Every tax season can be draining for accountants, but given the unique circumstances in 2020, this year will be especially hard for many. The complexities caused by the pandemic have changed just about everything. Thankfully, accountants can implement some of the following tips to get through the busy tax season.
10 Tips for Accountants During Busy Season
Of course, you can’t always anticipate how busy you will be, but tax season is always hectic for accountants. You can do some things to lessen the burden on yourself. Take care of small things you can manage before the busy season hits. For instance, many accountants try to get their small personal to-do lists taken care of before January 1. This includes things like getting your oil changed, getting a haircut, or similar tasks. It is also a good idea to meet a few friends for lunch or get together before the busy season hits.
Get Important Tasks Done First
Many people are more productive in the mornings. While many firms may seem to promote staying late to get things done, getting your most important tasks done right off the bat is a better idea. This is the same outside of work. You should tend to your personal duties and tasks before the workday starts. That way, you aren’t letting them go by the wayside.
Batch Your Tasks
Some accountants batch their tasks to improve their focus and productivity. For example, if you are working on tax preparations, you can focus on returns all day then focus on another task the next day. When you batch your work this way, it is also a good idea to take client calls during your lunch break or after 5 p.m. This helps maintain your focus throughout the day.
Enlist Help With Smaller Tasks
If you find you are overwhelmed with small, personal tasks, get help. Many accountants hire someone or get help from friends with things like walking the dog during the busy season. It gives you one less thing to worry about while you are getting things done. Other accountants may hire a cleaning company for their home, have their grocery shopping done for them, or find other ways to make smaller tasks less stressful during tax season.
Don’t Ignore Self-Care
Even though you are busy, remember to make time for self-care. Your body will break down eventually if you don’t give it the care you need. Make time to go to the gym or exercise. You should also pay attention to your diet and be sure you are still eating well, even when you are the busiest. Possibly most importantly, you need to get enough sleep. For many people, the sweet spot for a good night’s sleep is seven hours.
Give Good Advice
Many customers come to their accountant for more than just tax compliance inquiries. Be ready to answer other commonly asked questions. Accountants and financial advisors have found that clients have become more interested in the advice they can provide over the past year. For example, when businesses were being given loans, many owners had questions about loan forgiveness. They were approaching accountants about this more than they have been about their taxes. Remember that your services go beyond just doing taxes typically.
Know the Laws
In 2020, many people began to work remotely. This can profoundly impact how they file taxes, or their company handles taxes, especially if they began to work remotely out of state. Some individuals decided to move somewhere cheaper or even move back home while they have the option to work remotely. However, this happened during the year, so many people will have a portion of their taxable income in one state and then the rest in another.
Work Remotely When Possible
Remote work has become increasingly popular since the 2020 pandemic. Accountants can utilize remote work to help them save time on their commute. This can help you increase the hours you are able to work. If it is possible at your firm, work from home when you can to get the most out of your workday.
Stick to a Schedule
Schedule the time you work and when you won’t. You can use time tracking apps to help you stay on top of how you are spending your day. It is important to have a set time where you are working and when you are not. Have set periods of time throughout the day where you take breaks as well.
Take Advantage of Every Minute
Every minute you have during the busy season needs to be utilized. Accountants who are parents typically say things like, “weekend nap time is extra work time,” during the busiest season of the year. Keeping track of the hours you are working and what you are working on can help you truly take advantage of every minute you have.
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