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Navigating Tax Season: Challenges, Tips, and future Expectations

22 Apr 2024 10:00 | Katharina Rottenbacher (Administrator)

As another tax season unfolds, chartered accountants and tax advisors find themselves amidst a whirlwind of deadlines, client demands, and technological hurdles. While this time of year is undoubtedly busy, it's also a period of immense opportunity for professionals to showcase their expertise and assist clients in navigating the complexities of tax compliance.

Thing is, current tax season happens to be the best time to think about next tax season!

Accountants that have outlived enough tax seasons know that we all face the same common challenges during this critical period. Going towards its end, It might be a good idea to have a look at those mostly recurring challenges, see what’s changed, what did not, and how we can do better next time.


  • HR Management: One of the foremost challenges during tax season is effectively managing human resources. The influx of work requires careful allocation of tasks, ensuring that each team member is working efficiently and effectively to meet deadlines. Despite best efforts to allocate tasks and client files with relative equality (a couple of factors into play here!), some team members will still be living in what seems sometimes like a chaotic circus, while others have quite a nice walk in the park. Identifying and acknowledging, for each team member, those superpowers and kryptonite is a though one. Let’s not forget that maintaining staff morale and managing fatigue become crucial aspects of HR management during this intense period, making it delicate, for the team manager, to know when to push and when to cut some slack
  • Delays and Bottlenecks: Despite meticulous planning, workflow and process optimization, delays and bottlenecks are almost inevitable during tax season. Whether it’s waiting on a clients to provide necessary documentation or encountering unexpected technical issues, these delays can disrupt the general workflow and increase stress levels for both accountants and clients alike. A real pain point, especially if the delegation structure is not fine-tuned yet, or when the workload/ressource ratio is at a maximum
  • Technological Hurdles: While technology has undoubtedly streamlined many aspects of the accounting profession, it also presents its own set of challenges during tax season. From software glitches to cybersecurity concerns, ensuring that technology remains a reliable tool rather than a hindrance requires constant vigilance and adaptation. Constant IT support is required
  •  Client Demands and Expectations:  “Just this last invoice, please? It's just a tiny change, okay? C’mon it can’t be that complicated to re-edit the FS?”

Sure, in a world where accuracy and compliance is not a priority… 

Meeting client demands while maintaining quality and accuracy is a delicate balancing act during tax season. Clients often expect quick turnaround times without compromising on the thoroughness of the work. Managing these expectations effectively is essential for building and maintaining strong client relationships…and mental stability!


  •  START EARLY AND PLAN STRATEGICALLY: Begin preparations well in advance of the tax season to mitigate last-minute rushes and reduce stress levels. Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines key milestones, deadlines, and resource allocations to ensure a smooth workflow throughout the season. Start by listing the major pain points of last season, and address those individually, when you can. It can be a redundant process to eliminate, a task to automate or a team member to train. Try and do it while you still can!
  •  UTILIZE TECHNOLOGY WISELY: Leverage technology to automate repetitive tasks, streamline processes, and enhance communication with clients. Most common use case consists of clients’ data collection, indexing, and pre-accounting processing cloud applications. But not only. Additional tech elements can be activated to increase collaborative work, or simply further automate mail responses. Off course, attention should be not to implement too big a change in the tech stack, right at the heart of the season. As good as it gets, tech will always require the team to be trained for it a little while ahead, to avoid spending precious prod time troubleshooting basic issues.

Extra attention point: Investment in robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive client data and minimize the risk of cyber threats has now become a priority. Setting up automatic backup plans and regular IT updates are today a no-brainer.

  •  Communicate Proactively with Clients: Foster open and transparent communication with clients throughout the tax season. Set clear and realistic expectations regarding timelines, deliverables, and the information required from their end to expedite the process and minimize delays. For some practices, a centralized service for client’ data collection works best while in others, portfolio managers will be more efficient individually. Get a feel of the best practices by asking fellow professionals.
  •  “Teamwork make the dream work”: While hierarchy is essential for vision and direction, during tax season, and for the magic to happen, some “walls” ought to fall for the team to work closely together at all levels. Nothing beats a complex workflow than to separate it into micro-processes, that each team member can takes on. As such, whether the team operates on a “client-based” or “process-based” structure, breaking it all down to bits and parts will make it easier for everyone to achieve or to help others achieve, as a team, the two main goals at stake: compliance and accuracy

Not forget to recognize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance during tax season. Encourage team members to take regular breaks, prioritize their well-being, and seek support when needed to prevent burnout


Looking ahead, it is evident that our work, as accountants and tax advisors will continue to evolve, before and after each tax season, in response to technological advancements, regulatory changes, and shifting clients and team members’ expectations. Most important is to acknowledge the multiple challenges it presents, but also the unique opportunity it offers to do better each time, as there is no better time for accountants to demonstrate their expertise, strengthen client relationships, and drive business growth.

Until then, see you after the end of tax season!

Redouane Stoti (Audigroup, Morocco)

April 2024

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