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Tax Season: Our Time to Shine

Tax-seasonIt’s almost tax season once again. Can you think of a better way to kick off 2013 than adopting a fresh approach to this ever important time of year?

Here’s a thought: What if we all agree to tell a new story this tax season? Instead of framing it as a time to work your fingers to the bone, embrace the notion that tax season is your time to shine. Don’t you owe it to yourself, your colleagues and your clients to let the world know that you love tax time? After all, it’s what you have studied for and worked toward throughout your career. Even better, it’s the time when the world looks to the CPA profession for its tax smarts and number savvy, problem solving know-how.

When you get right down to it, the first quarter of each year is one that most practitioners truly enjoy, even look forward to. Truth be known, many would say “I know this sounds crazy, but this is my favorite work season of the year.”

Let’s face it. Tax time has had a bit of a bad rap for years. You know, talk of never ending piles of work and dreaded long hours. Bah-humbug! Blame it on Ebenezer Scrooge, if you will. But this year it’s time to start anew. Scrooge was simply a curmudgeonly character created by Charles Dickens to tell a story not cast a dark, lingering shadow over tax time. So let’s put these images to rest for once and for all.  

Be proud of your inner tax prowess. Know that you are needed. Delight in your super powers that enable you to help your clients. Take center stage. Relish in the spotlight. You deserve it.

To get things started, incorporate some new routines:

  1. Say goodbye to the past. It’s time for a new story filled with excitement, pride and delight. Eliminate negative talk and thoughts of long hours and never-ending piles of work.
  2. Adopt a tax season mantra. To kick things off, adopt a fun theme such as Tax Time: Our Season to Shine; We Live for Tax Season or We Love Tax Time. Display it throughout your office. Create and hang banners with this message in high traffic areas. Design snazzy, firm branded t-shirts that sport the new message. Add it to your blog and your website.
  3. Hold a tax season launch party for your team. Celebrate the arrival of your most anticipated time of year. Use this gathering to get your team pumped up about the upcoming season. Engage your colleagues with words of encouragement. Fill the room with positive energy. Give out t-shirts, hats and buttons to mark the occasion. Welcome tax time with open arms.  
  4. Relish in your team’s accomplishments. We all want to know what we contribute to the firm’s success. That’s why it’s important to find tangible ways to recognize these contributions, especially when people are working at full throttle. One fun way to do this is to introduce the “We Did It” bell. Encourage your colleagues to ring it whenever they complete a milestone or a difficult task such as a tax return, an inventory observation or an audit report. From the receptionist to the folks in the corner office, encourage everyone to ring it when they have achieved something positive. Get the team to clap, cheer and high five the ringer.
  5. Tell success stories. If you are going to adopt a positive new approach this season, you must bring real examples of hard work, dedication and success to life. Instead of just reviewing numbers and productivity stats at your team meetings, tell anecdotes that your team can understand and relate to. Help them learn from their colleagues’ actions. Use recent tales to inspire and engage team members. Rather than worrying about leaving people out, help others to want to be the ones being highlighted in the next meeting.  

This is your time to shine. Tell a fresh story. Let the world know that you welcome tax season with open arms. Be proud of the work you do. Know you are needed.

Look for more tips and tools in upcoming posts to help you make this the best tax season ever. 

Tracy Crevar Warren, President and CEO, The Crevar Group LLC. Tracy is an expert and pioneer in the field of accounting marketing, business development and practice growth. Along with the AICPA’s Private Companies Practice Section, she recently published The Best of the 60 Second Advisor e-book, which is included free with the e-MAP: Management of an Accounting Practice Handbook.

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