Tax season is overwhelming for even the most seasoned tax and accounting professionals. Thankfully, there are a few simple strategies your firm can use to help manage your time and avoid client overload during this stressful time. Today, let’s explore how these tactics can prepare you for a successful busy season.
Step 1: Review & Strategize
Take a minute right now to review your last tax season. What did you spend time on that wasn’t client work? Many firms have trouble balancing client work with other responsibilities, like administrative tasks or maintaining their marketing. Here are a few common hangups tax pros face during tax season:
- Manually scheduling appointments
- Coordinating reminders and follow-ups with clients
- Collecting client tax documents
- Writing and distributing client newsletters
- Juggling multiple client projects at once
Efficiency is the name of the game for any tax firm during busy season. (This is especially true for small practices.) That’s why it’s so important to reflect on any inefficiencies you ran into last year—and put a plan together to improve.
To start, write a detailed list of all the tasks that interfered with your client work last season. Do your homework to see how many of these items you can delegate or automate this time around. This step will help you avoid unproductive work and work as efficiently as possible throughout the upcoming season.
Step 2: Automate Your Tasks
Did you know that there are technology tools specifically designed to help tax firms automate their day-to-day operations? For example, Mostad Marketing Cloud can help you build your firm’s online presence—while saving you time with practice management. Here are a few ways it can help your practice save time and focus on client work:
- Automatically sending appointment and document reminders
- Fully automated social media posts
- Providing and promoting client content (including targeted newsletters auto emailed to your clients)
- Driving online reviews and referrals through automated emails
The right automation tools will pay for themselves by reducing the amount of time you spend scheduling and managing administrative tasks. So if you spent way too much time manually scheduling appointments, writing newsletters or tackling other efforts last tax season, take the time to research tools that can help you automate them. This is one of the best ways to keep your focus on billable work across busy season—and provide the best possible service for your clients.
Step 3: Visualize Your Work
Have you ever used a Kanban board? It’s a simple tool that visually depicts your work items through lists and cards. As you make progress on different tasks, you move these cards from left to right on the board until they’re complete. Kanban boards are a great way to visualize your client work—and help you prioritize time-sensitive items.
Looking for a digital Kanban board? Then check out Trello, an app that lets you build and manage task lists for free. You can even use simple whiteboards and colored sticky notes to create a more visual and trackable to-do list. Feel free to experiment with different styles to find the one that best suits your process.
Step 4: Reflect Throughout the Season
You already understand how you can improve your workflow from last tax season, but you’ll undoubtedly encounter new challenges this year. Take a step back at the end of each week to reflect on what went well—and what you could have done better to stay on course with your work goals. This is a great way to keep yourself in check and self-correct behaviors that distract you from client work.
Here are some easy ways to track and assess your work during busy season:
- Set realistic daily goals for your client work
- Use a timer to record how long you spend on each task
- Summarize your work and roadblocks at the end of each week
Recording and reviewing your work throughout the season will help you make small adjustments to improve your productivity—and help you catch up if an aspect of your work starts falling behind. This process will also help you catch and eliminate smaller distractions (like checking your devices too often).
Step 5: Reward Yourself
It’s crucial to reward yourself for small and big victories during busy season. Treating yourself after a grueling day of returns can make all the difference between staying motivated and burning out. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Organize post-work activities to unwind
- Read a favorite book at night
- Plan a post-season vacation to celebrate!
Strengthen Your Practice Today
Ready to learn more about how Mostad Marketing Cloud and automation can help you manage your workload and succeed this tax season? Then it’s time to sign up for a free demo! Our marketing experts are also here to help your tax firm thrive year-round.