3 Tactics to Reduce Tax Season Stress


Tired of 80-hour work weeks? Frustrated that your staff doesn’t want to be held accountable? Stressed about stressing next tax season? As part 1 of a series on “Building your Tax Season,” I wanted to share with you a couple of steps you can take today (AKA before January 2016) to ensure manageable stress levels during tax season.

  1. Identify the Issue that stressed you out the most last year – Take 20 minutes by yourself. Close the door to your office, go for a walk, or sit outside with a pen in hand. Think back to 6-8 months ago, and ask yourself a few questions: “What stressed me out? What projects, tasks, staff, technology, or process made me want to rip my hair out? What issue or project made me miss my kids’ or grandkids’ events?” Make a list of the top 3 issues. Now ask yourself why it stressed you out? What is the root cause? Was it something you could have taken care of earlier? Or was it something that surprised you during tax season? Lastly, write down what will make this issue go away, and include a due date to make yourself accountable to reach a resolution before January 2016.
  2. Schedule meetings with your difficult clients – Most firm owners have at least one difficult client (if not a few). Someone drops off source docs late, their information is a mess, or the client is just annoyed by the tax liability along with fees that your firm charges. List out these “Not-top 10” clients now and start calling them. You don’t have to schedule in-person meetings, a phone call is enough—the goal is to get ahead of the problem. If your problem clients typically provide information late, give them a deadline to ensure filing by 4/15.Then explain that if the deadline is not met, it means an automatic extension. If you have other clients that always nag you about their tax liability, offer an approximate liability early so that they are prepared..

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