For a tax or an accounting firm, there’s no greater relief than when the clock strikes midnight on April 15th. Filing extensions aside, it’s a clear sign that a particularly stressful time is over and you can take a breather.
But it’s hard to find free time when you run your own firm. There’s always something to do in preparation for the next tax year. However, you don’t have to dive back into client work right off the bat. Here are seven things you can to do to strike a good balance between celebrating your 2019 success and preparing for your future success.
- Plan something fun with your team. First and foremost, you and your staff deserve to unwind. Plan celebratory festivities during office hours and encourage everyone to take some time off to spend with family. If you find yourself balking at spending that billable time on something so unproductive, imagine how much time you’d have to spend replacing those employees when they leave for roles that show more appreciation for making it through tax season.
- Reconnect with your network. You’re not the only one with a more relaxed schedule after April 15th. Chances are high that the rest of your professional network is also feeling the pull to slow down and reflect on the first quarter of the year. Schedule coffee or lunch meetings or meet for drinks with your bankers, attorneys and referral sources to catch up and reconnect.
- Talk through the tax season. When you’re back in the office, hold an all-hands meeting to talk about what went well this tax season … and about what could have gone better. Break into groups to talk through the issues and brainstorm solutions before the next tax season. Then, make sure you schedule a time to review those findings alone and think about how you want the next tax season to be different.
- Spring-clean your resources. Before you dive back into client work, take a day to evaluate the results of your all-hands meeting in regards to your current systems, technologies, and processes. Is there anything you can improve before the next deadline, or any technology that could help you recapture valuable time for more important tasks?
- Do one-on-one evaluations of staff. As staff members readjust to regular hours, schedule one-on-one meetings with them to talk about how things are going and where they want to improve. Pull utilization and realization reports. Talk to employees about performance, client service, and the skills they’d like to sharpen. Then, follow through by generating professional development or performance plans to track your progress.
- Brainstorm new services. It’s nearly impossible to consider new services and opportunities when you’re working around the clock to serve your clients during tax season. Once April 15th passes, it’s important to go back and review your client notes and brainstorm new services and offerings you could provide for your clients. You never know what valuable product or service you could offer that clients will want to jump on in the off-season.
- Scan for new talent. In addition to considering new products and services for your clients, it’s worth taking a moment to scan your local network for new talent that could support those endeavors. Check your social networks for peers who are looking for new opportunities or new graduates on the market. This will give you have a sense of the talent pool in your area should you decide to pursue those new offerings.
To be successful in public accounting, you have to perform well under pressure and have tremendous focus and attention to detail. But seasons of rest and preparation must exist to offset the ones with deadlines. Now that tax season is over, give yourself and your team time to relax, refresh, and prepare for another rigorous year of service.