Fall tax prep doesn't have to be stressful. Explore tips and strategies for a successful tax season and keep your team energized and motivated.

For accounting firms who applied for tax extensions for their clients this year, October 16 is a day of reckoning — the final deadline for filing those taxes. With no time to pivot strategies or implement new systems, your focus should now be tactical, zeroing in on team and client management. Here are some tips for keeping your stress levels low and your performance high over the next few weeks.

1. stick to what you know

With the clock ticking down, now’s not the time to overhaul your workflow. The effort required to integrate new software into your existing systems could create more chaos than it's worth. Instead, rely on familiar procedures to help your team operate at their best.

2. manage client expectations and scope creep effectively

As you approach the tax deadline, it’s essential to keep client expectations in check to avoid overstretching your team. Scope creep can sneak up on you, so here’s how to keep things on track without straining client relationships.

check the fine print

If a last-minute client request seems to fall in a “gray area,” review your contract. This will help you make a more informed decision about whether to proceed with the additional work or decline politely.

be prepared to say no

When a client asks for additional work that falls outside the agreed-upon scope, be upfront but courteous and tactful. Let them know it’s beyond the scope of what was initially agreed upon.

offer alternatives

If you can’t accommodate a client’s request right now, suggest tackling it after the fall tax deadline has passed. That way, you’re not closing the door on new work, just scheduling it for a more manageable time.

3. handle your team with care

Tax season doesn’t have to be synonymous with stress. Here’s how you can keep your team feeling upbeat and energized:

emphasize productivity over hours logged

Encourage balanced work hours and make sure employees are getting enough rest. Stay alert for higher-than-average error rates — a canary in the coal mine for chronic stress and burnout. 

lead by example

Model the work behaviors you recommend and maintain a positive tone. Transform errors into learning opportunities.

celebrate wins together

Acknowledge successes and link everyday tasks to the broader success story of the organization.

provide thoughtful gestures

Consider offering dinner during late nights, gift cards or extra time off after deadline day. Small gestures can make employees feel valued and understood.

4. rethink work arrangements while the pressure is on

Hybrid work arrangements are the new normal for many accounting firms, but let’s face it — the run-up to a tax deadline is never normal. Flexibility is key during these high-stress periods. If you notice that a team member’s productivity is dipping due to their long commute, it may be worthwhile to reconsider their in-office days, at least temporarily. Allowing them to work fully or mostly remotely during the next few weeks might improve their focus and efficiency.

5. be ready for some curveballs

Stay upbeat, but prepare for the worst. You know illnesses and other emergencies are bound to happen, so build in some wiggle room when scheduling tasks. Also, it’s never too late to bring in some backup. Skilled contract professionals can fill gaps quickly and keep you on track when the unexpected happens. At Randstad, we can provide just-in-time staffing solutions tailored to your needs. Get in touch today to explore how we can support you during this crucial stretch.