Vacation During Tax Season? WHAT????
This tax season, Powerful Accounting handled the stress of the season differently than any other season. We collectively and purposefully decided to experiment and break all the typical tax season rules by each team member taking time off. Who made the rules that dictated our required number of hours from January 1 to April 15 to be between 60-80 hours per week? Planning with purpose has allowed our team to claim back our lives, even during our busiest time of the year. Sounds crazy, right? Wrong! It was the best decision and the most successful team project we have executed in almost 20 years.
Last year, we experimented with “No Day Friday’s.” After tax season, we decided that we would work hard enough during tax season to get our work done, and then take off every Friday after April 15 to have a three-day weekend the remainder of the year. And we did it. I am not saying there wasn’t an occasional Friday that we had to work an hour here or there, but overall we were 90% Friday free!
We began tax season with the knowledge that team members would need to take time off. Some for vacation, some for the birth of a grand baby, a family cruise, and even a week in Florida to coach a college softball team. Typically, this would cause stress in the workplace, but knowing we would be shorthanded for the busiest season, we used the knowledge as motivation to be as productive as possible. Since we all had one common goal, we all agreed that we would work together to complete the work early in order for each of us to enjoy a stress-free vacation.
The team Executive Assistant, Tracey Fiske, went on a family cruise in mid-January. We utilized this first experience as our motivation to complete all pre-tax season administrative tasks. Tracey worked hard to issue all individual and business tax organizers, engagement letters, and payment authorizations and sent them to our existing client base. That would allow her to have the clients respond throughout the week that she was away. Then upon her return, she was able to manage what was returned by clients and who we needed to reach out to and follow up with. In the fall, we implemented new processes and technology that we knew would assist her in accomplishing tasks efficiently so she could have a stress-free vacation!
The Director of the Small Business Division, Ann Ketelhut, had a vacation planned with her husband to Punta Cana. We also knew that she was expecting her first grandchild, and would want to take time to be with her family. Prior to her departure, she worked hard to finish all in-house small business bookkeeping that would need to be worked on while she was away. Ann was able to take off two weeks.
As the owner of Powerful Accounting and a Certified Public Accountant, I was able to take a week off to perform the duties as an Assistant Coach for the Eastern Connecticut Women’s Fast-Pitch Softball Team for spring competitions. I was not willing to miss the opportunity to experience the memories and the team bonding, so I made it work. The motivation of getting my work done in order to go enjoy a sport I love was nothing like I had ever experienced before.
This could not have happened without the help from my amazing team. There is something to be said about a team that is so willing to help one another in order to achieve a common goal, this being a weeks’ vacation. I am so excited to be finish out tax season as strong as we started and with the best team I could imagine. I cannot wait to see what next tax season has in store for us. Work-life balance is a number priority here at Powerful Accounting. You should consider it too!
Author Bio: Dawn W. Brolin is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and CEO of Powerful Accounting, LLC, a nationally recognized accounting, tax, forensic and fraud, IRS Representation as well as a QuickBooks consulting firm. Dawn’s list of professional accomplishments is extensive and includes speaking and consulting for prestigious companies. Named “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Accounting” 2012-2017 by CPA Practice Advisor, a “Top 10 Managing Partner Elite – Great Accounting Firm Leader” in 2017 by Accounting Today, and selected as a “Top 40 Under 40” by CPA Technology Magazine.