All businesses are required to file taxes for which they either hire tax preparation companies or have an in-house team of tax professionals. Others outsource tax preparation services temporarily, for instance, quarterly, half-yearly, or annually. All in all, a majority of tax professionals remain busy during the hectic and stressful tax season.
Auditors usually exceed working hours to more than 70 hours a week for months. 30 % of CPAs work 70-hour weeks while 90% of them work 50-hour weeks during the busy season.
The continual workload and overtime spent often leads to work/life imbalance that can increase stress. According to AICPA, almost 98% of CPAs report stress of some level, about 47% are usually stressed, and 11% indicate them being at a ‘crisis point.’
Therefore, professionals performing jobs related to tax return preparation need some relaxing time once the busy season ends. Let’s hear it from industry experts on what things tax professionals actually do in order to recharge after busy tax season.
1. Go on a Vacation
I notice that a lot of my team tends to take a vacation after the tax season in order to combat burnout. Personally, I also try to plan an annual vacation every year to recharge after busy tax season, as it’s a stressful time and a vacation is very needed. That doesn’t mean I travel to some exotic location; rather, I simply try to take some time off work and do things that I enjoy and help me relax.
2. Three Things I Do
1. Take time off – After April 15th, normally within 30 days of the deadline, I have a vacation planned. Usually outside of my usual area that generally requires an airplane to get there.
2. Catch up on around the house projects. You know, the “honey-do” list.
3. Surprisingly, sometimes, catching up on continuing education, cleaning up my desk, or work on some marketing tasks like writing a book, special report or work on goals for the next year.
– Dan Henn, CPA | Rockledge
3. To Recharge After Busy Tax Season Usually Takes Various Forms for Accountants
I had a former boss who absolutely lived for sailing during the summer. He would spend lots of time on his sailboat going about the Great Lakes, visiting different areas. Even during tax season, when he was meeting with clients, he would always regale them with stories of his sailing and about his plans for the coming year with sailing.
I had another co-worker who owned a 1955 Ford that he was always modifying and restoring. Progress was always slow on the vehicle as he did the work himself, but he did not mind, as he had the car for years. He would use his time to recharge after busy tax season to work on it and to think about different things he could do with it.
For me personally, recharging takes two forms: Biking and Traveling
I live up in Wisconsin, and due to the winters and tax season, I am cooped up inside all the time, and so afterward, when tax season is over and the weather becomes better, I go biking a lot. It really is a great way to get back in shape after neglecting exercise, a way I can spend time outdoors and just be able to relax and be by myself.
As well, I usually try to take a trip each summer. For me, I usually like to do something adventurous, so I’ve gone to places like Montana or Israel. After getting into such a daily routine of working at the office all the time, it is important for me to smash the routine and getaway on an adventure for a while.
– Sam Otto, CPA | Uncle Sam’s Accounting LLC
4. Planning Some Time Away from The Office
Our tax and accounting attorneys at the firm always like to plan a staff lunch party as soon as tax season has ended, but with COVID-19 this year, that option is no longer available. We recommend that our staff schedule a personal retreat or a mini-vacation if possible.
Even if some of our staff cannot afford to take off time, planning some time away from the office is always a good boost to morale. We also like to make sure that we circle back to our clients and get feedback on the job we did preparing tax returns. There is never really much opportunity to recharge very much even after tax season ends, as there are always new business matters needing attention.
– David Reischer, Esq. , Business Attorney | LegalAdvice.com
5. Gain Momentum During This Window of Time
You would think that after a busy tax season, professionals would take this time to relax and unwind, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Tax professionals actually use this window of time to gain momentum in order to get a nice handle on next year’s business.
One example of a thing they do after tax season is managing and outsourcing a few tedious tasks, such as accounting services, bookkeeping, and preparing payroll. By outsourcing these tasks, they are freeing up important time and services, which can then be used to focus on more important matters.
6. Learn New Things
For someone that charges reasonable fees, such as myself, and has good knowledge, tax season doesn’t end as most corporations don’t have to file by April 30th, but instead six months after their fiscal year-end. Tax planning is also a year-round thing—people seeking advice and calling. To recharge myself, it may seem a bit nerdy, but I try to keep watch on the federal budgets for things that I should be aware of.
With the pandemic, it’s been a lot of things to learn, and even the government, when you call into the helpline, doesn’t have all the answers. So I like to talk shop with other professionals in the business to get their take on things and think things through.
– Jeanette Chong | Canadian Bookkeeping Services
7. A Strong And Focused Tax Season Team Means Work Hard, Play Hard!
Time off after long hard work stretches, particularly from February 1 to April 15, then September 1 to October 15, is an integral part of any good firm practice environment. Otherwise, staff, even young staff, develop burnout, which can often lead them to leave the profession entirely. Of course, the challenge we have been facing, as are all CPA firms, is that without travel due to COVID, staff requests for PTO have been way down, so the challenge is to convince them that spending time with family at home is a viable and important cause.
COVID has certainly made it much tougher for staff to recharge, unwind, travel, and take their minds off of work, but it is important to insist that staff take time off, otherwise it begins to affect their attitude and morale, and that can lead to a horrible work environment in general!
– Mark J. Strohl, CPA | Protax Consulting
8. Even The Mundane Chores at Home Are Refreshing
The tax season runs from late January until April 30th. During those months, the busyness gradually builds, and by the end of April, we are all working long days; six, maybe seven days a week. On May 1st, I like to spend the day getting my administrative tasks in order and finishing up anything that had to be put off. But after that, it is time to reconnect with my family.
Even the mundane chores at home are refreshing. It’s also a great time of year -the days are longer, the weather is warming up, and the promise of summer is about to happen.
As a family, we spend a lot of time camping. And all of those long hours in the dark, cold days of winter melt away as I take 3 or 4-day weekends each week to camp, hike, swim, catch frogs and sit by a campfire with my family. This time is so refreshing and recharging.
9. Career Advancement
Once tax season is over, you would have more time on your hands to focus on your professional development, which is necessary for your career growth. Review your performance in the past tax season and identify areas where you struggled and need improvement. Set goals for yourself to enhance your performance. Start studying for the CPA exam or another certification that you have been putting off for a long time.
– Justin Nabity’s Founder and CEO | Physician’s Thrive
Tax prepares’ job is challenging and full of hectic processes, which is why they deserve a little well-planned break to relieve some stress once the busy tax season is gone. Taking some time for yourself to relax (before another hectic year starts) can be an excellent way to recharge.
However, like other business owners, if you really want to become successful in your profession or your tax preparation business, you may also consider maintaining momentum from tax the previous tax season to keep it smooth in the next year. This will help both you and your clients; you will have less workload, and your clients will enjoy streamlined accounting and tax files.
Tax preparation is actually a year-round job; if you often remain busy handling tax files, statements of yours or your clients, you may consider getting help from Cogneesol – a leading brand offering reliable tax preparation services to businesses, CPAs, CPA firms, and tax preparation companies across the globe.
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