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Tax Season Wrap Up: How to Recharge, Regroup and Move Forward

BeachYesterday we asked CPA Letter Daily readers: “How do you celebrate the end of tax season?” More than a majority of the respondents stated that they would celebrate by either taking time off or planning a staff dinner, happy hour or party. Another 32 percent plan to continue working by moving on to the next task on their list. Here we share tips for how to rejuvenate, plan and prioritize the next steps for your practice.

Recharge

Figuring out how to rest can be stressful in itself, especially if you have a larger than expected backlog of work either from returns that still need to be prepared or non-tax work postponed until “after April 15.” Consider the following ideas to get your groove back:

  • Hold a prize drawing. Create a drawing of rest-and-relaxation prizes to encourage your team to take time for themselves in the coming weeks. Prize ideas include coupons to come in late or leave early, spa gift certificates, restaurant gift certificates, a round of golf, a guided fishing trip, music or athletic event tickets and so on. Including prizes from your clients in the R&R industry will boost their business as well!
  • Plan a party. Plan a staff lunch party during regular business hours and have everyone go home early afterward. Hold the party off site to discourage team members from working during it.
  • Schedule retreat, vacations and CPE. Even if some of your staff can’t take a week off now, planning time away from the office later in the year will boost morale. Often CPE opportunities, like the June Practitioner’s Symposium and Tech+ Conference in Orlando, can be combined with family vacations to make the most of time away from the office.

Regroup

When there’s so much to do, it’s easy to jump straight into what appears to be the most pressing task. Consider these tips to plan your strategy for the months ahead:

  • Clean-up and organize. Designating time for cleaning up will help you get organized again. To make it fun, solicit nominations for “messiest desk” and provide rewards for “cleanest” and “most improved” work areas.
  • Hold a process improvement and reprioritization meeting. Discuss what worked well and what didn’t. Evaluate and prioritize remaining returns and other work to be completed by extension deadlines or year-end.
  • Organize leads. Tax prep discussions often generate referrals and leads for expanded services to existing clients. Assemble these leads into a spreadsheet or database, then prioritize and assign for follow up.

Move Forward

It’s easy to lose focus after April 15 and end up scrambling again when extensions come due in September and October. Consider the following strategies to maintain productivity during the spring and summer:

  • Update goals and metrics. Before April 15, most firms circulate and display metrics and frequently discuss the number of returns filed and the status of those remaining to be filed. Allow a few weeks to let everyone catch their breath and then introduce updated goals and metrics for work going forward.
  • Minimize losses. During the summer vacation season, often the greatest loss in productivity stems not from absent staff but from the failure to provide assignments and delegate tasks to those still in the office. To minimize this loss, spend less time trying to complete work before vacation and more time delegating and assigning work.

Are you looking for tools and resources to help you address human resource concerns, practice management and succession planning? The Private Companies Practice Section offers member firms exclusive tools, valuable information, publications and more. Additionally, you may be interested in checking out the AICPA’s Tax Practitioner’s Toolkit, containing valuable resources for use year-round.

Lindsey Ferguson, CPA, CGMA, Technical Manager, PCPS/Firm Services, American Institute of CPAs. 

Beach image via Shutterstock

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