After dealing with many surprises over the years, I’ve learned to make time for the unexpected. In every busy season, you will see something different thrown at you and this season was no different.
Late arrival of forms and delayed filing. Despite the delays caused by Congress and the IRS, clients still have to make decisions as they manage their businesses. They have to make choices about acquiring or selling a business or hiring or firing. As our clients’ CPA and Trusted Business Advisor, we also can’t afford to wait to deliver needed advice. That’s why you have to leave room in your schedule so that you can be agile and respond to the unexpected.
Clients who won’t behave. Not all business is good business for you and your practice. While it’s tempting to sign up the prospective client right in front of you, this type of reactive approach can backfire as a bad client will be a future problem. Set your deadlines, stick to them and don’t compromise your standards for client acceptance! The PCPS Client Evaluation Tool can help you rank and determine your best and worst clients. In addition, use the Client Disengagement Letter to properly terminate a client relationship.
When you’re being pummeled with curveballs during an unpredictable season, I recommend:
- Don’t worry. Worrying about what you haven’t done weakens your focus and causes additional anxiety. Focus on those items that can be completed now despite delays. Keep notes so that you can consider changes for next year.
- Think positive thoughts. Fill your desk with pictures of your family or your favorite vacation spot to remind you why you’re working so hard.
- Find reasons to celebrate. Regularly review your accomplishments and pat yourself and your coworkers on the back. Make a to-do list and enjoy the satisfaction of checking off items. I also recommend leaving space in your schedule for yourself. I pre-schedule manicures and massages throughout the season.
- Step away. If all else fails, step away from the desk! Take a short walk in the sunlight, relax with a book or share some downtime with your colleagues. A daily power nap can be just what you need to get through the long day. You won’t miss your deadlines if you take a few minutes for yourself and it will recharge your batteries and improve your productivity.
Bea Nahon, CPA, is the sole owner of Bea L. Nahon, CPA, P.S., a three-person firm in Kirkland, Washington.