I know I work at an accounting firm, but even I have lost count of how many times the tax payment deadline has been moved by the CRA. And now, as we approach the final days of September, we have finally reached the end of a very long “busy season.”
It’s incredible what pressure can do to a person. It can shape you in ways you never imagined, and the growth that comes from working under pressure is astronomical when it’s applied to a large group of people. In this case, we’re talking about a locally-grown, full-service accounting firm that has spent months being challenged and helping their clients navigate their own challenges in the face of a global pandemic.
I’m reminded of March when all of this came to a head and our firm made the decision to introduce a remote work mandate – save for three staff members that were asked to help to run the day-to-day operations at our office in Ottawa. I was one of the three staff members. I never thought I would be deemed an essential employee while supporting teams of people working on filing tax returns. But tax season was so much more than that. It was the opportunities we were given to connect with clients and bond over the difficulties we were all facing in light of a pandemic. It was developing creative solutions to problems we had never faced as a firm before. It was pulling together as an organization to support each other in a stressful and uncertain time. It was trusting the processes our management committees had worked tirelessly on, to keep both staff and clients safe – knowing that our only option was to move full steam ahead and tackle the deadlines looming over us.
The reality is that the last six months have been a blur for many of our staff and clients alike. Tax season is called “busy season” for a reason at accounting firms. It’s what we work towards all year long – we plan it out, execute our goals and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done when it’s over – and then our team starts the process all over again. But this season was different and there’s a general consensus at our firm:
We’re stronger. We’re more resilient. We’re closer to our clients.
And we’re ready for whatever the next April 30th throws our way… (but, please, not another September 30th)