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Self-Assessment season: Looking after yourself and your clients

21st Dec 2023
Brought to you by
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Bright was created in 2021 when Thesaurus Software Ltd. and Relate Software Ltd. decided to join...
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The self-assessment season is a demanding period for accountants – work piling up, clients to chase and deadlines looming. It’s a classic recipe for increased stress and workload. Managing this stress is crucial for both personal well-being and professional efficiency, as well as not letting the pressure impact your own professional and personal relationships.

Despite what clients may think, accountants are only human, with a limited amount of time, energy and patience. That’s why Bright's practice management software BrightManager offers solutions that can ease this burden, but there are also key strategies you can use to maintain mental health during this busy period.

Stop, breathe, plan

With work rolling in and clients clamouring, it can be all too easy to jump right in and start chipping away at the mountain of returns to file. However, rushing in half-cocked risks getting lost in the details and not considering the big picture. 

Start by considering the basic questions that can form the foundation of a scalable plan.

  • What work took the most time last year
  • How much of that work was chargeable?
  • Who in your team is good at what, and how can you make the most of them
  • Which clients need more or less support?

From this, you can analyse what worked and what didn't in previous years to improve the upcoming season. One of the most time-consuming processes in the busy season is getting the data you need to get the work done. Consider implementing tools that make your life easier – like BrightManager to automate your onboarding, or BrightTax to help you produce the calculations and filings. 

Keep control of the details

Working efficiently means prioritising the right work at the right time and putting your effort into the areas of maximum benefit. But large, complex tasks can be overwhelming and lead to procrastination or errors. 

When every return involves many steps it can be hard to get the visibility and control you need to stay on top of everything, which is where the right planning tools can make a huge difference.

  • Task breakdown: Divide large tasks into smaller, manageable steps to improve productivity and reduce overwhelm. BrightManager can create workflow templates, show task and subtask details at a glance, and help you assign work to team members, track progress and customise your task list to suit you.
  • Progress monitoring: The right tools can turn big tasks into practical work lists for you and your team. BrightManager makes it simple to close off work and sign off work, with integrated document sharing for clients and the ability to request e-signatures through the online portal.

Allocate resources carefully

With limited time and energy, it's essential to protect your own wellbeing and capacity, both in and out of the office, especially when workloads spike.

  • Delegate and outsource non-urgent work: You don’t need to do everything yourself. Alleviate pressure by delegating or outsourcing tasks that are not immediately critical.
  • Protect your time: Clearly communicate and stick to your office hours - and make time for your own activities to recharge and replenish. This includes setting boundaries with clients to maintain work-life balance, turning off your notifications when you’re not on the clock and being strict with taking on new clients.

File smarter

Managing a range of softwares and deadlines adds pressure when the work is stacking up – especially when the filing process can be as time-consuming and stressful as the work itself.

  • BrightTax is built to manage everything in one place, seamlessly switching between Self Assessment and organisations for Corporation Tax, Annual Accounts without leaving your client management area.
  • Accountants can link Bright with  HMRC, Companies House and bookkeeping software to streamline their UK tax and compliance process, all in one place.

Look after yourself and others

Even though the workload may seem like the most important thing on your plate, you and your team can only deliver for your clients if you’re in the right mental state. 

Teams and leaders can all feel the pressure to keep going, even if they’re struggling. Accountants should lead the way in openly discussing mental health within your practice to normalise it and remove the stigma from speaking up. 

  • Company values: Embed mental well-being into your firm's values, making it a core part of your practice's culture​​.
  • Healthy workplaces: Create flexible work arrangements and offer wellness perks. Encourage healthy lifestyles and provide benefits to cover these services​​.
  • Human-focused workflows: Streamline workflows to prevent burnout. Automate tasks where possible and create a repeatable checklist for clients and yourself to ensure a manageable tax season​​.

Summary

In stressful times, integrating mental health best practices into your accounting planning, alongside the right tools, can go a long way to mitigating the demands of the self-assessment season. By doing so, you ensure not only a smoother and less stressful experience for you and your clients but also maintain a healthy work environment for yourself and your team. 

To find out more about how Bright’s tools can help you and your team do the best work this season, why not book a demo of our award-winning software?
 

Book a demo

Written by Bright

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