Tax Season Survival: 7 Tips for Thriving During the Busiest Times14 Sep, 20231-2 minutes
In this blog, you will learn
- What tax season is
- The challenges Accountants face during tax season
- Top tips to survive the busy tax season
- Where the latest accounting jobs are and how to apply for them
Tax season can be a stressful and busy time for finance and accounting professionals. Learn valuable tips and strategies to not just survive, but thrive during the busy tax season with this helpful guide. Stay ahead of the game with these strategies to deal with the heavy workloads during tax season.
What is tax season?
As we approach the new year, Accountants across the UK prepare themselves for another intense tax season. Tax season is the period within which all income taxes must be filed up until the deadline.
For Accountants, it is their busiest time of the year, a period of heightened activity and responsibility. From January to April, accounting firms and accounting professionals expect to work long shifts and meet tight deadlines under intense pressure to deal with heavy workloads and deliver results.
What are the challenges Accountants face during tax season?
Tax season is a notorious challenge for even the most seasoned Accountants, both mentally and physically. A demanding workload over the first quarter of the year can affect you for the rest of the year, increasing your chance of missing deadlines, making mistakes and inaccuracies. This intense period can be hard to manage, and your mental health and work-life balance can be greatly affected.
In a recent caba survey, 8 out of 10 respondents said stress and poor mental health are a problem within the accountancy profession. Some of the reasons highlighted in this survey included heavy workload and long hours which can cause burnout or stress during the tax season.
The caba survey also revealed that 63% of Accountants believe stress and poor mental health are a problem because of the complexity of the work, with no room for error. Tight deadlines, client demands and a lack of time make it difficult for Accountants to manage and maintain a work-life balance.
Top tips to survive the busy tax season
Top tips to survive and thrive during tax season include:
- Getting organised
- Managing your time
- Prioritise tasks
- Keep yourself motivated
- Prioritise mental health
- Take breaks and make time to recharge
Start preparing for tax season well in advance, like now! Create a detailed timeline and checklist to ensure you don't miss critical deadlines and maintain a schedule.
Keep all documents, receipts and financial records organised using digital tools and software for document management. Organise and manage your schedule or create a system to increase productivity and give you more time for focus and deep work.
Clear your desk at the end of the day, and spend the next morning planning your day’s activities to feel more in control of your work and reduce overwork.
Managing your time
According to Indeed, during the annual income tax season it's not uncommon for Accountants to work hours that go beyond their normal scheduled weekly hours, and some may work up to 50 or 60 hours per week.
The caba survey revealed that 72% of Accountants believe long hours contribute to their stress and poor mental health. It is easy to become consumed during tax season, so it is important to own your time and get ahead of the stress.
Carve out dedicated personal time now before you realise you're overcommitted and at risk of a physical or mental burnout. Own your time by setting yourself goals to ensure you have space for hobbies, family, exercise or whatever recharges you.
Protecting your time is a form of self-care and can improve your work and your personal life, as well as benefiting your staff and clients.
Identify high priority tasks and focus on them first. Complete returns or clients with impending deadlines early to avoid last minute rushes. Try to break down big tasks into easier, more manageable tasks to make you more efficient and feel less overwhelmed. Bigger tasks eat into your time and energy more, therefore don’t take on too many tasks all at once.
Priorities will change, so keep yourself aware and open-minded for change in productivity. Divide the work into smaller tasks, assign timelines and factor in other people to take some of the workload.
If you’re part of a team, take advantage and distribute the workload evenly. Delegate tasks according to each team member’s strengths to lighten the load and free up some of your time for higher-value activities.
The caba survey revealed that 87% of Accountants believe the reason for stress and poor mental health is a heavy workload which is hard to avoid or refuse, but can be easier to manage. If some tasks can be done by other members of your team, this will allow you to devote your time and energy to where it is needed the most.
Enlisting help could give someone else the knowledge and experience to strengthen their career and develop professionally. Effective delegation when possible can be a great time-management and organisation tool to strategically lower your workload and reduce stress.
Keep yourself motivated
Think about what motivates you and what type of environment you will thrive in. Keeping your goals in mind can mean you are able to be more motivated and can help you to find purpose and fulfilment in the long hours that tax season can bring.
Motivate yourself by connecting with your purpose and identifying your end goals. Know who you are, what you are doing and why you do what you do. If you find deeper meaning in your work this can create a fulfilling work life and more meaningful relationships with staff and clients.
Create the perfect environment at work to stimulate you and the perfect environment at home to allow you to relax and switch off. Motivate yourself outside of work by making time for family and friends and do whatever it is that keeps you motivated.
Prioritise mental health
When working intensely for the first quarter of the year, Accountants can find that they are too busy to seek mental health support. A survey by CABA revealed 36% of employees weren’t accepting their employer-funded mental health support because they don’t have time. Not only were these Accountants not seeking help from their employer-funded facilities but 69% had not utilised out of work mental health support either.
Take advantage of support services that are at your disposal either at work or in general. Even though you are busy, don't ignore your social life and make time for self-care or your body will eventually break down. Make time to go to the gym, exercise and pay attention to your diet as this can affect your mood, mental health and abilities.
Take breaks and make time to recharge
The importance of distancing yourself away from work even for a quick break cannot be stressed enough. Don’t skip lunch or eat at your desk, you could get fatigued, hungry or resort to unhealthy food habits.
Be sure to eat healthily, exercise or go for a walk to allow yourself time to readjust and maintain focus. Taking regular breaks allows Accountants to get a fresh insight into their work and avoid burnout.
Possibly most importantly, you need to get enough sleep to improve your mood, confidence and maintain cognitive skills. Poor sleep can affect attention, learning and memory, and make it more difficult to cope with minor stressors. Prioritise better sleep habits to improve your activity and maintain good mental and physical health.
Is your job making you depressed? For more in-depth advice and tips check out how can we improve mental health in accountancy practices?
Who is Spencer Clarke Group?
Since 2017, we’ve been changing the way recruitment works. From the way we conduct business, to our commitment to finding candidates the perfect job, we are driven by effecting positive change.
As we continue to evolve, our commitment to creating a positive influence resonates across every interaction. From individuals seeking a new career to enterprises aiming for unprecedented growth, we're unwavering in our resolve to shape a brighter, more fulfilling future for all.
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If you’re searching for a new role, why not visit our job page to take a look at the latest opportunities? Alternatively, upload your CV and one of our experienced consultants will contact you when a relevant opportunity becomes available.
If you’re struggling to fill a role, why don’t you give us a call on 01772 954200 to see how we can help? One of our consultants will be happy to listen to the challenges which you are facing and advise on the best possible solution for you.