8 Accountant's Secrets to Recovering From Tax Season

Congratulations! You’ve survived another tax season. Each year, the January through April timeframe is, without a doubt, the busiest time for many tax accountants, but once it’s over, what’s your secret sauce for recovery? Do you reflect on the season, spend a few days away from the office or stay buried in work?

This year was especially busy with the late legislation, so we asked members of our Intuit® Accountant and Advisor Customer Council, a small group of Intuit customers who meet with us twice a year, for their secrets to recovering from tax season. To learn more about the Council and apply, click here. Here’s what they had to share with you, on how they rejuvenate after busy season:

Trent Doman of Trent Doman, CPA, P.C., says this was the “craziest season for him yet:”

I’m anxiously waiting to read the results as I barely escaped by the hair on my chinny-chin-chin. I had to extend more long-time clients due to unusual circumstances, as well as a bunch of new clients needing professional assistance for the first time. I’m still half asleep right now trying to recover. I wouldn’t even feel safe taking off and driving somewhere; my brain is complete mush!

Teresa Mueller, Mueller & Associates, CPA, divides her time between professional and personal pursuits by:

  1. Closing the office the day after the 15th as well as the 1st Friday.
  2. Renewing her gym membership and getting serious about fitness.
  3. Jumping on all amended tax returns and loss carryback claims where she says there is “money on the table.”
  4. Sending out reminders about missing data to all extended clients. “I put the ball back in their court!”
  5. Scheduling coffees with referral sources: “I get face-to-face with them and break up my morning rut.”
  6. Starting to plan a vacation in May for when she finishes up the April quarterlies.

Francine Morrow of Riser, McLaurin & Gibbons, LLP, describes life during and after tax season:

Tax season:

  • You know what’s coming.
  • Plan.
  • Schedule.
  • Adjust your life accordingly to accommodate.
  • Breakdown and buy a vowel if you have to.
  • If I want flowers in May, I must choose to find time to plant them in March.
  • Remember the law of diminishing returns.
  • You are not from Krypton or Themyscira.
  • People will not wait until after tax season to get sick, have a birthday, get married or die.
  • You cannot amend a missed opportunity.
  • Never forget you work so you can live better, not the other way around.

After tax season:

  • What was done to accommodate the season does not have to become a habit.
  • We walk the dogs in the light instead of in the dark.
  • The family eats more home cooked meals instead of restaurant takeout.
  • My Easter decorations can be put away.

Ron Wolfe believes in a day of mostly rest and relaxation:

The day after “Tax Day” I always thought of, and considered it to be, an accountant-tax preparer holiday, so I do nothing. I veg, do some little projects that don’t require hard work and thought, stay quiet, do nothing noisy, and answer emails – nothing spectacular. Back when bonuses were given, I used to spend the day in Atlantic City playing blackjack. All in all, the best thing to do is just walk away from the office and do nothing. Reenergize your brain and give it a rest!

Anita Robinson, Synergy Tax & Accounting Inc., told us she was leaving for Europe on the Saturday after April 15. “I’m going to a concert in Amsterdam, then off to Zürich and Germany after that. All phones are forwarded to voicemail and I’ve set up an email auto responder. Yeah!!! I’m outta here!!!

Jan Haugo of Jan Haugo & Associates looks for what she calls “mental relief:”

To decompress after tax season, I try to take one day off and stay away from the computer. I ask the people that work with me to do the same thing. Then, I do a mental “house cleaning” by organizing the tasks that I have been wanting to get done but have been putting off.

In my mind, it makes me feel better to get this done. Then I organize my to-do list on paper and start to compile a list of tasks that are to be completed for business and personal in the next few months. I feel like I have accomplished something that has been weighing me down.

This gives me a mental relief and makes me feel better. I can start refreshed the next day and go to work with a purpose.

Darrell Layman, CPA, leaves town for the Lake of the Ozarks and then gets back to work:

I typically prefer to take 3 to 5 days off and unwind somewhere fairly close to home after April 15. Two of my favorites are a condo stay at Lake of the Ozarks Missouri or a log cabin stay at Branson. Nothing is planned except to get plenty of rest and sleep, and catch up on a book or two that have been sitting in my den for quite some time.

The main focus is to get that right mental clarity and focus needed to plan another season. I then go back to work to clean up all of the extensions and have staff meetings before April 30 to address work flow and any problem client issues. Everyone has input regarding which problem clients we might need to terminate before the next tax season. Every year we constantly tweak our work flow and procedures to be as productive as possible. This is an ongoing process, and while it is never complete, it gets better and better each year. After that is finished, my wife and I can plan a longer trip away to Destin.

“Pampering” is top of mind for Stephanie McGuire of McGuire & Associates:

Our boss takes us out for manicures and pedicures on April 16. It’s a great way to relax and pampered after many stressful weeks. One of my favorite parts is the fact that the ladies at the salon know us and know about our tradition. We also get the whole day off, which for many of us is the first full day off in over a month! My other favorite tradition is we switch to a 4-day week and 3-day weekends after April 15.

Ali Maloy of Maloy Accounting also likes go get pampered:

After busy season is over, I work hard to get caught up so that I’m working “ahead” of deadlines on my To Do list. I do take the time to get a really great pedicure. Also, the end of busy season coincides with the arrival of spring, so I start spending a lot of time outside with gardening, running, taking the boys for walks and other outdoor activities.

What’s your secret sauce? We’d like to know! Leave a comment below and tell us!