Avoid tax season burnoutDo you tolerate poor behavior?

Do you avoid tension by saying yes when you’d rather say no? Although you’re already busy, you adjust your workload to squeeze in a last minute request. As you add more to your plate, and spread yourself too thin, you experience burnout, resentment and cynical thoughts. It’s not sustainable, especially during tax season.

Consider the client who calls you in a panic to prepare her last-minute tax return and then delivers a bag full of paper receipts. Do you agree to squeeze in an extra tax return at your regular rate? Or, do you file an extension?

There’s always a select few clients who procrastinate. Eventually, they reach out in a panic. Since you’re client-centered, you fit them in.

Without meaning to, you reward them for poor behavior. Accepting their last minute requests without penalties let’s them know it’s okay to ignore your messages regarding deadlines.

You deserve clients who respect your time and your services. But first, you need to connect with your value before you can expect others to value your services.

Take charge of tax season

Imagine setting guidelines regarding tax season. You work manageable hours. And, you no longer stretch your days for last minute requests. Prior to tax season, you decide to avoid tax season burnout. This means not accepting more work than you can handle. You may feel sorry for clients with last minute rush jobs, but you don’t need to rescue them.

You’re habitual last minute clients will challenge your new boundaries. Because of that, you’ll need to say no and stick to your guns. Like anything, setting boundaries improves with practice.

Don't tolerate clients who fail to respect your boundaries. Instead, cut them loose. Read full post. #getpaidwhatyoureworth Click To Tweet

Keep a list of the clients who habitually miss deadlines or ignore your communications. For those clients who fail to respect your boundaries, cut them loose. This opens room for new clients who value and respect you.

Avoid confusionSay what you mean

By the way, you may unknowingly give mixed messages. What do I mean? Ask yourself if what you say and what you do differ? If so, then your actions ultimately reveal the truth.

When your words align with your actions, then clients will respect your boundaries.

I was talking with Jeff, an enrolled agent, about this earlier today. A new prospect with an urgent tax filing deadline called him. Preparing this person’s tax return required Jeff to adjust his already busy calendar. So, Jeff quoted a premium fee for the rush project.

This prospect wanted to negotiate the fee. Well, this person shopped the price and finally found another tax preparer who would do the return for half the price.

Jeff stood by his rates without feeling he needed to justify them.

He shared this “aha” with me. Caving into this new client’s demands to lower his rates would mean Jeff’s prices are negotiable. As a result, this client would continue to request reduced fees. Jeff’s no longer interested in price-sensitive clients who don’t value his services.

High value clients will pay a premium for fast turnaround times and guarantees. Consider how FedEx and Amazon Prime charge for express delivery. Instead of giving it away for free, Jeff now knows how to factor short deadlines into his proposals.

As Jeff stated, sticking with your decision teaches your clients how to work with you. He’s in charge of his tax practice instead of his practice being in charge of him.

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Practice your new boundaries

Give yourself some slack as you set new boundaries. When you cave in to pressure or loosen up a boundary, don’t beat yourself up. This doesn’t mean it’s time to give up in defeat. Instead of quitting, gain insight from the experience. Setting boundaries in your accounting firm, especially around tax season, is a process. Similar to any new activity, you improve with practice.

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Setting new guidelines deserves a pat on the back. You may even experience guilt as you turn a last minute request away. It is absolutely okay for you to set limits – without guilt. Self care, particularly during tax season, has a hidden benefit. It reduces stress and overwhelm.

Facing difficult decisions

When you face a difficult decision, follow the 10-10-10 method by author, Suzy Welch.  Ask yourself three questions:

  1. What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes?
  2. In 10 months?
  3. And in 10 years?

Consider future impactThis offers perspective about the long-term implications. Decisions which seem critical at the moment may have little impact in 10 months or 10 years. With this insight, it’s like looking through your camera’s viewfinder with a wide angle lens instead of a zoom lens.

Avoid tax season burnout

If you’re tired of putting your self-care on a backburner, change is possible. The traditional tax season with extended work weeks and long days takes a toll. It eventually leads to burnout.

As a firm owner, you don’t need to follow the tax season protocol and grind it out. It’s simply a matter of choice and considering alternative possibilities.

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Diane, a CPA, loves to golf. Well, the typical long weeks and 16 hour days during tax season kept her off the golf course. So, last year we created a plan to decrease her workload without lowering her tax season revenues.

As you know, 2020 was a never-ending tax season. However, she began taking Fridays and weekends off. Although the majority of clients were in California, all of her clients taxes were filed by Oct 15.

avoid tax season burnoutOur work together focused on Diane eliminating tax season burnout. She simply didn’t know how to make that happen. Her plans for this tax season includes Fridays on the golf course and weekends off.

Tax season boundaries

Don’t immediately say yes when asked to do something. You make better decisions when you’re not under pressure. Even self-imposed pressure may cause you to agree when you’d rather decline.

Saying no means you’re saying yes to you. Simply because tax season traditionally requires sacrifice doesn’t mean it needs to continue like that.

Imagine your ideal tax season. What would you do differently?

Follow these recommendations to avoid tax season burnout. Discover how to increase your revenues without sacrificing your personal time. Right NOW claim your FREE RESOURCE to earn more while lightening your workload.