Tax season. It’s the craziest time of year in the accounting world. While exciting, it can also be exhausting. If you’re new to a CPA firm, here are 6 ways to manage your way through your first tax season.
Almost every profession has a busy season, that time period on the calendar when an inordinate amount of work gets done — or, at least, when professionals in that particular field are in their highest demand. In the accounting world, it’s called “tax season.”
Starting as soon as the calendar flips to January and culminating on Tax Day (in 2018 it was April 17; in 2019 it will be April 15), tax season is an all-consuming three-and-a-half months for accounting professionals. It’s like drinking from a fire hydrant every single day; a marathon race that ends in a brain-frazzling sprint.
I’ve just now completed my second tax season at Market Street Partners. And while I hope that as my career continues I’ll be able to fine-tune my approach to tax season, these tips have helped me incredibly to this point.
Knock out your personal “to-do” items before tax season starts
Use the months of November and December to take care of any lingering chores, so you don’t have to worry about them when work gets intense. Change the oil in your car, deep clean your home, take your dog for its annual check-up. When busy season hits, it’s amazing how hard it is to find time for these, otherwise, simple tasks.
Take care of your body
Yes, tax season can certainly take a toll on your mental state, but it can also wear you down physically if you don’t take a proactive approach to maintaining your physical well-being. Eat healthy, energy-boosting foods, exercise regularly, and always make sure you get enough sleep. Your body will thank you, and your mental performance will also be bettered.
Set a constant personal routine
Establishing a daily or weekly routine provides much-needed rhythm and structure to the craziness of tax season. It also takes decisions off of your plate. That way, you can reserve brainspace for more pressing work-related needs. For instance, I always buy my groceries on Saturday afternoons during tax season. By doing this, I never have to carve out time to go grocery shopping because I always know I’m doing that on Saturdays.
Use lunch breaks to run errands
It truly is amazing how many things you can get done during an hour-long lunch break. Pick up your dry cleaning, head over to the bank, or even catch up really quick with a friend. Try as best you can to protect that hour in the middle of your day to get personal things done and take a few deep breaths of fresh air.
Recharge as much as possible
You have to be intentional about this. Build moments — no matter how brief — into your schedule for “me time.” That may sound silly, but you’ve got to spend time investing in yourself even during the most hectic time of year. Whether you enjoy reading a good book, cooking, going on short hikes, or playing video games, be sure to do your own thing here and there.
Rest up during the offseason
One of the saving graces of tax season is that it arrives immediately on the heels of the Holidays. Make the most of the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve to relax and visit with friends and family. Plan a vacation or just get some extra sleep. You’ll need that energy bank full going into tax season.
While there may be some other helpful tax season tidbits out there, these six tips have been a great fit for me.
Reid Northcutt is a staff accountant at Market Street Partners. You can reach him at [email protected]