The period between the beginning of February and the end of April is a hectic time of year for accountants. You and your team are working around the clock to help all your clients file their taxes. The added pressure of the season can put excess stress on even your keenest employees, and that extra stress can sometimes translate into mistakes, or turnover due to burnt-out workers. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can mitigate the stress and keep your employees sharp, healthy, and happy.
Streamlining the Process
While an increased workload is unavoidable for most accounting firms during tax season, there are measures you can take to keep it from becoming overwhelming. Whenever possible, try to get an early start on tax filing, especially for your clients who run large or complex businesses.
A lot of this is in the hands of the client, so it’s prudent to keep tax season in mind even in your initial meetings with a new client. Clients who are experienced, organized, and upfront about their needs are more likely to be on the ball when it comes to delivering the necessary forms and records early. You can also start reaching out to clients as soon as mid-January or before to remind them to get their paperwork in early.
If your firm isn’t already up-to-date in terms of accounting tech, you may want to look into incorporating new technology into your dealings with clients. Cloud accounting, blockchain, and AI all offer potential solutions for streamlining the process of error-checking and auditing a client’s books, so you can focus on the numbers instead of worrying about their accuracy.
Your employees are probably pulling more hours than normal at this time of year, so why not make that a little easier by giving them a bit of flexibility in their schedules? If your office is equipped with cloud technology and licensed software, there’s really no reason why your accountants have to do all their work at a cubicle in the office.
Allowing employees to choose to work remotely or switch up their hours, even if it’s just for a day or two each week, can be immensely helpful in mitigating stress. Employees who aren’t constrained to a regular nine-to-five timeframe with overtime hours may find it easier to stay on top of personal obligations, like scheduling that dentist appointment, getting their driver’s license renewed, or having dinner with their kids. When your employees can maintain their lives outside of work, they’re better equipped to stay focused while they’re working.
Happy, comfortable employees are a lot more likely to stick with the job and offer a higher level of productivity. Look at the way your firm operates, and ask yourself if there are any changes you can implement in your office environment, even temporarily, to make things more comfortable.
Maybe your dress code makes suits and ties mandatory in the office. Why not let your employees dress more casually for crunch season? Giving employees the option to wear T-shirts and jeans for a couple months isn’t going to ruin your reputation. That extra 10 minutes your accountants were spending ironing those nice business slacks might be an extra 10 minutes of much-needed sleep.
Many firms have found success with making nutritious food available in the office and setting up games to help employees blow off steam. And of course, employee bonuses for a job well-done are always welcome.
There’s no getting around it. Tax season is always going to be busy for accountants. Give your employees more reasons to look forward to the season instead of dreading it. And don’t forget to celebrate when it’s all said and done.