Skip to content

How to survive tax season

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

Thomson Reuters Tax & Accounting  

· 5 minute read

As accountants, there’s no way to avoid the hectic nature of tax season.

Amidst such a busy time, how do you ensure you aren’t overwhelming yourself or your staff? The answer lies in planning ahead, maximizing the tools available to you, and understanding your purpose.

How can I make my tax season easier?

From carving out dedicated personal time to implementing time-saving tools and technology, let’s take a look at three ways you can shift out of survival mode and thrive not only during tax season but all year long.

1. Own your time

Your time is precious—and it can very easily be consumed during tax season. If you’re like most accountants, staffing shortages have you wearing multiple hats, putting you at risk of burnout.

To get ahead of the stress, carve out dedicated personal time now, before you’re deep in the trenches of tax season. Owning your time can help you set goals and keep them while ensuring you have space for hobbies, family, or whatever recharges you.

Since extra time is so often relinquished at the height of busy season, the need to commit early on cannot be overstated. Why? Because protecting your time is a form of self-care that can help you ease stress, both in your personal and work life.

As tax season charges full steam ahead, you may start to doubt it’s possible to take time for yourself but remember this: When you prioritize your mental health and wellbeing, your staff and clients benefit—and that’s a win-win.

2. Become a tax software expert

Nearly all firms use some type of tax and accounting software, but not everyone is an expert in it. Those who are, however, can tackle the challenges of tax season with ease.

In an era of staffing shortages and increased burnout, software designed for accounting firms can save you time and alleviate stress by transforming daily workflow, boosting efficiency, and freeing up time to focus on more strategic tax work.

There is no doubt that manual processes bog down productivity and contribute to tax season stressors, so if you’re still spending hours sorting paperwork, typing numbers into spreadsheets, and entering the same data over and over, it’s time to automate with technology.

Make sure you’re using tax software that offers anytime access and secure cloud-based collaboration options to exchange files, assign tasks, and collaborate on edits for a seamless client experience. With the work-from-home trend here to stay, you can be just as effective as working from the office—and offer more convenience for your staff and clients.

When you become an expert in utilizing key features like instant tax prep checklists and pre-populated returns, you can save serious time and maximize productivity. Plus, today’s tax research solutions are so intuitive that even junior staff can find answers and keep pace with ever-changing tax laws, freeing up time and enabling staff at all levels to support clients with confidence.

By knowing your tax software inside and out, you can get the most out of your workflow solutions and streamline processes even with limited staff and resources. The result? More efficiency, increased accuracy, and the ability to proactively meet the demands of your clients.

3. Connect with your purpose

Linking your daily work and relationships to a larger sense of purpose can boost your energy and engagement—even through the dog days of tax season. Think about what motivates you and what type of environment you want to create for both clients and staff.

Your purpose is about more than just revenue—it’s about creating a fulfilling work life and more meaningful relationships with staff and clients. One way to strengthen these relationships and build your sense of purpose at work is through advisory services.

By becoming a year-round problem-solving partner to your clients, you can move toward a business model that eliminates billable hours and reinforces the value you provide clients. By supporting more than just tax returns, you can build more sustainable client relationships and find deeper meaning in your work, helping you find purpose in those long hours that tax season can bring.

Learn more on how to survive and thrive during tax season in our White Paper “Winning strategies for a more profitable tax season

A strong mindset for future success

The past few years have made it clear that serving clients is not all about tax compliance. If there is any silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that we can all relate to one another in terms of the stress and anxiety we’ve experienced as a community.

Dialing in and connecting more deeply with staff and clients can strengthen relationships and build community. Coupling that with becoming an expert in tax technology is crucial to shifting out of survival mode and thriving this tax season.

So, whether you’re helping clients file their tax returns or supporting a small business with advisory services, owning your time, knowing your tools, and connecting to your purpose can help you endure the long hours of tax season—and succeed all year long.

Interested in more tips on how to survive tax season? Check out “5 client communication tips for accountants”.

More answers