Now that you can take a breath… What to do when tax season is over

Tax season is a grind. Even the most well-oiled firms feel the stress of the season.  For firms that aren’t as efficient it can be tempting to want to repress the memory and lay low for a while.  But…this is actually the perfect opportunity to make strides toward operational efficiency.  

What you do coming out of tax season will make or break your growth for the year.

The Action Plan

There are 7 critical actions that should be prioritized and executed by the firm’s leader (the person in the JULIE™  role) immediately following tax season. These 7 actions help prepare your firm for growth in the coming year.

1. Host a Tax Season Debrief Meeting

Get the whole team together for a debrief meeting right after tax season. Discuss what went well and what didn’t. Analyze how many returns you completed on time versus last year. Understand why you were successful or fell short. Get a count of remaining extensions that need to be filed and map out the daily workload to hit that goal. Having a clear map and hard numbers can help your team understand the big picture.

Are there new SOPs or processes that need to be created? Assign team members to take ownership of these things. Make sure they are organized and easy to access for all team members.

2. Evaluate Your Resources

Do you need to hire more staff? What new software or tech could help your team work more efficiently? Having the right resources in place will grease the wheels for growth. The debrief meeting should spark these critical resource discussions. If your firm barely made it through last tax season with your current resources, how will they do any better next year?

3. Plan for Growth  

Talk growth strategy while the tax season workload is still fresh. What is your capacity with incoming extension work? Should you add headcount or consider outsourcing bookkeeping, tax prep, or other services? Map out a plan to expand your firm’s revenue engine. Planning for the future is only possible when you have an understanding of your current reality.

4. Set Meeting Cadences

Schedule recurring weekly team meetings and quarterly planning sessions through Q3. Having these on the calendar keeps everyone aligned and the growth train chugging. 

5. Complete Annual Reviews  

June and July are prime times to complete employee reviews. Before extension “season” kicks in, get these booked. Letting review cycles slip can destroy morale and hamper your ability to retain top talent.

6. Systematize Quarterly Estimates

Don’t let critical quarterly estimate communications and calculations fall through the cracks after tax season fatigue sets in. Build a process to:

• Calculate any estimate changes for clients

• Identify clients requiring personal convos around major income shifts 

• Automate reminder emails to clients with minor changes

Staying on top of quarterly estimates elevates client experience and cash flow.

7. Conduct Bi-Monthly Client Pulse Checks

Have the accountant in charge of each client draft thorough client health reports. Schedule short meetings every two months to review key client details like:

• Profitability swings

• Tax planning status

• Payroll and 401k on track?

• Opportunities to add value

These quick check-ins keep clients happy and probe for new revenue opportunities.

The Bottom Line  

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” – Deepak Chopra

What you do coming out of tax season impacts everything – client experience, growth, profitability, talent retention, and more. This is the perfect time to reset, re-energize, and refocus the whole team. Your firm is a business – now is the perfect time to step back and focus ON it versus working IN it.

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