They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes. For accountants, you can add the certainty that tax season will bring nearly-unmanageable stress. For these intrepid number-crunchers, January – May is a whirlwind of long hours, perpetually-ringing telephones and intense pressure.
You can help your accounting staff remain upbeat and productive in the face of mounting workloads and relentless customer demand with these strategies:
Keep Them Focused on Work/Life Balance
Believe it or not, accountants can have a life outside of the office under the crunch of tax time. In fact, if you don’t want your team to burn out, taking time to unplug and recharge their batteries should be non-negotiable. Exhaust leads to errors, and errors can destroy customer trust. To encourage your team to take time for themselves, consider a mandatory office closing at 5:30 on Fridays. You can’t stop them from working over the weekend, but a mandatory Friday cut off shows accountants you want them to make time for themselves and their families.
During tax season, have healthy lunches brought into the office to keep the team sharp and eating well during the day. Remind them to continue their regular fitness routines, encourage them to drink plenty of water, and you might even consider bringing in a masseuse to provide 10-minute chair massages once a week. Connect with a local college or training school – their students need the practical hours, and thus, the fees are much lower.
Most teams start the tax season with vigor and gusto, but as time wears on, motivation dwindles. Re-kindle their fire by celebrating milestones. You might have a party after the first 500 returns are completed, or when you reach the halfway point of the season. Make sure to mark the official close of tax time with a day away from the office. You could schedule a guest speaker at a local hotel with a closing luncheon or dinner, or perhaps take the team out for an outing unrelated to work, like an afternoon baseball game.
Make Time to Laugh
Taxes are serious business. Don’t be afraid to add levity to the work week. Send out a daily tax-related cartoon, or hold a tongue-in-cheek awards ceremony during the weekly staff meeting. “Diplomat of the Week” could go to someone who handled a tough client with ease, “Tax Maniac of the Week” might go to highly-productive team members, etc. Laughing is an instant stress reliever and it reminds the group why they enjoy their jobs.
Spread Out the Work
It seems every tax season the workload gets greater, but the staff size remains the same. Temporary accountants on contract CPAs can help ease the strain on our existing team and prevent burnout. It is important to plan well ahead of your busy season so that you can source the highest-quality candidates in the market and get them properly trained. Seasonal accountants can be lifesavers when it comes to hitting deadlines and keeping morale high.
If you are looking for top accounting talent to help you through tax time, or any busy season of the year, contact the expert recruiters at Contemporary Staffing Solutions today. Our proven strategies for sourcing talent will help you develop a team that will keep your firm humming through even the busiest tax season.