When working in accounting, it can seem like there are really only two parts to your year: tax season, and everything else.
Of course, your work doesn’t end when tax season does. Between extended tax filings, financial advising, and bookkeeping (if you do that), there’s always something to do. But there’s no denying that most of the year is much slower than tax time…making it the perfect time to care for other parts of your business.
So how can you make the most of the off-season?
Take a holiday!
This one might not sound particularly business-related, but the truth is, you’re the best asset your practice has. If you’re not taking the time to recharge and take care of yourself, there’s no way you’ll be able to do your best work for your clients or your business.
So make a point of taking some time for yourself during the off-season, whether that means going on holiday abroad or staying home and catching up with your family for a bit. You’ll be better for it when it’s time to go back to work.
Get your professional development in
Clients tend to think that learning to be an accountant is a one-off kind of thing — but you know better. There’s always something new to learn, an policy update to keep on top of, or a new specialisation to get, and the off season is the perfect time to make that happen.
Not sure where to start? The ICAEW, AAT and other professional bodies have an extensive range of continuing professional development classes, as do most other accounting organisations. What’s more, Companies House regularly holds seminars on accounting-related topics, which can give you a chance to stay up to date with industry requirements and mix with other accountants, as well as potential clients.
And don’t forget about the business side of your practice. If you’re caught up with your CPD, consider taking some classes that will help you grow your business. And speaking of business…
Work on your business
When you’re swamped with client work, you often end up keeping your focus external and client-focused out of necessity. But your accounting practice is a business, and just like any other business, it needs internal focus in order to grow. This includes things like reviewing your business strategy and planning for the future, focusing on your sales pipeline, developing your content and social media platform, and so on.
Take the chance that the off-season provides to look inward for a bit, review your business’s progress, review the skills of your staff and take steps to improve them, and implement the systems and strategies your practice needs to grow before you get in the weeds again.
Connect with your clients
Your clients may think you can only help them at tax time, but there’s a lot more you can do to ensure success for their businesses throughout the year. Help them realise this by making a point of connecting with them outside of tax season.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by simply increasing your online presence throughout the year. For example, you can consider hosting webinars that teach business owners some small business finance basics, be available on social media for ‘ask me anything’ hours, or do a series of interviews highlighting your clients and showing off your expertise.
You can also consider doing some face-to-face marketing events: things like open days or ‘thank you’ events for clients can be good ways to keep yourself top of mind with your clients all year round.
Connect with other accountants
Networking with others in the industry can be really helpful for your business (not to mention giving you a chance to let off steam with others who understand the job). The off-season is the perfect time to focus on growing your business circle, since you’re all likely to be a bit less busy.
Look for things like Clear Books Open Days and other events, professional networking days, or trade shows where you can connect with your fellow accountants and see what other firms are up to. These can give you a sense of industry trends and may even give you a couple of ideas for growing your own. Some events will also qualify you for CPD credits.
You might not be as busy outside of tax season, but it’s still no time to rest on your laurels. (At least not for long!) Make the most of it so you can rest assured it will keep ticking along perfectly well without your input as you get caught up in tax time again.