Balancing the books and well-being: Strategies for tax and accounting professional

Balancing books is of significant importance in almost every company. It gives you a clear understanding of your current business’s financial health, your assets and liabilities, and where you need to improve. But bookkeeping isn’t easy and can be stressful for accountants. 

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Similarly, tax professionals face difficulty in preparing tax returns during tough deadlines. These can affect their mental and physical well-being if overlooked. Therefore, we share a few top strategies for these professionals to follow and ensure a proper work-life balance.

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Why balancing the books matter

Balancing the books is an essential task for all businesses. A book balance consists of all a company’s financial transactions within one accounting cycle. At the end of the accounting year, this balance is matched with your business bank statements to see if the amount of money in the bank account is similar to the book balance.

It involves year-end reconciliations like bank, supplier, customers, VAT, fixed assets, inventories, HMRC tax liabilities, payroll liabilities and corporate taxes. It matters as it provides a clear understanding of the present financial status of any company. If the company is booming, its sum of assets will be higher than liabilities. Still, if the scenario is the opposite, accountants need to focus on where the company is lagging.

Additionally, balancing books helps businesses see how their net worth has been affected over time. This information is essential when companies apply for loans or raise funds from investors. 

You can also identify whether there is any room for company expansion and spot trends from the book balance. 

Top 7 strategies for accountants to balance books and personal well-being

It often becomes hard for accountants and tax professionals to balance their work and personal well-being. Here are 6 top strategies that they can follow. 

1. Set clear goals

You can hit a target only when you have it, so setting clear goals for accountants is necessary. Most tax professionals and accountants often wait until the last minute to finish their jobs, which leads to unnecessary stress. 

For example, these professionals don’t prepare for tax season throughout the year and get overburdened with work when deadlines approach. You can avoid making such mistakes by setting clear goals and fulfilling them accordingly.

2. Have a growth mindset

Accountants must have a growth mindset, which means they must be open to new challenges and view setbacks as growth opportunities. You must always take on a new responsibility that isn’t within your comfort zone; this will help you learn more. 

At times, this additional knowledge can help you finish up tasks easily without causing stress.

3. Know key industry trends and strategies for accurate bookkeeping

Accounting and tax professionals must be aware of industry trends and strategies. This helps them with accurate bookkeeping and tax filing, abiding by the latest regulations, and making informed decisions. 

Otherwise, any wrong entry in your books can lead to unnecessary penalties, and if it is with tax return filing, you may invite HMRC investigations. 

4. Follow essential bookkeeping tips

Before you start bookkeeping, you must clearly understand three financial statements: Cash flow statements, income statements, and balance sheets. Additionally, you must know the nitty-gritty of bookkeeping to ensure the process doesn’t stress you. 

Here are a few more bookkeeping tips you must follow

  1. Never be late in recording financial records.
  2. Set up a reliable system for organising and filing financial documents.
  3. Regularly reconcile financial records with bank and credit card statements.
  4. Monitor cash flow statement to identify trends and have effective financial planning for the future.

5. Prioritise well-being for better performance

Taking good care of your mental health is important, no matter how professional you are. However, accountants often overlook this factor and put unnecessary stress on meeting deadlines and balancing books. 

Here are a few things you must do

  1. Learn to set boundaries and say a polite ‘No’ to any additional work when you already have a lot of responsibilities.
  2. Take regular breaks in between work throughout the day, and try doing meditations, breathing exercises, or short walks to keep your mind clear.
  3. Identify stress triggers in your profession and find ways to manage them.
  4. Depend a bit on your colleagues with tasks you aren’t aware of or seek advice from mentors on keeping stress under control. 
  5. Adopting healthy habits is essential, which includes eating nutritious foods, daily exercise, getting enough sleep, and setting time for hobbies.

6. Practice Emotional intelligence techniques

Emotional Intelligence or EQ comprises five domains: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, internal motivation, and social skills. If you can manage all these five domains effectively, you can master the art of controlling your life. 

Here’s a few practical examples that will help you not only manage your thoughts and emotions, but others as well.

  1. Actively listening to your clients during a meeting and showing empathy and understanding of their concerns will help you strengthen rapport and build trust.
  2. Create a weekly self-reflection session where you assess your challenges, achievements, and lessons learned to gain self-awareness and improve your personal development. 

7. Embrace technology 

To streamline the bookkeeping process and avoid errors leading to stress, accountants can invest in reliable accounting software. These automate most of your repetitive tasks that are highly prone to mistakes and can affect the financial stability of a business. 

For example, if you miss out on accounts receivable on your books, your client’s business may go bankrupt, and you will be responsible for it.

Is accounting a high-stress job?

Yes, accounting is a high-stress job. Not just accountants but also tax professionals face difficulties, especially during the tax season. Here are a few reasons why accountants face stressed

  • Meeting tight deadlines: Clients often overburden accountants to meet tight deadlines. Closing books, preparing financial statements, and preparing for taxes provide intense time pressure on accountants, leading to working long hours.
  • Attention to detail: Any small mistake in accounting can lead to huge financial consequences for clients. Therefore, accountants need precision and accuracy in working, which often affects their mental health.
  • Handling confidential information: Businesses hand over their confidential data to accountants, which stresses privacy, security, and trust. Any data breaches or fraud can affect client relationships and the accountant’s reputation.
  • Following the ever-changing regulations: Accounting standards and regulations keep changing, and compliance requirements are constantly challenging for an accountant. In addition to that, the fear of audits adds to their tension. 

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Have a question? Call us on
0203 983 8100
Monday to Friday 9am – 4:30pm

Final thoughts!

Balancing books can be stressful for accountants, but prioritising their physical and mental well-being is important. You can follow these 7 strategies to maintain a healthy work-life balance. At times, if you are loaded with many tasks, you can outsource some to trusted professionals so that meeting deadlines, balancing work, and ensuring mental well-being becomes easy.