Ten Quick and Easy Tips for a Better Busy Season

Happy Business woman

Happy new year!  A new year gives us new perspectives and the chance to adopt new ideas.  That’s today’s topic.


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Ten Quick and Easy Tips for a Better Busy Season


Another busy season is upon us.  Are you feeling excited, anxious, or dread?  It’s probably a mix, but hopefully there’s more excitement than any other emotion since you will be helping so many more people during busy season than any other time of the year.  Here are ten easy-to-implement ideas to help your busy time go smoother than ever.


  1. Get paid in advance.


If you have issues with clients paying your fee, change your collection policy this year, especially for clients who have not paid promptly in the past.  Most tax preparers price by fixed fee, usually by form and complexity, so it should be easy to collect the client’s money before you hit the e-file button.  If you bill hourly, it will take extra time, so weigh the pros and cons and do what’s right for you, not the client.


  1. Automate your scheduling


Cut out hundreds of emails this year by allowing clients to set and change their own appointments, limited by the time blocks you allow.  An automated scheduling system will do the trick.  Try ScheduleOnce, which is what I use, or TimeTrade, which many mid-sized firms use.  Or Google “scheduling app” to find your own.


  1. Reduce re-work


Wait until all of a client’s papers are in before reviewing and completing the return.  This won’t avoid all rework, but it will reduce it.  Use a checklist to see what’s in and what you are still waiting for, and have an admin monitor the list, send reminders, and notify you when everything is complete.


  1. Eliminate annual errands


The requirements of modern life can take away precious time and focus during busy season.  These are things like car maintenance, annual medical appointments, CPE deadlines due to birthdays, home repair tasks, and other requirements.  Move as many of these tasks that you can to before or after season so you don’t have so many interruptions.


  1. Automate your marketing


Don’t stop marketing during season; it’s the best time to get new clients.  Instead, automate as much as you can by using marketing technology.  Write your newsletters and schedule them in advance.  Write your social media posts, and schedule them using an app like HootSuite.  Update your website now.  Map out any networking meetings, and do any prep work you need to do ahead of time.


  1. Get help with domestic tasks


If you don’t already have someone during season to do personal and/or business errands such as grocery shopping, prescription pickups, dry cleaning runs, post office duties, bank errands, and all the little chores that won’t wait, then get someone.  Also make sure you outsource housekeeping, lawn care, pool care, snow shoveling, and any other jobs that you shouldn’t be doing during season.


  1. Update your technology


Avoid technology problems and changes during season by scheduling updates before and after your busy time.  Buy new equipment well before or after busy time.


  1. Get busy earlier


Offer your clients an incentive or discount to get their documents in as early as possible.  You will be surprised what people will do for five percent off.


  1. Batch your work


Interruptions are your enemies, not just during tax season, but all year long.  Learn to create blocks of time to knock out groups of like tasks back to back to reduce restart time and task switching time.  Back-to-back your appointments two to three days a week and leave your other days clear for uninterrupted client work.  Check your email only once or twice a day.   Schedule all phone calls, if possible, and don’t answer if you’re in the middle of client work.  Train staff to visit you once a day, not every five minutes, to ask their questions.


  1. Systematize client onboarding


Hopefully, you’ll have a slew of new clients to bring on.  Make sure your onboarding process is systematized for you and for them so that you can get them started as smoothly as possible.  Create a welcome kit that tells them about your process and what to expect so that you’re not having to repeat the conversation over and over again.


Use these ten easy tips as a checklist to see what you can do to make your busy season more efficient and more profitable than ever.


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Accountant’s Accelerator 2017 Sneak Peek


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