How to lay the groundwork for a successful busy season
As busy season begins, so does the associated anxiety.
It’s no surprise this time of year causes stress – our recent survey found that 67% of accountants cope with the enormous workload by simply working far longer hours.
But it doesn’t all have to be doom and gloom!
Strategic decisions made now can positively impact both your team and clients as the workload intensifies.
Not sure where to start? Take the following steps to ensure a smooth busy season and optimise your operations.
Reflect on previous busy seasons
For those who have endured the turmoil of busy season before, you’re armed with the knowledge to make this year the best yet!
Ask yourself: last year, what worked well and what didn’t?
Start by evaluating the effectiveness of previous years' busy season efforts and identify how much chargeable time was devoted to tasks such as chasing client information.
Examine management systems, billing data and anecdotal recollections.
While providing quality service to clients is paramount, understanding which tasks are most beneficial for your team is equally crucial.
Top tip: speak with other busy season veterans and shining stars – their frontline experience offers invaluable perspectives that can shape your strategy.
Seek additional resource
I’m sure this tip has you rolling your eyes! With the current sector recruitment challenges, it’s not always as simple as getting more resources.
Well, it can be.
Given the challenges and expenses associated with recruitment, consider outsourcing tasks to seasoned specialists.
Regarding the IRIS outsourcing service, our claim is that this can be done swiftly and cost-effectively while maintaining sky-high standards.
I can vouch from my personal experience that the outsourcing team have been a lifesaver for me, especially during last year's busy season! The only regret I have is that I didn't think of it much sooner!
So, whether you choose to use an outsourcing service or recruit an in-house employee, now is the ideal time to secure the additional resources and ensure everyone is familiar with your processes and the demands of busy season.
Create a full-proof plan
Armed with data and a well-equipped team, develop a comprehensive plan for this busy season.
Create a schedule, clearly define task ownership, establish support networks and even factor in team-building activities to boost morale and alleviate stress.
As part of your plan, also identify potential "last-minute" clients, reaching out to them proactively.
It could be worth reshuffling client responsibilities within your team and exploring early bird incentives for prompt information submissions – it can make a huge difference!
Top tip: ensure your colleagues have taken all necessary annual leave before busy season commences.
Save time where possible
In the midst of busy season, you need to make efficiency gains wherever possible.
Constant data re-entry is not only severely prone to human error but also such a time-waste.
A starting point to resolving this problem is to confirm that your systems integrate.
Additionally, you can streamline your workflow by working from a unified client list, eliminating the hassle of managing multiple tasks and spreadsheets.
Assess your processes to identify any areas where data re-typing or spreadsheet handling via email can be replaced.
"Having a reliable platform behind you is so important. If our systems go down, that’s lost time and money out of our pocket, so knowing we have secure and reliable technology in place is a huge weight off our mind." – Ben Reynolds, Partner at tgfp.
Make it your season, not busy season
IRIS people understand what busy season means; about 500 of us are finance professionals, which means we’ve walked in your shoes.
So, if we can help you save time during this difficult period – and spend a moment with loved ones, not miss out on important events from your family life and take a quick breather or help a few extra clients, we think it’s worth it.
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