Tax season is over. For many accountants, those words trigger an immediate sigh of relief. You have spent countless hours in the office—well past the 40-hour-a-week mark for many of us—to hit deadlines and make clients happy.
So, now that tax season is over, what’s next?
It’s important to take the next few weeks to do a few things:
- Reset and allow yourself some time to breathe
- Reflect on what went right and wrong during tax season
- Set goals for changes that you want to make over the next six to 12 months
- Begin implementing these changes
In this article, I will dive into each of the above in more detail so you can ensure your post-tax season is as successful as possible.Rest and Relax for a Little Bit
First, you need to relax and rest a bit. After all, you deserve it after putting in long hours to make the chaos of tax season work for everyone. You have faced some challenges over the past few months. Every accountant should take empowered action to celebrate the end of the tax season. A “self pat” on the back simply is not enough.
Take time to:
- Spend the weekend camping
- Visit a friend or family memberGet back into your gym routine
- Book a massage
- Go on a vacation
If you cannot get away for a vacation, consider taking a Monday or Friday off for an extended three or four-day weekend. There’s a good chance that you’ve missed out on quality time with friends and family, and now you can make up for the lost time.
Recharging and spending time doing what you love outside of work is something you need to do to get back on top of your game as soon as possible.
Reflect on What Went Well and What Didn’t
A great way to transition from all of that relaxation is to begin reflecting on what went well and did not go well during tax season. Sit down with a notebook or fire up your laptop, open Excel and start jotting down:
- Issues with soft skills that you’ve identified, such as time management or communication breakdowns
- Technical issues that occurred that you may be able to overcome with better training, new software, or updated workflows
- Client and team wins and losses and how to improve on them.
Every accountant will have their own list of items that they need to review.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to better understand ways to improve:
- How was client onboarding? Are there ways that you can improve onboarding to ensure you don’t need to chase down documents and files at the last minute?
- Was communication a success? Are all team members using an integrated platform for communication to keep everything in one spot? Do clients know exactly how to reach you and when they can expect a response?
- How many times did the client’s work change hands? Did the work need to change hands this often? Did handing off work cause any bottlenecks?
It is important that you reflect on the tax season as soon as you can while everything is still fresh in your mind.
Review and Expand Service Lines
You’ve learned a lot over the past tax season about your clients. Now is the time to ask, what additional services your clients want and need, and where can you fill in these gaps.
When talking to accountants, I encourage them to think about how they can become a one-stop shop.
For example, you may want to add financial planning as part of your core services. Making this decision means improving your business’s long-term financial health, having steady work all year long, and increasing the lifetime value of your clients. Better yet, becoming a one-stop shop solidifies your business by improving client experience and deepening client loyalty.
Set Goals That You Want to Achieve
Once you have all of this information down on paper, you can begin setting goals that you want to achieve. For example, you may want to:
- Improve soft skills by finishing a particular course or training in the next month
- Revisit your tech stack and make changes to improve efficiency in the next five months
- Add a new service offering before the next tax season, etc.
Once you have written down all the goals you want to reach, it is time to implement changes to achieve them.
Begin Implementing Changes
Knowing what needs to be changed is half the battle, but it is too easy to put your goals on the back burner, especially if you are packed with work. You want to set yourself up for success, and this means:
- Creating projects for each goal
- Setting project deadlines
- Adding time into your schedule to dedicate to each project
- Implementing feedback loops into the projects so you can know what’s working and what’s not
If you have team members that you can rely on, consider assigning some of these projects to them when possible. Working to reach a collective goal will speed up your timeline to reach your goals.
Tax season can teach you a lot about your operations, strengths, and weaknesses. If you use this time to improve, it will help you increase revenue, boost client trust and make next season easier. Just take it one step at a time and find ways to reach your goals over the coming months.