If you have your tax returns completely under control and have only a handful left to do, this blog is not for you. If you want four suggestions to help reduce the stress so you can better achieve your tax return completions up to the 31st Jan then read on…

Daily focus…

In an autumn blog I suggested an Amundsen approach to managing your tax returns rather than a Scott approach. Amundsen won the race to the south pole and returned safely, Scott arrived second and died on the way back! Amundsen was fanatical about walking 15 miles a day, every day, without fail, Scott’s mileage depended on the weather! Amundsen’s daily game was 15 miles a day, every day – what’s your daily game. To read more about Scott and Amundsen click here.

With only a few weeks and a handful of days to go to filing deadline you have little choice but to manage your remaining tax return activity every day.

So how exactly do you manage tax return activity daily?

It’s tempting to throw your arms up in the air in despair with so little time left available. It’s tempting to forget anything to do with planning and managing because you could be doing a tax return in the time it takes to plan and manage. It’s tempting to just do returns.

Yes you’ll get to the end of January with them all done come hail rain or shine. You can catch up on sleep, catch up with friends, re-connect with family in February.

You can even build bridges with your team in February after a manic January. But what if January ends up being a great time with your people despite the glut of tax return activity?

4 simple suggestions to help you do just this:

1. Create a game. Use a daily goal for you and your team for the number of completions and collections. Use a white board in your office to show your daily goal and your daily actuals (every game has a scoreboard – large visible ones work best). Review this every morning and agree the days activity for each of your team

2. Focus on tracking BOTH ‘information collected’ AND ‘tax returns completed’ every day

3. Make it clear who in your team is responsible for getting the information collected for each specific client each day and who’s responsible for completing each specific tax return each day

4. Get on the phone as your primary mode of communicating with clients – yes an email might be quicker but a phone call is more likely to work – if you want two colourful posters to help promote this in your firm go here

Wishing you a successful January.

Paul Shrimpling