If you’re working extra long hours with little sleep, then it must be tax season. While the end is clearly in sight, you may need some tips and guidance to help you make it past the finish line. Here are my eight recommendations to help you get through the last few weeks.
Tip #1: Take advantage of the technology available to you. To save you a lot of time, Intuit® ProConnect™ and its partners have developed several products to request and exchange documents with clients:
- Use Intuit Link to request and have clients send you their tax documents. They can log into a secure portal to download documents such as W-2s from their employers, scan and upload, or even take a picture with their phone and upload. Using Link keeps the clients’ documents confidential and minimizes the chances of Identity theft.
- SmartVault is another client portal system to exchange documents with clients and provides a way to store tax returns for the client to retrieve.
- eSignature is a way to quickly get your clients to electronically sign their e-file authorization forms. For information about these and other workflow tools, go to Intuit ProConnect and check them out!
Tip #2: Get and stay organized. Manage your calendar in a way that you can access it from your computer and phone. Use your software to keep track of the status of your clients’ tax returns as they move through the office. Make sure to set up and follow procedures to know what else needs to be done to complete a return in process.
Tip #3: Use online tools and software to access your information anywhere, anytime. If you use desktop versions of software and need to access if from outside your office, set the software up with remote access.
Tip #4: Be reasonable about what you and your team can accomplish. Set realistic expectations for your clients as to when their tax information needs to be in your office. Our policy is that returns received after April 1 will be extended. If you still don’t think you can get all the work done, review your client list to see if anyone is willing to extend. If necessary, you could offer a discount for work done outside of tax season.
Tip #5: Have a positive attitude. Remember that the rest of your team and your family also have to endure tax season. Be thankful for their support and consider doing something special for them. A thank you for a job well done is appreciated by team members; spending quality time with your family, along with an “I love you,” can put a smile on their face.
Tip #6: Take care of yourself. Make sure you take periodic breaks during the day. It is important to find something to take your mind off work, even for a few minutes. Try not to eat lunch or dinner while you work. Put a limit on the number of hours you will work in a day and week. Eat a balanced diet of good protein, fruits and vegetables, and try not to eat too much junk food. You will have more energy and hopefully not gain too much weight.
Tip #7: Relieve stress. Make sure you get plenty of sleep. If you are overtired, it is too easy to make mistakes when clients are counting on you to be accurate. Get some exercise. This is a great way to help reduce stress, have more energy and enjoy helping your clients.
Tip #8: Be patient with team members and clients. Everyone makes mistakes, but discuss them with the team member without raising your voice. Early in my career, I had a partner who took it personally whenever someone did something incorrectly; I quickly found another job.
In addition, be patient with your clients. We all have bad days and clients who frustrate us. Find a way to be caring and helpful. They can recognize when we raise our voice or are short with them. If you make a mistake on your clients’ work, don’t be afraid to admit it, and don’t make excuses; clients don’t want to hear them. If necessary, reassure them it won’t happen again, and consider adjusting their bill or providing them with a free service. If you treat someone poorly, make sure you apologize. It is important to have a good relationship with your clients. You need to make them feel important and must be willing to spend the time to do the job properly.
I hope these tips will help you – good luck finishing this year’s tax season!