Tax season is finally over. Now, you can take a break and enjoy some time away from 1099s, deduction worksheets, and filing software. It's important to unplug and recharge, but once you've had some downtime, it's also important to make good use your not-so-busy season. Use this time to prepare for next year's busy season and position your firm for growth.
Here are five things you can do to set yourself up for a stress-free 2019 tax season and prosperous 2020 and beyond.
Step 1: Decompress
If possible, take said breath in a sunnier, warmer locale than the one to which you’re accustomed. If you already live in a place with sunny beaches and beautiful weather, get out of the office, take a staycation, and soak up some vitamin D. Regardless of where you vacation, make a real effort to disconnect and unplug. You earned it!
Step 2: Debrief
It's always good practice to do a wrap session before you close up shop to enjoy your time off (or schedule it first-thing when you and your team get back). Buy lunch and show gratitude everyone's hard work, celebrate 2018 tax season wins, and talk about opportunities for improvement.
Here are a few questions to discuss:
- How did tax season go for your firm? As good as you expected? Better than you expected? Worse than you expected?
- Were clients slow to get you the documents you needed? If so, are there ways to expedite this process?
- Was your team well utilized? Did anyone feel overwhelmed or overworked?
- Were there inefficiencies that can be fixed? If so, what and how?
- Did client issues come up that could be avoided in the future? And are there things you need to follow up on?
Spending time with your team to figure out where bottlenecks exist will help your firm run more smoothly next year.
Step 3: Refocus
Tax season can be all-consuming, but now that you’re through to the other side, it’s time to focus on tackling things that will effectively drive your business forward. This is your chance re-organize day-to-day processes and to identify and tackle any to-dos that fell to the wayside.
For some, that may mean re-organizing your desk, files, laptop, and office. For others, it may mean catching up on routine tasks that were pushed aside through tax season or re-structuring daily schedules to boost productivity. The process may be different, but the goal is the same; wrap up tax season and move confidently forward into the rest of the year.
Step 4: Tackle Goals
With your clients’ tax issues in the rearview mirror, it’s time to put your firm first. Now, it's important to begin focusing on longer-term firm growth goals.
If this is the first time this year you and your team have spent time thinking about firm growth, start by identifying one to three goals you can work towards in the coming months.
If you discussed goals last year and already have action items in place, meet with your team to make sure everyone is on the same page and is aware of what they are responsible for.
During this meeting:
- Discuss your road map
- Explain how your team will track progress
- Assign reporting tasks
- Answer any questions
Step 5: Add Value
Advisory work is where CPAs shine. It's how your team deepens relationships with clients and builds the kind of partnerships that generate referral business. Struggling to figure out how to decrease tedious tasks and increase advisory time?
Consider different ways you can expand your service offering and outsource tedious processes to make your firm more profitable. This could mean utilizing technology tools, outsourcing certain tasks, or some combination of the above. For example, if you have clients who need help managing state sales tax compliance, LumaTax's team of sales tax experts can take over that entire process for you.
These types of partnerships not only increase your firm's value proposition, they also free up your CPAs time so they're able to focus on relationship building.
LumaTax accounting partners leverage our technology to become an instant sales tax compliance experts. This partnership increases their client value, productivity, and profitability. Learn More
We hope you use this checklist to identify key takeaways from this year's tax season, improve processes for next year, set achievable goals, find ways to increase your firm's profitability, and - most importantly - add value to your clients.