How to Have a Profitable Tax Season (and a Life) in The New Year with SmartVault
Are you dreading the arrival of tax season again? Let’s be real…we are facing another year of a tax cycle that really has never ended. Given the pandemic, PPP, and all of the tax changes in recent years, it’s been a grind. This is why it’s so important to set yourself up for success–and your clients, too–otherwise your stress is only going to be compounded when those returns start rolling in.
From what I have been hearing in our profession, there are a significant number of accounting and tax professionals who are feeling burnt out. I don’t want anyone to feel like their firm is draining the life out of them. Life is too short! It can feel like time is, too, during tax season.
This is why having the right tech stack in place is so important. We’ve covered some of the ways you can use SmartVault integrated with your tax software and other apps to really shave time off every return and make your tax workflow super efficient. Making sure you accomplish these fundamental technology implementations is key, especially before tax season so you and your clients can be prepared for a new way of doing things.
If the thought of making changes is central to your feeling of being overwhelmed, then ask for help. Starting with the onboarding process. The team at SmartVault- is awesome at this. They really do make it easy! They can even help you integrate with other apps, they know accounting practices. Helping us is what they are built for and continue to build for–to create happier and more productive accounting practices one professional at a time.
If you are switching from a different document management system (DMS) then you have half the battle won, since you likely already have most of your documents in a digital format. If you are just getting into the cloud, then you’ll need some help (perhaps in the form of some college interns) to get the job done before January arrives. Set time aside each day and knock it out a couple of hours at a time.
Of course, having the right tech in place is just one piece of the puzzle to a happier and more productive tax season–you need to get your mind in the right place to motivate yourself and your team to get into return preparation mode. I am going to take a couple of pages right out of the Team Brolin Practice Playbook and share with you some of the ways that I keep myself ready to face the challenges that only tax season can bring.
1) Remember your why for doing what you do. We have to identify and remind ourselves of the things that brought us into the accounting profession in the first place.
Make a list of some things you might love about your career and your practice. Here are some of mine:
- You love a challenge
- Numbers make sense
- You are really good at it
- It’s logical
- It’s profitable
- You LOVE the people (staff and clients)
- You make a good living from it
- You have flexibility
Now, not everyone has these positive thoughts all the time, that is normal. However, please DO NOT let someone else steal you away from the profession you love.
Think this through and consider how to change your mindset by shifting how you operate. Take a minute to brainstorm on some of the reasons you may not be enjoying your work right now. Then make a solution set to address them.
What is it that is causing you to re-think your profession?
2) List some of the things you may not love:
- Clients are taking advantage of you or treating you poorly
- Your staff are taking advantage of you or treating you poorly
- You aren’t making enough money
- Work is overwhelming
- You don’t like the services you are providing anymore
- Technology demands from the clients or internally are too complicated or overwhelming to sift through
- Constant Continuing Professional Education and you don’t think you can keep up with it
- Constant changes in tax, payroll, and sales tax compliance
- You feel lost and alone in your business
- You are having trouble obtaining clients
- You can’t seem to find or keep good staff
- There is just too much work and you can’t seem to catch up
- Could there be something else that is pushing you away? Make a note.
If your list is long or painful to make, or even to pinpoint exactly what you need, then you need what I call a DMA or Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals as soon as possible. This is someone who is going to help you succeed. I have found that our profession is full of people who want to help their peers thrive. All you have to do is reach out!
To me, if you find your DMA tribe you will find there are many like-minded professionals. We are all in this together. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses. The faster you can identify your own and learn from others, I truly believe the faster you will be comfortable with making some significant changes in your practice which will in turn positively affect your professional and personal life.
3) Find time to do the things that you love –even during tax season. In 2019 I made the pivotal decision to coach the college softball team at my alma mater–Eastern Connecticut State University. Although I really didn’t “have the time” to do it, the training was right during tax season, I did it anyway because I felt like I was doing something for myself and I wanted to encourage this next generation of female players, much like others had done for me.
The team ended up going to the national championship! It was absolutely amazing and an experience that was life-changing for me, too, because it made me write my first book, The Designated Motivator followed by The Designated Motivator for Accounting Professionals. Also to note: my practice didn’t fall apart! Even during tax season. This is because I have a tech stack and workflow that supports my life. Not the other way around!
So there you have it! Some of the fundamentals for keeping your next tax season and your life on track. Despite the demands of your life and your work. Get the tools you need to succeed, starting with SmartVault, and this process will be much easier, plus you’ll be much more productive and happy in the new year!