Stop! It’s standard practice to rush around like maniacs during busy season, but my staff and I found that stepping back regularly and taking stock of where we stood was a life saver. And due to the many extensions that no doubt were filed this year, busy season is going to linger for many of us, which means CPAs can continue to put this advice to work.
Usually, CPAs spend time after busy season reviewing what worked and what didn’t. That’s a good idea, but once I reach the end, I typically don’t want to think about that season again. This year, because of IRS delays and software glitches, we were forced to regularly examine our processes as we went along to ensure that we were working at peak efficiency and adequately responding to new and unexpected challenges. I actually found that this ongoing review was very helpful because it made it possible to make numerous immediate improvements that kept us on track. Because of the fast and furious changes this season, we also started having daily 10-minute meetings instead of weekly ones. Spending time sharing information and updates every day ensured that we were current on new developments and cut down on duplication of effort. By considering different approaches to how you work and how you share information, you can remain more productive and better able to respond to new challenges.
So, what are my plans for the remainder of the year and next busy season?
- Stay flexible. You can be sure the IRS or other outside factors will come up with some new hilarity to inject into our chaotic seasons.
- Remember our strengths. Because we have only a few staff members, we can easily change our processes and deal with issues as they’re thrown our way. We’re going to continue to make the most of our flexibility!
- Be positive. Busy season may seem like the perfect time to tap into your inner grouch, but the work will get done more quickly and efficiently if you treat each other with kindness.
DeAnn Auman Hill, CPA, PFS, CGMA, is a sole practitioner in a three-person firm in Baxter Springs, Kansas.