Every winter brings a rite of passage for accountants: tax season. This year, according to the IRS, January 27th marks the official beginning of tax filing season.
While tax season is all about getting tax returns done, it has a great byproduct: It gives every accountant the opportunity to interact with her clients and show that she is a “hero accountant”.
No matter how an accountant defines being a hero—providing tax-savings ideas, facilitating a timely tax return, or providing concierge-like service—accountants can only provide do this if they first take care of themselves.
So, to be a hero this tax season, let’s talk about three ways you can take care of yourself with the result being providing the best service possible to your clients.
You can only be a hero to your clients if you take care of yourself, first.
1. Make Sure To Exercise
Studies show exercising makes you more mentally alert, improves your judgment, gives you more energy, helps you sleep better, helps manage stress and alleviate anxiety, and even makes you happier.
No doubt accountants are working 60 hours a week, but here are a few tips to find time to exercise.
- At lunch, walk around your office building, your building parking lot, or a nearby mall.
- Lift that 40-pound box of paper and help load the copy machine (who needs dumbbells).
- Even shoveling snow can be great activity! (just watch your back)
- Pick one day during the week when you’ll exercise for an hour before or after work; go to the gym one day on the weekend; or exercise in your basement for an hour.
2. Write Thank You Notes To Each Client
Expressing gratitude every day is one of the most important things we can do. In the age of e-mail and texting, a handwritten note will definitely make you stand out from the crowd.
And writing a thank-you note has been shown to increase one’s own happiness by releasing endorphins (the happiness chemical).
Here are a few tips to make this process easier:
- Every Sunday, write out standard templated thank-you notes to all clients whose tax returns you anticipate sending out that week.
- Next, address each envelope (don’t use computer-generated labels) and then, stuff and stamp each envelope.
- Then, send out the Thank You Note 2-3 days after you’ve sent the tax return. If you need help with this, maybe you can enlist your administrative assistant or even a high school student to help.
3. Watch Your Diet
One of the biggest casualties of tax season is your diet. Accounting firms have chips, candy, pop, and other junk food in the kitchen to keep everyone happy.
These may be great quick and easy snacks, but they’re terrible for your mind and body. It will invariably result in a sugar crash, a wandering mind, an inability to concentrate, and unfortunately, maybe even adding some unhealthy weight.
Consider these options instead:
- Eat five small meals a day instead of three large meals a day.
- Pack snacks to munch on throughout the day, including carrots, cucumbers, or pea pods with some hummus (and avoid the ranch dip).
- Keep a water bottle on your desk and stay hydrated throughout the day. Hydration helps carry blood, minerals, and nutrients through your system more efficiently.
- If you’re working late, make sure you have protein (a piece of chicken, fish, tofu) and some healthy fats, for instance, avocado. The healthy fats actually slow down the digestion of the protein and make you stay full longer, so you won’t have the urge for snacks at 8:00 at night.
By taking care of yourself first, there’s no doubt you’ll be able to provide more wisdom to your clients, be able to help your co-workers more effectively, have more energy, and, most importantly, feel better about yourself during this hectic time of year.
Take care of yourself, be a hero to your clients, and have a great tax season.
What strategies do you rely on each tax season to make sure you’re at the top of your game?