How to Handle the Self Assessment Period

At this time of year most people are relaxing, wrapping gifts, listening to Cliff Richard and having a glass of mulled wine.

However for accountants, Christmas comes with a nervous twitch, as just around the corner the most stressful time of year lies…

January is usually the busiest period for any accountancy firm thanks to the Self Assessment tax return. Not only is everyone confronted with mountains of work from existing clients, but it’s also the time of year that last minute business owners and freelancers turn on panic mode and sign up to a new accountant in a hurry, meaning there are hundreds of new accounts to be filed too.

So, how can you keep the stress to a minimum when the whole office seems to be in turmoil? Have a look at our handy guide to help you keep your head during the hectic Self Assessment season.

Send out reminders

Throughout the year, remind your clients of the busy season that lies ahead.

Encourage clients to get their accounts in early with the promise that they’ll be at the top of the pile when it comes to filing. While they might not want to think about it, it will save them the stress of potentially being hit with a fine from HMRC and will save accountants the worry of not meeting deadlines.

Add in a reminder to your email signature with the deadline for them to send you accounts (you may even want to make this earlier than usual to give yourself more time).

Offer incentives for clients

A loyalty scheme could encourage clients to become more proactive and get their accounts in on time.

Small awards such as vouchers will show them that those who are willing to comply won’t just steer clear of potential penalties, but they’ll get a little thank you from you for being such a great client!

Equip the office

A messy office is not one that will be able to file Self Assessment tax returns on time. Make sure all files are in the correct place, people are able to move easily around and most importantly, it’s an environment accountants want to be in.

If it isn’t, the process of Self Assessment will seem even more tedious than it actually is and won’t inspire accurate and precise work.

Help each other through

If you can see that one accountant is really struggling with their deadlines and you’re on top of yours, help them out and share the load.

In the spirit of togetherness you’ll be able to help each other through the rocky month that is January and both come out of it better people – plus it will make the accountancy firm look good if you’re able to complete accounts quicker than anticipated.

Take the pressure off

During this stressful time, don’t be afraid to treat yourselves. While everyone in the office may be putting in long hours, that doesn’t mean you can’t all order pizza one day or bring in some of your famous chocolate cake to lighten spirits and provide that much needed sugar boost.

Before you know it, it’ll be February and the storm will have passed – until next year!

Are you still struggling to meet all of your clients’ Self Assessment deadlines despite precautions? It could be time to switch to a new cloud accounting system. Pandle is a free cloud solution that offers a simple and affordable service for accountants with small business clients. Have a look at our Pandle Partner options to see how you could save stress when it comes to Self Assessment season.