6 Ways to Beat Tax Season
You may have heard said that the same sun that’ll harden clay will melt wax.
How we are affected, survive, or thrive in tax season is largely dependant on the strategies used to deal with these 2 “unique” months.
Everyone’s got different strategies for living a better tax season as it relates to stress. Having
endured lived (endured is the wrong word as I’ve always quite enjoyed and even thrived mentally during tax season) over 30 tax seasons, I would like to share the 6 points I believe you should keep a close eye on.
Be very conscious of your energy level.
Keep asking yourself:
- How you feel
- What’s your outlook on life
- Are you pumped most times or feeling overwhelmed and discouraged
DO NOT discount the important of how energetic you feel. Yes, you may feel tired. We all feel tired working long days, possibly 7 days a week.
Do not confuse being tired with being without energy.
Looking back at most tax seasons, almost without exception I would feel very tired during much of tax season, especially towards the end, but I still always felt excited. If your mental energy is not good, address it immediately. Your excitement, or lack thereof, will manifest itself more than you know to your team and your clients. As a leader, you can ill afford to let that go too long unchecked.
Throughout tax season, take lots of notes (yes in writing).
Take notes of the good:
- Things that fill your tank
- Things that clients seem impressed with that you should continue doing year after year
- Processes that really work
- Software discoveries you didn’t know existed that are really good
- Team spirit
- Team members going over and above the call of duty
Take notes of the bad:
- Things that really drain your energy
- Common mistakes made
- Things that upset clients
- Things that upset the team
- Client’s reaction to fees and why
- Software bugs
- Failures in processes that led to inefficiencies, frustrations, or poor service
Have your team take notes
Just as you should be taking notes of the good, the bad, and the ugly, ask every one of your team members to do the same. They are all living different experiences and come at every tax season with a very different perspective.
It is critical that you do a (what we call a ‘Beef and Bouquet’) session whereby everyone shares their list and you then discuss possible solutions for all the beefs. When everything is fresh is the best time to discuss possible solutions.
It goes without saying that the minutes of this Beef and Bouquet session should be brought up in the Spring, just before tax season, for proper implementation of all proposed solutions discussed in the post season evaluation.
With all the work that’s coming in during tax season, now’s the time to prioritize. There are likely not enough hours in the day to do all of what needs to get done today. Prioritize between what really needs to get done before April 30th and procrastinate on all you can. Leave everything that you know will not negatively impact your business much until after tax season.
Rely on your team to do more. And delegate all you can. Concern yourself less as to whether or not they will do the task as well as you can, but rather whether they’re capable of doing it “good enough”. Notice that odds are excellent that such tasks that may not be done to your level will not likely even get noticed by clients. And remember, if they’re not “ready” to undertake whatever you’ll be delegating, ask yourself when will they ever be ready if you never let them try? Speaking from experience, it’s amazing what my team can accomplish without being qualified when they’re trusted and with a bit of supervision and help.
Bill like you’ve never billed before
Charge what you’re worth. Need I say more? This is no time to relax your fees. You and your team are working far too hard to be squeamish about fees.
I hope this helped. I look forward to you all sharing how your tax season went once you get to the other side (of tax season – not the other life).
Did you find this article helpful? There’s a lot more to this topic, including multiple videos I’ve made that you can find here:
If you have a question or something to add about this month’s article or want to share how you made your tax season happier, you can reach out anytime.