When I reflect on some of the mistakes I have made in the past, I can usually draw a straight line of fault directly to my state of fatigue at the time. Turns out, rats have the same problem.
CBC News reported on April 28—typically a high stress time for tax practitioners in particular–that sleep deprivation can cause groups of brain cells to fall asleep in rats who appear to be awake. . .and rats with sleeping neurons make more mistakes, according to new research by Giulio Tononi, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his team (see story: Sleep deprivation makes brain cells turn off).
For professional advisors, it pays to spot check files in the post-tax season and in particular to review with clients those last minute activities that may require some audit-proofing. It’s always better to file an adjustment to a return that is error-prone than face gross negligence or tax evasion penalties later. Most pros will take the time to do that at this time of the year.
But, further reflection is required on the personal wear and tear we ignore and suffer, when we push ourselves to meet deadlines. Important practice management decisions need to be made before next tax season. Should you really have had more staff? Was it difficult to find qualified people you could count on to provide highly accurate service?
If that’s a problem for you, now is the time to study, train and improve the professional development of everyone in the office. We can help at the Knowledge Bureau; with professional development consultations.
It’s Your Money. Your Life. Remember, it’s about coming back next year. . .your clients would be so disappointed if you ruined your health, or your reputation, because you were just too tired to avoid mistakes! Make next tax season a healthier one by getting more sleep. . . plan well now.
Evelyn Jacks is President of the Knowledge Bureau, a national educational institute providing excellence in financial education for tax and financial advisors and their clients. She is a bestselling author of over 46 books on the subject of tax, personal finance, and wealth management, including Master Your Taxes.