It has been a long time since the tax season begun. Stress levels at their highest at all accounting firms – irrespective of the size. Even the most organized CPAs who maintain good books throughout the year and stay in touch with their clients consistently find the process of doing tax returns to be a painful process.
This tax season, specifically, is a bit more chaotic. The deadline to file Partnership Returns is March 15, a month earlier than the past, and the companies that are also known as C-Corporations have to file by April 18, after having March as the due date in the past years.
Moreover, maintaining a smooth workflow throughout the busy weeks is a challenging task. There are days when you think everything is in control, and then there are some days – well, most days – when everything is a mess! Whether you agree or you don’t – a CPA’s life is definitely interesting.
Let’s take a quick recap of things you should invest your time and energy in to sail through the busy period:
1. When in doubt, seek clarity from your client
Don’t hesitate to ask questions or raise queries whenever and wherever you get stuck while doing any accounting activity. You are dealing with sensitive matter here and therefore, it is more of a procedure you need to follow to get all your facts right. Notify your clients about the status of their accounts, and come up with ways to resolve their problems. And if you get stuck, ask them.
2. Outsource to focus on more important tasks
This term is often met by animosity or ignorance as most people don’t understand how outsourcing actually works. Questions are raised on “security” and “reliability” of outsourcing services. It’s natural but with companies such as QXAS Inc., you can be assured of reliable professional accounting services.
For instance, bookkeeping – a monotonous accounting task – can be outsourced. Even though it a more time-intensive activity than payroll, hiring personnel just for this can burn a hole in the pocket. This is where outsourcing comes into the picture.
3. Remember to research and update yourself
First things first – the most important job of a CPA is to make sure his or her clients understand their financial situations and follow tax laws. This requires you to stay updated of all the changes to tax laws, publications and forms relevant to your clients.
Just as law and other legal updates are important to CPAs, staying current with professional rules of conduct is equally necessary. Don’t simply rely on just reading off the internet or referring to documents. You can have discussions with superiors and colleagues on tax laws, go to tax update seminars and attend conferences.
4. Be understanding of your staff
During the tax season, every accounting professional is on his toes taking client phone calls, filing tax returns and simply meeting deadlines. Everybody is trying to do a good job because in the end, they are accountable to not just their clients but also to themselves.
Tailor your management style as per each person’s strengths, personalities and aspirations to get your staff to work harmoniously. Organize get-togethers to let everyone get out of their work mode to unwind a bit, and interact with each other casually. Pizza parties or happy hours are hot favorites.
5. Take care of yourself
Exercise! It doesn’t matter how late you come back from office. Get up early in the morning and go for a walk or run. Hit the gym – if possible. Do yoga. Exercise will help your body cope better with stress. Additionally, eat healthy. Don’t hog on junk food or drink lots of coffee.
Lastly, don’t allow minor hiccups become major obstacles. Keep calm and you’ll sail through this period. Good luck!