By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager
Tax professionals can help avoid burnout this busy season by creating a plan now that will help them deal with the demanding schedule of the upcoming tax season, said one CPA.
“There are so many factors that are outside of your control, just try to be as positive as you possibly can,” said A’Shira Nelson, CPA, tax manager at Apple Growth companies and member of the OSCPA Executive Board.
By now, Nelson said accounting professionals are accustomed to dealing with unknowns during the pandemic. She joined The State of Business podcast this week to discuss how to best avoid burnout during busy season. It’s become common to navigate around issues such as access to the office or colleagues who have fallen ill. But during tax filing season when the pressure is high, those problems can become even more stressful.
Nelson recommended making a plan to ensure you’re getting the proper rest, exercise and food. Otherwise, all those things that seem manageable during a regular work period can easily fall to the wayside. Scheduling time with friends and family and opportunities to get away from work are also crucial.
“You have to make time because your mental health is going to need it,” she said. “Making time for your family and friends and that social support is so important for your mental health. You need to have a time where you're not thinking about what's happening in your job or during busy season.”
While it might seem tough to schedule social time, Nelson said it doesn’t need to be long. A couple of hours here or there can make all the difference and give you something to look forward to.
Nelson said it’s also vital to talk to your team, manager, peers and direct reports about expectations during busy season. This communication will help get the team on the right page. Discuss what everyone’s schedule will look like, the goals for the next few months and priorities when it comes to workload.
And while working from home can oftentimes be a benefit to putting your head down and getting work done, Nelson warned against isolating yourself.
“Be intentional with standard communication with different members of your team,” she said. “Because they might have the same feelings as you – especially as it relates to their mental health. Realize that you all are in a very similar situation and keep that communication channel set up where it's not always about work, sometimes it's just personal conversation.”