10 tips for a stress-free tax season

By Practice Growth Experts Emma Slack and Alan Woods

Act now to make tax season a breeze

There’s nothing inevitable about a hellish tax season. There’s plenty you can do now to reduce workloads and relieve stress so January isn’t a nightmare.

These are our top 10 tips to stay sane:

1 Remember, you run your business, not your clients. Remind them that you need to plan your work in order to ensure they get a great service from you. And in order to do that, you need them to play their part. They need to bring in their records on time and pay their bill when you ask.

2 Look at your systems for getting information from your clients and find a way to get the complete information inearly. Use carrot and stick – reward them for bringing everything in by/on a set date or add a penalty for bringing in information after that date. Perhaps offer an evening appointment when they can bring their records in (since daytime appointments may be difficult if they work all day).

3 Make sure your internal systems for completing tax returns are as efficient as possible and your team understand why they should be doing the work that way. Look at how you’re using technology – can you make any tweaks to simplify/automate the process? And ensure your team have all the training they need to get the most from it.

4 Be firm! Chase clients once for missing information and make it clear that if you don’t receive it by return you won’t guarantee that their tax return will be submitted on time.

5 Look at outsourcing. It’s one of the easiest ways to slim down workloads and free up your time. If you haven’t done it before, tax returns are a good first step to outsourcing compliance work.

6 Be firm about payment – don’t submit the return until the client pays.

7 Tax season is an opportunity to speak to every client – this is a good thing! Think about what you could speak to them about when you do make contact, maybe a new service that they could benefit from or share some tax saving ideas.

8 Use that conversation as a way to grade your clients. Perhaps those ones you can’t get hold of or that weren’t interested in these services are not the right clients for you.

9 Break down the number of tax returns that you need to do into a weekly or daily target. This helps make what could be a really big number much less daunting and it also helps you to measure and monitor progress.

10 Create a game for your team to play. It could be a balloon for each tax return and you pop one whenever a return is completed. Or how about your own version of Countdown? At the end of each day the number of tax returns completed is the number of letters you can use. Get the whole team involved and remember to reward progress too when you meet your targets – pizza or cake always helps!

And no matter what, make sure that you and your team all have a proper break – no working on Christmas day!  You’ll come back refreshed if you’ve had at least a couple of days to relax.

How to make every tax season a breeze

Make lasting changes to your practice so you never have a tough January again. Download your copy of Putting Excellence Into Practice by Shane Lukas now! See how to build an accountancy practice that works for you and not the other round – even in January. Download here.



Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash