Most jobs have busy times of year, and for accountants, it’s undoubtedly tax season. Beginning on January 1, people across the country start preparing the previous year’s financial statements and reports in an effort to meet the tax return deadline of April 15. This means that accountants across the country spend these three months meeting with clients, answering questions, preparing tax returns and dealing with any problems that arise along the way.
For accountants, this is most certainly a stressful time of year, but with a few tips, you can crush tax season:
1. Take care of yourself
When your stress levels are high, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. This means making it a priority to schedule enough time for about seven hours of sleep each night and at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. It also means eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding the temptation to grab fast food or high-fat snacks on the go. While it might not seem like you have time for these things, taking care of yourself is one of the best ways to ensure you’re healthy and focused throughout tax season.
2. Stay calm (and adaptable)
This is often one of the most difficult pieces of advice to follow, but it’s often the most important. During tax season especially, it’s important that you remain adaptable and avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. Mistakes happen. Priorities change. New challenges emerge. It’s all part of the process. Whenever possible, try to stay positive and flexible. Go with the flow!
3. Take breaks
When you feel overwhelmed with work, it can be hard to tear yourself away from your computer to take a break, but sometimes it’s necessary. If you’re feeling tired or burnt out, don’t be afraid to go for a walk, chat with a coworker or read a good book. While it might seem counterproductive, taking a break will help you return to your desk with a clearer, calmer mind.
4. Stay organized
This might seem obvious, but when you have a lot to get done and a strict deadline to meet, it’s incredibly important to stay organized and manage your time wisely. Create a list of everything you need to accomplish each week, and see if you can break each task down into smaller tasks. Once you prioritize each of these small tasks, you can set reasonable deadlines and delegate projects if necessary. Whatever your organizational strategy, make sure you have a clear outline of everything you need to do (and when you need to do it by).
5. Set expectations with family and friends
It can be hard enough to focus during this crunch time without your mom asking why you haven’t called her in a week or your best friend wondering if you can grab dinner. During this busy time of year, it’s important to remind your friends and family that you need time to focus. Of course, this is not to say that you need to abandon your entire social life during tax season. You should definitely go out and relax when you can. However, to eliminate distractions for yourself, it’s important to give your loved ones a quick reminder that you might not be as responsive or available as you usually are.
Ready to take on the challenges of tax season? You can become an accountant with an online Master of Professional Accountancy program, which will help you meet South Dakota’s 150-hour requirement to sit for the Certified Public Accountants (CPA) exam.