Tips to Survive the Busy Season
Each industry has a busiest time during the year. For accounting departments, it may be the quarter, year-end closing, budgeting process or special project upcoming deadline. For accounting firms, the period after year end where the tax returns and audits are due. Below a few survivor's tips from the experience of our own staff who have survived many prior Busy Seasons.
Busy Season Survivor's tips for management:
- Get rid of the "Everything is a priority" phrase when staff ask for guidance. Consider using the United States Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower Urgent/Important time management principle to classify tasks:
- Urgent and Important (priority number 1)
- Important but not urgent (priority number 2)
- Urgent but not important (priority number 3, consider getting rid of, it may be getting in the way of important but not urgent tasks)
- Not important and not urgent. (least priority, consider getting rid of)
- Communicate expectations to team members early. Every engagement team, or private industry project have different needs requiring different expectations, some may require working every Saturday until the filling day, others 7 days a week, others 5 days with overtime and just a couple of weekends. Communicating expectations early will provide time for the team members to plan to comply with the goals.
- Create and communicate a timeline with internal deadlines or milestones.
Busy Season Survivor's tips for staff:
- Communicate in advance expected job demands with your significant ones. Setting realistic expectations to family members, friends and significant ones about the expected job demands will help you have less struggles and stress related to personal matters during the Busy Season.
- If possible, schedule some time off before the Busy Season begins. It has worked effectively for example at accounting firms that have implemented shut downs in Christmas right before the season.
- Plan for shorter lunch breaks. In Public Accounting we have seem teams working until 12am to 1am while having 2-3-hour lunch breaks. With a half an hour to one-hour maximum lunch break the same work can be completed working until 10pm resulting in having additional hours of sleep.