Mental health and busy season: how to manage it

The busy season in public practice accounting generally happens between January and April every year and can present accounting professionals with plenty of challenges. Chief among them is the maintenance of mental health as the pressure mounts and demands increase.

It is during these first few months of the year when many businesses are preparing to file their annual financial statements and tax returns. The workload on many accounting professionals massively multiplies, so a plan for managing the mental health side of things will be necessary to ensure we navigate our way through the busy season in good spirits.

Let’s look closer at the particular demands faced by public accounting teams during the busy season, and how we as individuals can manage our mental health through this pressurised period.


Challenges Facing Accounting Professionals During Busy Season

The increased workload is not the only challenging aspect of the busy season. While the volume of tasks and activities will obviously expand, accounting professionals will also be working to tight deadlines that must be met. Tasks such as financial data processing, report generation, accounts reconciliation and compliance with regulatory standards, all have to be completed before hastily arriving deadlines.

The pressure during the busy season in public accounting is constant and the timeframes are unforgiving, leaving hardly any wiggle room to make amends for delays and errors. The quality of work must be maintained despite the time constraints and increased workload, with diligent reviews and quality checks adding on to the pile of tasks to be completed.

An additional pressure is the need for regulatory compliance, with the ever-changing tax laws and financial regulations seemingly intent on making this task as difficult as possible. It is vital that accounting professionals interpret and apply the rules to avoid legal issues and potential fines.


All members of public accounting teams must also maintain their coordination, effectively communicating which tasks are being worked on and by who. Every task must be efficiently managed while time management between tasks must be optimised, ensuring all the necessary documentation is accurate and in order.


Managing Mental Health During the Busy Season

To maximise peace of mind during the busy season, make sure to identify all of the high priority tasks based on their importance and due deadlines. Focus your early efforts on high-impact activities.

Take advantage of any accounting tools and automation to maintain client and team communications and reminders, as well as to perform any repetitive tasks such as data entry. You can automate file organisation and document management, and use project management software to track your progress and stay on top of deadlines.

You also want to identify all distractions and potential triggers for procrastination, and take measures to eliminate them as much as possible. Having a plan in place ahead of time will be much more successful than relying on willpower in the moment.

Finally, make sure you take breaks to allow your mental batteries to recharge. Working non-stop without a break will leave you fatigued and less productive, while the longer you go without a break, the greater your risk of burnout. So make sure to schedule regular breaks throughout each day and week, and use that time to do things you enjoy to relax and unwind.

If you’re searching or hiring for a new accountancy role during the busy season in 2024, get in touch with our specialist recruitment team here at Insite Recruitment.