top of page

How I Stay Sane During and Beyond Tax Season





As we prepare to dive headfirst into the tumultuous waters of another tax season, I’m reflecting on the strategies that have kept me sane. Amidst the chaos of numbers, deadlines, and client expectations throughout the year, I want to make sure that I’m maintaining my peace to prepare me for when things pick up. Here are a few ways that I’ve found to support that.

 

1. Prioritize Self-Care: In the relentless world of accounting, it's easy to neglect self-care. We get so caught up in taking care of our clients and our teams that it can seem unimportant to put ourselves on the priority list. But over time I've learned that taking care of myself is not a luxury but a necessity, especially during the tax season frenzy. Leaning into habits like taking regular breaks, proper nutrition, and a good night's sleep make a world of difference. I’m also firm in maintaining boundaries between work and personal, making sure to prioritize fitness, hobbies and spending time with loved ones beyond just working. When I’m on, I am all in but when I’m off, I am OFF.


2. Time Blocking and Prioritization: At any given time there are several balls in the air as I try to manage getting financial reports out, staying on track with bookkeeping, fielding tax deadlines, and maintaining client communications. Something that’s worked to keep my schedule in order is time blocking. Unfortunately, typical working hours aren’t when my brain is the strongest for focus; I tend to be more productive in the evenings. So I prioritize deep focus work during that time and reserve my daytime working hours for calls and administrative tasks.  This ensures focused attention without feeling overwhelmed, and allows me to schedule communications to go out when clients and external parties are more likely to be working.


3. Embrace Technology: I’ve found success in adopting technology that enhances efficiency without sacrificing the personal touch that clients appreciate. So we rely on several tools that allow us to operate seamlessly.


  • Hubspot is so helpful for leads and onboarding to make sure we’re gathering all of the information that we need to get started. Since the beginning makes a huge difference in how well the service goes, having all of the details about a client before they even begin with us is a good way to make sure we’re all on the same page.

  • Canopy is the firm management software that we use, and one of our favorite components is a client portal that is always up to date with open requests. This helps not to have to continuously rack my brain (or my inbox) to remember where things stand or what we might be waiting on to proceed.

  • Quickbooks is at the forefront of everything we do (it’s the only system we use for monthly clients) so I’ve implemented several integrations and setup automations to make my life easier. We’ve set up rules for regular recurring transactions that leave only the ad hoc differences to need additional review. This allows us to spend our time on the analysis and interpretation over just data entry.


The best part is that our systems talk to each other! This way we can spend less time manually updating different places with the same information and use that time to innovate new ways to serve instead.


4. Delegate Effectively: For many firm owners, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “I can do it better myself”. But the thing is we can’t do it all, and we have to remember that delegating tasks is not a sign of weakness but a strategic move. Trusting capable team members with responsibilities not only lightens my workload but it also provides them with opportunities to grow. In addition, it gives us all space to step back and determine the best way forward for everything internally and client facing. When we delegate, we’re giving time back to each team member to focus on ways to do all of our jobs better. And when one person doesn’t carry them all, it’s easier to take breaks when you need them.


Looking Ahead to 2024

2023 was a big year for my firm - we hired two new employees, completely overhauled the back end of our operations and partnered with several key vendors. Needless to say, we plan to make much smaller changes this year.


My main focus is continuing my pursuit of building to enough. I am a huge proponent of strategic, sustainable growth to your own version of “enough” and for me that means doing less - spending less time working, taking on fewer clients and reducing the number of services we offer. I want to strive for better and not bigger so my focus areas will be as follows:

Cultivating Professional Development: Continuous learning is the heartbeat of our profession so in 2024 I aim to invest more time on staying abreast of the latest tax regulations and acquiring new skills. I believe that a commitment to lifelong learning will not only enhance my expertise but also contribute to the success of our firm. Not to mention, doing it throughout the year helps prevent that CPE rush at the end ;)

 

  • Strengthen Client Relationships: Beyond the numbers, our profession is built on relationships. So for next year, my goal is to deepen our connections with clients, incorporating new communications and check points to understand their evolving needs and provide proactive solutions. Building trust and rapport is an investment that pays dividends, and I don’t want the fact that we’re virtual to feel like we’re far away.

  • Foster Team Collaboration: A thriving firm is a collaborative one. In 2024, I aspire to further enhance an environment where every team member feels valued and empowered. Encouraging open communication, recognizing individual strengths, and providing opportunities for growth are key components of this collaborative vision. Plus I want to make sure there are more voices in the decision making process, beyond just mine.

  • Achieve Work-Life Integration:  I want to create an environment where professional success complements personal well-being for my employees. Work should be a part of our lives - not all of it. My ultimate goal has been that we can work part-time hours for full-time pay, so this year I will be focusing on how we can structure our work in a way that facilitates making that shift without compromising quality.

In anticipation of the upcoming tax season, let’s be proactive in establishing the practices and boundaries necessary to operate at optimal levels. Remember, our profession isn’t just about numbers; it's about the relationships we build, the growth we facilitate, and the well-being we sustain—both for ourselves and our clients.


May the strategies discussed serve as beacons of guidance in navigating the intricate landscape of tax seasons and the year beyond. Here's to a prosperous and fulfilling 2024, where our aspirations blend seamlessly with our daily endeavors.


Wishing each of you a prosperous and harmonious year ahead!


This blog post is part of a paid partnership with Intuit The content has been created collaboratively, and Intuit has compensated Keila for her time and effort in producing this content.

Comments


bottom of page