6 Tips for Managing Heavy Workloads and Preventing Burnout During Tax Season

6 Tips for Managing Heavy Workloads and Preventing Burnout During Tax Season

Published: February 27, 2024
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There’s no doubt that tax season is one of the most stressful times for accountants.
This is why it should come as no surprise that overwork is the main contributor to burnout. Accountants have the rest of the year to recover, right?

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) lists burnout as the number-one reason accountants leave their positions. Preventing burnout during periods of heavy workloads is crucial for you and your team. Here are six tips to implement this tax season.

Tip #1: Set Boundaries

Additional stress during tax season is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean your workload needs to control your life. Yes, you will be working longer hours. There’s no workaround for that. However, setting boundaries can be a great way to manage your workload.

Boundaries will look different for each person. Maybe you decide to shut off your computer by 8 pm each night or always take Sunday afternoon off. Whatever the case, set a few boundaries to protect your sanity and prevent burnout.

Tip #2: Automate Everything

Automation is key for handling an uptick in work. You shouldn’t be manually onboarding clients or sending documents to clients for a physical signature. Instead, you should optimize your workflow with software programs, like SmartVault, a document management and client portal platform.

By automating tasks, you not only free up time in your busy schedule but also improve productivity and efficiency. Reducing the administrative tasks also allows you to focus on higher value-added items, like preparing returns.

When it comes to automation, find ways to improve your home life as well, at least during tax season. Can you use a grocery delivery service to save you the hour trip to the grocery store? How about using meal prepping kits to make cooking a breeze? Finding ways to automate your work and home life can make all the difference when managing a heavy workload.

Tip #3: Avoid Operational Silos

Communication is crucial during tax season. What is the status of a return? Has the client submitted their documents? Who is working on what? Operational silos can kill your productivity during tax season and increase your risk of burnout.

When your team has fluid communication and streamlined processes, your workload is better managed all the way up to Tax Day. Prioritizing communication relies on having the right software programs.

Let’s consider a DMS and client portal: With the right one, you can make document collection, organization, tracking, and management simple across your business and clients. Documents are saved consistently, so instead of having to track down where a coworker saved a document, you’ll know exactly where to go in the DMS to find it yourself. And with the client portal, your clients can quickly share, view, eSign, and download as needed – all on the cloud, from wherever they’re located. This streamlines your document workflows, enables teams and client to self-serve, and ultimately, keeps projects on track.

Tip #4: Get Outside

An overlooked tip to managing tax season and preventing burnout is to get outside. Studies have proven that Vitamin D produced from sun exposure boosts serotonin in your brain, leading to more energy and calmness. Not to mention that sun exposure helps you stay healthy all tax season.

Even if you live in frigid conditions, spending five minutes outside can make all the difference. Park your car further away or schedule a 10-minute walk during one of your breaks. Taking a small portion out of your day to get outside can have a positive impact on your stress levels.

Tip #5: Know Your Clients

Another top tip to implement this upcoming tax season is to know your clients. Client relationships are crucial to a thriving accounting firm. Know which clients expect a quick turnaround time and which ones are fine with waiting until a week before the deadline. This can help you prioritize your workflow.

In addition, clients need to be able to easily communicate with you regarding their returns. If you’re like most accounting professionals, your email fills up with dozens of messages each day. Moving front-facing client communication to a portal allows you to easily track client requests and effectively manage your relationships.

Tip #6: Use a Comprehensive Document Management System

Last but certainly not least, use a comprehensive document management system. We’ve already talked about the benefits of automation and getting to know your clients. A document management system combines these two components, leaving you less stressed and ready to tackle tax season.

Your document management system should be able to easily onboard new clients, facilitate the movement of documents between your team and clients, organize client data, and have security features to protect sensitive information. Over 3 million people use SmartVault’s DMS and client portal platform to do all that and more.

Are you ready to prevent burnout and manage your heavy workload this tax season?

Reach out to our team at SmartVault today to schedule a demo. We want to help you make this tax season the best yet!