Tax & Accounting Blog

Take a Deep Breath and Debrief

Accounting Firms April 12, 2016

The end of another tax season is in sight, and most of us are looking forward to some well-deserved R&R time. But before you leave the office, capture information about how your office operates at peak times and identify changes that set you up for future success.

Ask your staff:

  1. How did this tax season go overall?
  2. What parts of our workflow worked well?
  3. Where did our workflow break down?
  4. What process took us the most time?
  5. How can we change our training plan to make next year smoother?
  6. What caused the most stress?
  7. What helped ease your stress?
  8. Who are our difficult clients? What makes them difficult?
  9. Who are our good clients? What makes them good?
  10. How did our software perform?
  11. a. Tax
    b. Accounting
    c. Payroll
    d. Document management\portals
    e. Practice management

  12. How did our computer\network perform?
  13. a. Speed
    b. Reliability
    c. Printing

Then ask your managers and partners:

  1. Which staff person made the most impact?
  2. Who was the most accurate in their work?
  3. Who struggled the most?
  4. Who had the most growth in knowledge/skills?

There are multiple approaches to gathering feedback. One way is to get individual answers and tally the results. Another is to meet and go through the list together. Your approach will depend on the size of your team and their level of comfort sharing in a group meeting.

It’s important to encourage honest feedback—and most important, be prepared to follow through on staff suggestions and address problems areas. If you ask your staff to give you written feedback, plan a meeting with them to review the results. In this meeting, you can ask for insight for the issues you found, discuss possible solutions and celebrate your successes.

Taking time to celebrate the end of tax season can be a bonding experience that brings your staff together. It’s cathartic to tell war stories and celebrate each other’s accomplishments as a way of relieving the stress that’s built up over the months.

But no matter how you handle it, taking time to debrief can only help you continue to improve and grow your firm.

How do you celebrate the end of tax season with your staff?