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5 Steps Firms Need to Take Before 2016

Oct 20th 2015
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OK, so Oct. 15 is behind us, the trees are starting to change colors (for some of us), and the holidays are around the corner. So what are you doing to plan for 2016?

As you know, the fall flies by quickly with the onset of another tax season, one that will be met with high expectations, where we truly believe that we have turned our practice into a high-efficient machine, and where we will not drain our lives and make us ask where the last 120 days went. Right?

If you are eager enough to make next year successful – and everybody has their own definition of success – you need to follow these five necessary now to achieve perceived success after tax season ends in 2016.

As such, I have compiled a list of five key steps all firms dealing with tax clients need to take before 2016 begins

1. Set your goals (And shout them out). It's nice to write down your goals on a piece of paper. But you know what is even better? Shouting your goals from the top of rooftops. Tell your staff. Tell your spouse. Tell your friends. Tell your clients. Whatever it is that you seek during this next tax season, be proud of it and share what it is with everyone around you! Why, you ask? A couple of reasons: First, by advising others of your goals, you are communicating with them what is important to you. Secondly, you are committing to your goal. There is nothing worse than telling other people that you didn't achieve the goal because it wasn't something you really wanted. This is especially true on a professional manner.

2. Develop a step-by-step plan to reach those goals. Now that you know what you want to achieve, you need to detail out a plan that will accommodate your life and the goals you have set out. This plan should be detailed with intermittent measurements to evaluate if you are making progress or if changes need to be made. What is really important about this plan is identifying daily and weekly achievements that you can say, “If I do X, I will be on my way to achieving Y.” In having these specific actions already planned out, you really never have to waste your time in continually thinking about what I have to today to hit that goal.

3. Identify the resources needed to follow the plan. In most cases, you are going to need to obtain or change resources in order to reach your goal. Whether it's technology (software or hardware), human resources, access to capital, or a new skill, identify the resource and obtain it. Without these resources, you have set the goal, but have failed to optimize the plan with the necessary resources. In retrospect, you will have the realization that you could never truly reach your goal as you never retained the appropriate resources to do so.

4. Determine who will keep you accountable. At some point during tax season, as you implement your plan, your mind will wander. Your head will tell you “it's not possible,” “it's too difficult,” “it's not worth it,” or, “I really didn't want it in the first place.” At these times, it's crucial to have somebody on your shoulder saying “yes you can.” Having a guide, mentor, coach, trainer, or even a member of your own staff in your corner to continue the positive reinforcement will ensure that you reach your goals.

5. Change your perspective. As you move closer to January 2016, question your actions. Question the possibilities that are out there. Question the way you work and the way you live. If you aren't happy with something, change it. If you see opportunities, jump for them. If you see injustice, stand up again it. In doing so, you are putting yourself out there and preparing yourself for the difficult challenges that will be awaiting you as you shoot for your 2016 tax season goal. You will be in one way “practicing” for the changes, understanding what it feels like to persevere through unconfutable situations. You will be building the tolerance for pain that is necessary to overcome the boundaries you had considered to be your limits in the past.

Final Thoughts

As the late Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry said, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” Again, set the bar high; a goal reached often times fails to fulfill when the achievement is too simple. Best of luck to you and your practice in achieving your goals for 2016!

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