Tax season is about to ramp up! However, your tax staff might be starting to dread what the next three or four months look like. No matter how much they like preparing taxes, they are probably not looking forward to the long hours, increased workload and the lack of time for themselves. What if you took the time to evaluate what the season looks like in your firm and for your staff? Here are three ways to keep your staff happy and have a better tax season.
#1: Respect Your Staff
For most firms, it’s easy to make tax season a time for business development. Tax season is generally when businesses and individuals get serious about their tax situations, reaching out to firms to handle their tax and accounting matters. This year, in particular, some companies may be looking to make a change if they did not have a good experience with their prior firm due to the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
It can be really easy to sign up new clients without thinking about your staff, but by this point, you’re not likely hiring additional staff, so the new clients you bring on will just mean a larger workload. In order to provide an excellent customer experience, be selective on what new ones you bring on and the capacity of your staff.
Increasing the workload without increasing capacity will only cause burnout and staff turnover, while also decreasing the customer experience. Try pruning your client list to accommodate the new clients, and make sure you are staffed appropriately for the season. Doing so will show your staff you care about them and their capacity.
#2: Treat Yourself
Tax season is full of stress. It’s easy to get in the habit of cranking out work to the detriment of you and your team. However, we need to remember we are humans and not machines! We need to take care of ourselves, especially during this stressful time. In order to keep staff happy, provide some self care. Have a yoga instructor come into the office or treat your team to a spa day. Doing little things like this gives your staff the opportunity to take care of themselves – and ultimately better serve your clients.
#3: Give Them Time Back
While we all may be used to working crazy hours during tax season, there is no rule given by the IRS that requires it. There is nothing that says you have to work seven days a week or 14-hour days to get all of the work done. But, we operate in this framework because it’s what we are used to or what we think needs to happen to get all of the work done.
We can decide that this is not how we want tax season to go. Instead, for example, price your services to need less clients and get the revenue you need. Hire more people in order to be staffed correctly to do the necessary work in a reasonable amount of time. At our firm, we decided to double the number of tax staff for tax season, while only adding on a few new clients.
You’re in Control
Keeping your staff happy during tax season is really up to you. By respecting their capacity, investing in their health and giving them time back, you’ll keep everyone happier and retain them for the long term. It also shows you care more about them versus squeezing out more dollars. When your staff is treated well, they will serve your clients better!
Editor’s note: These tips complement Josh’s article on how to invigorate your staff for tax season.