Accountants often find themselves navigating a unique set of challenges throughout the year—with two significant seasonal peaks: tax season and the holiday season. Managing them back to back is quite the juggling act.
In this post, I’ll share strategies accountants can employ to overcome these seasonal challenges, maintain their sanity and—dare I say it?—maybe even have a little fun.
How to manage the holiday season effortlessly
The word “effortlessly” was chosen quite purposefully. Because who wants to put in any more effort than what’s absolutely required during the holiday season?
Here are three easy things you can do to make working at an accounting firm—or anywhere, for that matter—more manageable during the holiday season.
Create a holiday schedule
Take a cue from Ol’ St. Nick and create a list of things you need to get done. Scheduling time for work, your family and yourself will make you feel like you’re on top of things before you even get started. The power of planning!
I’m a big fan of the printable options on passionplanner.com. They range from daily to monthly, are aesthetically pleasing and better yet—they’re totally free.
If digital planners are more your thing, passionplanner.com has that option as well.
There are no “if,” “ands” or “buts” about it—the holiday season is stressful. Take time for self-care activities to help reduce stress and keep your mind clear. A relaxed professional is a productive professional!
Self-care activities to help reduce stress
- Meditate: Check out apps like Calm, Headspace or Aura Health for quick sessions or hour-long mental retreats.
- Go outside: Memory, attention, impulse control and creativity have all been shown to improve after you spend time outdoors. Stress lowers, endorphin levels rise—need I say more?
- Exercise: I know, I know. It’s not everyone’s favorite activity. But even gentle yoga or a short walk can elevate your mood. Check out YouTube for plenty of free yoga flows. And if you think walking is boring, like I do, listen to a podcast at the same time.
Back in the day, it was easy for us to eliminate work distractions. When we left the office, the office left us. Today? Work follows us everywhere.
Make it clear to family, friends and colleagues when you’re working and when you’re free. Setting boundaries and explaining your schedule manages others’ expectations of you and minimizes distractions.
How to prepare for the tax season rush
Now that you’ve gotten through the holiday season—there’s nothing but smooth sailing until next year, right? Wrong! As you know, accountants face busy season just as soon as the holiday hustle ends.
Here are a few things you can do to prepare.
The tools we’ve got today can do everything—from streamlining multistep processes to providing a secure way to work anywhere.
For this reason, “using technology” is at the top of our list of ways to overcome seasonal challenges.
Here are a few Rightworks technologies that’ll help you during your busiest times (and year-round, too):
- Rightworks Transaction Pro: Transaction Pro is THE tool for importing, exporting and deleting QuickBooks® It improves efficiency, reduces errors and gets you far away from tedious, repetitive tasks.
- Rightworks OneSpace: OneSpace makes it easier to manage your accounting firm from anywhere, securely, via one secure cloud platform. Solutions range from the cloud platform to a turnkey, fully managed infrastructure experience. To put it simply, OneSpace is the place where all your accounting firm data lives, providing you with one-stop access to work on it from anywhere. (And working from anywhere during the busiest seasons of the year is a must, must, must.)
- SPARK AI: AI is the present and the future of accounting. Rightworks has recently come out with a generative AI tool to help accounting firms address the challenges of performing repetitive writing, research and advisory tasks. As the experts at Rightworks Labs say, “It’s ChatGPT…purpose-built for accounting.” Get started with SPARK here.
Stay organized and go digital
Staying organized—seems obvious, right? But before tax season begins in earnest, really dig into your physical and virtual spaces and declutter.
- Clear your desk of any distractions and clean up your workspace.
- Clean up any unnecessary files, folders, etc. on your computer desktop, too.
- Organize your client information with a client management tool.
- Go digital with everything.
Going digital with everything is the ultimate organization hack.
Not only does it automatically declutter your office space from piles of paper and documents in disarray, but digital documents:
- Eliminate version control issues.
- Eliminate the need to collect, scan and return paper documents.
- Are far more secure.
Roman Kepczyk and Darren Root go into much more detail in their “How to have a better 2024 tax season” article. I suggest you check out their advice, pronto presto.
In summary: Get on it
The day is young! The time is now! And the only way you’re going to have better seasons, fewer distractions (and a whole lot more fun) is with a little preparation.
As Taylor Swift and a bunch of other people once said,“if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
For more advice on preparing for the seasons ahead, subscribe to our blog today.