Balancing the demands of an accounting career with the joys and responsibilities of motherhood is a feat that many working moms undertake, and during certain times of the year, the challenge can feel particularly intense. For those of us in public accounting, tax season becomes a marathon of filing deadlines and client expectations.
I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, and I can tell you that it’s a juggling act that requires skill, resilience, and a touch of magic.
I had my first child only 4 years after college, so I only had a few years of non-kid tax seasons. I know firsthand how incredibly challenging it can be to be an accountant mom, but especially how challenging it is during tax season.
Every January through April 15th, I had to create a plan of attack that would make an Army General proud. From school holidays to the inevitable cold and flu season being smack dab in the middle of tax season, there had to be a plan put in place for every possible scenario.
With tax season being marked by deadlines and heightened workloads, it poses unique challenges for those of us who are determined to excel in our careers while maintaining a nurturing and supportive home environment. If there were rewards for bravery given out to working moms, accountant moms would absolutely win purple hearts.
In today’s episode, I’m going to be covering things from helpful daily routines to strategic moves to ensure your professional success and family happiness. I’m going to be navigating through the highs and lows, drawing inspiration from real-life experiences, and sharing practical strategies that make the seemingly impossible, possible.
Whether you’re a seasoned accountant mom with years of experience or a newcomer to the world of accounting, this episode is designed to be your go-to resource for practical tips, relatable stories, and a sense of camaraderie.
Working during the busier times of the year, especially for moms, is truly like orchestrating a symphony – a harmonious blend of work commitments and family responsibilities. It’s about embracing the challenges with a spirit of resilience, finding joy in the midst of deadlines, and celebrating the victories, big and small.
So, let’s explore the art of navigating tax season with kids – a journey that celebrates the strength and determination of accountant moms who wear both professional and parental badges of honor.
This week I’m going to discuss work and family responsibilities, planning ahead, and work-life integration during tax season.
Work and family responsibilities
Here’s the thing – tax season isn’t just a segment of the calendar for accountants; it’s a period marked by increased work demands, looming deadlines, and complicated tax codes.
For accountant moms, this stretch of time from January to mid-April isn’t merely a professional challenge; it’s a delicate balancing act that involves managing both work and family responsibilities. From client demands, an abundance of forms to process, and the inevitable last-minute rushes, they all contribute to an intense work environment.
Balancing these professional demands with family commitments is like walking a tightrope, demanding precision and finesse.
As we know all too well, work-life balance becomes paramount, as we often feel the weight of straddling two worlds—one foot in the professional realm and the other in the domain of family obligations.
This is why effective communication is vital. You need to treat tax season as a collective effort where your family becomes an integral part of the team.
This involves setting clear expectations, being transparent about demanding periods, and, when needed, seeking support from family, friends, and others. This is not the time to be a martyr or give in to people-pleasing tendencies.
It’s also not the time to be fueled by the feeling of guilt. You worked hard to have an accounting career; that is not something you need to feel guilty for and it’s not a reason to NOT ask for support as you navigate tax season with kids.
So, to all the accountant moms gearing up for tax season, remember that open communication and family support will contribute to a successful outcome.
Now let’s talk about one of the crucial elements for navigating the demands of tax season – strategic planning and a proactive approach.
At the heart of effective planning is the utilization of tools that aid in time management. If you’ve been following this podcast, you know I talk a lot about the importance of effective time management for accountant moms, but at no other time during the year is it more vital than during tax season.
Strategic planning involves carefully considering and mapping out the tasks and responsibilities that lie ahead. You can step into the role of strategic planner by using tools like calendars and scheduling apps, helping you stay one step ahead of the workload and family responsibilities.
When my children were younger, I had a giant dry-erase calendar in the kitchen to keep everything organized, especially during tax season. All the people, places, and things were on that calendar in order to ensure that nothing slipped through the cracks.
For my workload, I used a paper calendar to serve as a visual representation of the timeline, highlighting key deadlines, important milestones, and critical tasks. By breaking down the entire tax season into manageable chunks, I was able to allocate time efficiently, ensuring that no important detail was overlooked.
Staying ahead of the workload is not just about managing time; it’s also about anticipating potential challenges and having contingency plans in place. By strategically planning for potential roadblocks or last-minute surprises, you can navigate the uncertainties of tax season with greater ease.
As I’ve shared on this podcast before, I always had a plan A, B, and C when it came to childcare. I planned out one week at a time and made sure that my plans were in place, especially if something unexpected came up.
Strategic planning is about proactively shaping your journey through tax season, rather than merely reacting to the challenges as they arise. It empowers you to maintain control over your schedule, reduce stress, and deliver high-quality work in a timely manner.
So, when I talk about functioning as strategic planners during tax season, I’m highlighting the proactive, intentional approach that you can take to ensure not just professional success, but also a more balanced and manageable life during this intense period.
By setting clear expectations and involving the family in the planning process, you can create a supportive environment that allows for a more seamless integration of work and family life.
Basically, navigating tax season successfully lies in a well-thought-out plan. By utilizing tools for time management, setting realistic goals, fostering open communication with family members, you can pave the way for a smoother and more manageable tax season experience.
Work-life integration during tax season
A few months ago I did an entire episode on work-life integration, but just know that this topic is incredibly important during tax season.
Striking a balance between professional responsibilities and family life is key to sustaining well-being during this demanding period.
The first thing I suggest is if you are able to work from home at all, it’s important to create a dedicated workspace at home. This helps establish a clear boundary between professional and personal life, allowing for increased focus and productivity during work hours.
Having a defined workspace contributes to a more organized and efficient work environment. Even when I’m working from home, I am managing my time and my workspace as if I was in the office, signaling to my brain that I am in work mode, not throw in a load of laundry mode.
The truth is that setting boundaries and managing work hours play a pivotal role in work-life integration. You have to establish a schedule that aligns with your peak productivity hours, ensuring you make the most of your time without compromising on family commitments.
When I work from home, I capitalize on the fact that I can sit at my computer by 7 am and get more done by noon than most people get done in an entire 8-hour day.
Work-life integration also involves recognizing the importance of short breaks for relaxation and rejuvenation. Taking moments for self-care, whether through a quick walk, mindfulness exercises, or even brief hobbies, contributes to maintaining mental well-being during the high-stress period of tax season.
The key takeaway is that success during tax season is not just about managing professional tasks but creating a holistic approach that encompasses both work and family life. By effectively integrating these suggestions, you can find a sustainable balance that allows you to thrive during tax season.
Simplifying tax season with kids
Here are some practical tips and suggestions to make this challenging period more manageable:
Leverage technology for efficiency: Embrace technology to streamline your work processes. Utilize accounting software, document management tools, and collaboration platforms to enhance efficiency. This not only saves time but also allows for greater flexibility in managing your responsibilities.
Delegate when possible: Recognize that you don’t have to do it all alone. Delegate tasks at work and enlist the support of your family for household responsibilities. Sharing the load ensures that you can focus on critical work tasks without compromising the well-being of your family.
Prioritize self-care: It’s easy to neglect self-care during the intensity of tax season, but it’s crucial for maintaining your physical and mental well-being. Set aside dedicated time for self-care activities, whether it’s breakfast with a friend on Sunday morning or just taking a walk. Taking care of yourself enables you to be more effective in both your professional and parental roles.
Create special moments with your kids: Although it might seem challenging, try to find opportunities to create special moments with your children. Whether it’s a quick dinner together, a bedtime story, or a weekend outing, these moments contribute to the overall balance in your life. Quality over quantity matters, and these moments become cherished memories for both you and your kids.
Flexibility and adaptability: Understand that plans may need to be adjusted, and flexibility is key. Be adaptable to changes in your schedule and work environment. This flexibility not only reduces stress but also allows you to navigate unexpected challenges with resilience.
Celebrate milestones together: Acknowledge and celebrate both professional and personal milestones with your family. Whether it’s completing a challenging tax assignment or your child achieving a personal goal, these celebrations reinforce the sense of achievement and unity within your family.
Seek and offer support: Connect with fellow accountant moms facing similar challenges like those in CPA MOMS private Facebook Community. Share experiences, tips, and emotional support. Additionally, be open to offering support to others in your network. Building a community of support can make the journey through tax season more enriching and less isolating.
Learn to Say No: Recognize your limits and be willing to say no when necessary. Whether it’s additional work commitments or social invitations, it’s okay to decline when it interferes with your ability to maintain a balanced life during tax season.
So hopefully you can see that simplifying tax season as an accountant mom involves a blend of technological efficiency, delegation, self-care, creating memorable moments, flexibility, celebration, seeking support, and setting boundaries. By embracing these strategies, you can navigate tax season with greater ease, turning it into a period of professional success and family fulfillment.
As I wrap up, I want to send a special shoutout to all the accountant moms gearing up for this tax season. I am with you and sending you much love.
Remember, you’re not just balancing debits and credits; you’re mastering the delicate art of balancing work and family. With strategic planning, efficient processes, and a strong support system, you’re more than equipped to conquer the challenges that tax season brings.
For accountant moms, this stretch of time from January to mid-April isn’t merely a professional challenge; it’s a delicate balancing act that involves managing both work and family responsibilities.
Staying ahead of the workload is not just about managing time; it’s also about anticipating potential challenges and having contingency plans in place.