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The worst busy season advice tax CPAs ever received

Shutterstock_562475698We can all use a little good advice from time to time. Whether it’s from a manager, a parent or a friend, the right guidance at the right time goes a long way.

Unfortunately, we also end up receiving unsolicited bad advice. During busy season, it’s the last thing tax practitioners need to hear, especially when it references how they should be handling their work and long hours.

You’ve probably received some second-rate advice yourself. As you think back on that, here are a few real-life pieces of bad busy season advice anonymous CPAs reported to us.

Fuel like a champ.

“Some tax pros would say ‘Just drink more coffee.’ I think many of us got addicted to the rush/crash of coffee, but that’s so unhealthy. People need to take care of themselves even when working a lot.”

You are what you eat.

“This isn’t advice, per se. Good advice would be to watch what you eat. Many of my co-workers would talk about the ‘tax season 15’ like it was the freshman 15. If you didn’t watch out, it happened.”

Pre-busy season encouragement?

“During our pre-season meeting, our senior manager started the conversation about hours by saying we’d be pulling 80 to 90-hour weeks every week. She then suggested we accept it and do what it takes to get the job done. So much for a pep talk!”

Vacation time?

“After April 15 passed, higher-ups would advise we enjoy ‘a few weeks’ of regular hours before extension season ramped up. This wasn’t exactly motivating.”

In-office hours can keep you in the dark.

“During busy season, you often go to work before dawn then go home when it’s dark. Good advice would be to get outside during the day. If you wanted some bad advice, it would be never to leave your office.”

Dress to impress.

“One of my partners had a couch in his office that he regularly used for sleeping when he was pulling all-nighters during busy season. He kept fresh shirts and ties on the back of his door. That way, he could be ‘fresh’ and ‘ready’ every morning. He said it worked for him.”

Hopefully, these real-life experiences gave you a laugh. But, putting jokes aside, here’s some good advice on how to keep yourself moving in the right direction over the next two weeks:

  1. Get plenty of rest. When you’re arriving at the office early, leaving late and feeling stressed the whole time, getting a good night’s sleep can be tough. Here are five tips for the best sleep of your life.
  2. Eat well. The only thing as essential as sleep is food, but just grabbing any available junk food can cause nutritional deficits (and that “tax season 15” mentioned earlier). Learn how to satisfy your junk food cravings without sacrificing your waistline.
  3. Take regular breaks. Even if you’re pressed for time, taking a break can be helpful to your overall Here are nine timeout dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
  4. We all know that regular exercise benefits our bodies and our minds and reduces the risk of some diseases. During busy season, finding the time to hit the gym is a struggle at best. To make it easier, read these tips on exercises you can do at your desk.
  5. Do something fun. It can be easy to put laughter on the back burner while you focus on your job. Lighten things up with thisbusy season fun calendar that schedules out activities for the whole firm. (By the way, Pizza Friday is coming up soon!)
  6. Keep up. Tax is always changing. Staying on top of all the moving pieces is tricky during a complex busy season like this one. Use these tax season resourcesto stay on track during these last few weeks. Get helpful reminders on what’s due next with the AICPA tax return due dates page, and for those clients who need a little more time, hand over a bundle of extension FAQs.

Good or bad, you’re sure to get a lot of advice this busy season. At the end of the day — or the end of the season, rather — it’s up to you what to follow. However, maybe you can take just one last piece before you go?

Keep being amazing!

Allison Carter Fanney, Communications Manager — Tax, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

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