Goodbye, Tax Season. Hello, Celebration!

By Robert Half April 16, 2015 at 4:00pm

Congratulations! Your team made it through another tax season successfully — save for a few extra gray hairs and a touch of sleep deprivation. Now, it’s time to toss aside the calculators and spreadsheets (for a little while, anyway) and celebrate!

What’s the best way to acknowledge your staff for a job well done? Here are three ways to give employee recognition for achievements this tax season and all year long:

1. Give some real beans to count

One of the biggest misconceptions about accounting and finance professionals is that they’re adding-machine-addicted geeks crunching numbers all day long in a back room. That’s far from accurate, of course. In fact, there are some surprising facts about the accounting profession that counter the stereotypes.

No doubt, your team members will appreciate the inside joke if you present them with two types of “beans” as rewards for their efforts this tax season: a bonus or raise, accompanied by a pound of quality coffee or a gift card they can use at a local coffee shop.

2. Take them out to a ball game

Or to the aquarium. Or somewhere. Just take them out of the office!

For months, your accountants have been spending hours and hours at a desk squinting at their computer screens and checking, double-checking and triple-checking calculations. They are now in dire need of fresh air and a change of scenery. So, make it a priority to organize a field trip for them.

One positive side effect for the business is that a well-planned employee outing or team-building exercises can help enhance camaraderie. But be sure to ask for your staff’s input in advance so you go somewhere and do something they will actually enjoy. Have a vote, make the arrangements, and blow that Popsicle stand (i.e., your office) for a while.

3. Let them have two kinds of time

Two kinds of time? Time off and more time. While a team outing can be a great way to release some stress, your employees also will likely want time away from the office and their colleagues (and yes, their boss!). Give them a day off this month or next, or allow them to take a few extra vacation days later on. This will help them to rejuvenate and prepare for that time after tax season.

Think longer term, too. Consider instituting flexible scheduling and telecommuting options your team can take advantage of all year-round to better maintain work-life balance.

This can have a positive impact on retention: In The People Puzzle: Building and Retaining a Talented Accounting and Finance Team, a report from Robert Half and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), accounting and finance professionals cited “flexible work hours” as one of the top three nonmonetary contributors to job satisfaction. (For CPAs at small firms, it was #1.)

Giving employees more control over their time can have an added benefit: It can help you be more productive in your position.

Actions + words = impact

One other post-tax season staff management tip: Offering a heartfelt thank you can go a long way toward making your workers feel valued. You may feel confident your staff members know you appreciate their hard work, but you should tell them anyway, so you can be sure.

And if you have employees who went truly above and beyond to get things done right this tax season, extend that thank-you to some form of public kudos. Whether it’s in a department meeting or an article in the company newsletter, nothing compares to being singled out as the type of professional the business relies on for its success.

However you choose to celebrate the end of tax season with your staff, be sure to make it both meaningful and fun. If you do, you’ll give the dedicated professionals on your accounting and finance teams even more reason to be proud of their accomplishments and to love their jobs.

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