The Self Assessment tax return season, running up to the deadline of 31 January, is one of the busiest and most stressful times for accountants. There are many things you can do to make this period less hectic and run more smoothly and efficiently for your accountancy practice and for yourself. We have put together essential tips for you in this in-depth article to guide you during your self assessment season .
It’s good to set aside some time for planning to ensure your practice is well prepared ahead of the Self Assessment filing deadline. You may find it helpful to draw up a list of all the tasks that have to be completed, along with their deadlines. This will give you a good indication of the volume of work to be tackled and let you allocate resources accordingly.
Encouraging clients to start early with their tax returns and keeping good records using accounting software will make your life easier. You can also use practice management software to keep on top of workflows and automate other processes. This will help you minimise time on manual tasks, such as inputting data from receipts, and spend more time on value-added services to clients.
Tips to avoid late submissions
To help avoid the stress that comes with clients submitting their information late, ensure that they know the deadlines well in advance and understand the importance of sticking to them. Using several communication channels increases the chance of your clients getting the message, so make the most of email newsletters, social media and blog posts to get their attention.
You may also want to remind your clients that you’ll be unable to file their tax return on time if they don’t meet your deadlines, and warn them that this could result in a penalty from HMRC.
Setting some boundaries with clients
While the Self Assessment season might see you working longer days than usual, by setting communication boundaries you may be able to limit the number of out-of-hours calls and emails you have to deal with. Let your clients know your office hours so that they understand when you’re unavailable. You may wish to set an automatic response for emails received outside your core hours so that clients know when they can expect to hear back from you.
Check in with colleagues
If you’re feeling the pressure of Self Assessment, your colleagues may be in the same boat. Consider scheduling some regular time to check in with the rest of your practice to make sure everyone is coping with their workload. From talking through any issues you’re having to sharing tips on managing clients, an open conversation could help you find solutions and restore calm to the team. It might be beneficial to hold optional team meetings where colleagues can give quick status updates on their workload and anything that might affect their ability to complete it.
Leaning on digital tools
Technology can help you to boost revenue, improve client engagement and run your processes more smoothly. Automating your admin could help you to get your work done faster, leading to a better work-life balance and giving you more time to spend on other tasks.
Taking care of your wellbeing
Self Assessment season can feel all-consuming, but it’s important to prioritise your wellbeing during this busy time. Consider preparing some healthy snacks to keep at your desk, ensure you stay hydrated and try a relaxing bedtime routine to assist in a restful sleep. Maintaining a healthy work/life balance may prove difficult during Self Assessment season, but it’s also crucial to realise when you need to take a break. Review your schedule and consider when you can fit in some time for yourself.
Taking a brief walk, completing some stress-busting breathing exercises could give you the energy you need to remain calm and productive throughout the day.
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