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6 Tips to Avoid Burnout During This Tax Season
Tax season is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year for numerous CPAs and accounting experts across the globe. It is not a big deal for staff members to work extra hours to complete their work during the busy tax season. With such prolonged hours spent sitting behind a desk at the office, even the most ardent accountants can begin to feel burned out.
A report claimed that approximately 82.6% of F&A experts have expressed the overburden during the tax season.
Irrespective of whether you are managing tax season’s workload or it is just a busy time of the year, it is essential for you to take the necessary steps to avoid burnout. Listed below are some of the things you can do to prevent burnout during this tax season:
Ensure Barrier-Free Communication
If you want to reduce the chances of being exhausted, ensure that the communication with your team and clients is open, transparent, and consistent.
With Clients: Be truthful and direct in your communication with clients, particularly regarding the workload your team can manage and the deadlines.
- Set their expectations right and avoid overburdening your team.
- Don’t make promises that you will not be in a position to fulfill; instead, establish realistic timelines for work delivery.
- Give your clients deadlines for providing you with all the information and documents required for tax preparation and filing.
- Give your clients reasonable timelines for your anticipated responses to their issues and queries.
Keep in mind that clients usually don’t require things to be done right away; however, they just want to feel they are important and that their project wouldn’t be dragged on for a long time.
With Your In-house Team: Keep open communication among your team members at all times. Set the expectations right, so everyone is on the same page. In case you observe some of your teammates working extra hours and show specific signs of stress, take appropriate steps to reduce their stress and help them manage their workload.
Alongside, ensure that you:
- Find and address any bottleneck in your work process, as it can be an added stress for your team members.
- Help your team to prioritize their tasks tactfully so they don’t miss any deadlines.
- Check with your team members regularly to see how they’re doing, if they need any kind of help, or if they are feeling overburdened.
- Discuss ways to streamline your internal processes that could be slowing your team members down or giving them unwanted stress.
In case your team is working extra shifts during the tax season, think about allowing them to work those extra hours at their convenience. For instance, if an employee is not a morning person, give them an option of working until late than asking them to come in early to the office. Nevertheless, you may also have employees who cannot stay in late working night shifts but can put in extra hours in the morning.
Your staff members would have mixed work preferences and responsibilities, so it is important to support them rather than establishing standard rules for everyone to follow blindly. This type of flexibility will help alleviate their stress and possible burnout. Moreover, your staff would highly appreciate this gesture.
Delegating responsibilities can help distribute the workload among your staff members and lower the chances of possible burnout. Managers and team leaders usually attain and outshine because they are doers. They know how to get things done, and they do them well. However, being a doer can sometimes be a double-edged weapon. There are high chances that you may get burned out as you tend to do everything on your own, and it ends up becoming too much for you to handle at some point in time.
Training your staff members can be helpful for those overenthusiastic doers on your team to understand the importance of delegating work to others to reduce the pressure and increase productivity.
Delegating tasks is crucial for maximum efficiency; however, what if you land up in a situation where you are constantly requesting your staff to take on additional work? In case you don’t get extra help from others, you need to reassess your client base and work capacity.
- Are there any clients your staff fears working with?
- Are there any clients that don’t appreciate your service?
- Are there any clients that need constant chasing for timely payments?
If your firm’s overall workload is more than all your staff members can handle, even after delegating the work responsibilities. In that case, it may be the right time to outsource tax return preparation services; this is how many accounting firms currently manage their workload. On the other hand, overburdening your employees and yourself with work can result in burnout. In such situations, you need to question whether it is worth burning out the resources.
Latest Technology and Streamlined Processes
This is the right time to get your technology and Systems evaluated. It would be best if you ensured that your systems were up to date. Also, consider if there are any other solutions you would like to engage to streamline your internal processes.
Use tools that will help you save time, reduce the possibilities of errors, and enhance the overall customer experience. By doing so, your team can easily concentrate on more important tasks rather than feeling pressurized to handle non-productive and menial tasks.
Tax season is usually the most demanding and challenging time for CPAs. This year, encourage your workforce to take regular breaks. Be it a personal day, a long weekend, or simply leaving the office early, everybody deserves and requires their much-needed break. Taking small breaks during the regular workday helps in boosting and improving your overall productivity.
Make sure your staff members know that you are well acquainted with the risks of burnout and aim to do everything possible to avoid such a situation. Encourage your team members to keep tabs on themselves and call a timeout whenever required. Taking a break from your work at the initial stages of burnout is advised before it becomes a significant problem.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Sitting at your work desk throughout the day can wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being. Encourage your staff to take small breaks during their work hours. A brief walk around the office premises can reduce your mental tension and help in counteracting the adverse effects of sitting for long hours.
Please make sure there are nutrient-rich and healthy meals for the team members and encourage them to increase their water intake. Research has shown that even mild dehydration can lead to reduced performance. When your team members are focused and healthy, it results in a faster turnaround time and increased efficiency with no feeling of being burnt out.
If possible, ask your team members to engage in any form of physical exercise at least once or twice a week. Exercising is an excellent way to promote emotional, physical, and mental well-being.
Tax preparation for CPAs should not cause weariness. Responding appropriately to manage the workflow and giving your team members some kind of flexibility and time off from work can help improve their stress levels. When everything else seems to fail, reducing the workload can provide you and your team members some space to breathe. Along with that, at all times, ensure open communication with your team members to set their expectations right and clarify any doubts or queries.
At Cogneesol, we have been helping CPAs, accountants, and tax experts with tax return preparation and bookkeeping process optimization since 2008. Our team of skilled and experienced tax accountants helps our clients establish an effective process, streamline tasks, and eventually reduce operational costs.
In addition, we are an ISO-certified firm that maintains complete confidentiality and ensures high-quality accounting and tax preparation services with a fast delivery model. To learn how we can help you, contact us today via email at [email protected] or call +1 646-688-2821
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