: To avoid a mass burnout while battling increased workload, subcontracting or outsourcing compliance jobs on an Ad-hoc basis could help in managing urgent projects.

Find out more about how QXAS can make your tax season scare-free. Get in touch with us at or call us on 0845 838 2452

About Rishmita Aich

My name is Rishmita and I’m an aspiring journalist and blogger. I love telling stories – of people and brands. When I’m not too busy typing out incessantly on the computer, you’ll find me reading some old American classics or petting some furry stray cats.