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This is the third year I will be managing the submission of tax returns on my own. Up until 2016 I was in partnership where each partner was in charge of their own clients. We never really knew how many tax returns we had to prepare until at the end when the tax manager told us how many tax returns she had submitted.

I joined the practice in 1996 and then we were a 3 partner firm. Over the years partners retired, joined, left and in June 2016 my father and partner passed away and then I became a sole practitioner. I am not sure how we prepared and submitted tax returns in January 2017 but what I do remember is that my team and I worked 12 to 14 hours a day and submitted our last tax return half an hour before the deadline.

It was awful, stressful and at the end of January my team and I were fed up, lacking in motivation and were behind in submissions of our limited company accounts. I could not have another January like that again. So in 2017 we estimated that we needed to prepare at least 10 to 15 accounts a month from May 2017 to December 2017 to finish preparation of the tax returns by 31 December 2017.

This year we finished submissions on the 31st January 2018 at 1pm.

I was disappointed because again my team and I were working on average 12 to 14 hours a day in January although this year we were not behind on our Company House accounts submissions. I promised the staff that we would not do any chargeable work in February and that we would spend the month of February analysing and improving our systems, assess why clients had left us and how we could have a stress free Christmas and New Year.

This year I am determined that we will not be working so many hours. This year I am determined that we are going to have a stress free Christmas. So I came up with the idea of a Taxathon. Throughout the year I see different initiatives such as Dry January and Movemebr so why not a Taxathon.

What is a Taxathon ? Its a race to finish all our tax returns by a certain time.

My idea is that I will write a weekly update on whether we are going to be able to prepare and submit all our tax returns by Christmas 2018. If we are falling behind why and how we can get back on track.

I discussed this plan with my team and surprisingly my team are all for it. They love the idea of the scrutiny and are not afraid of me writing about it warts and all. They like the idea of the pressure and the challenge. Now that's team support for you!

Can I beat the 31st January 2019 deadline? This time I plan to.

Susan Rahman

Susan is a chartered accountant in practice who in the pursuit of her 99% client retention rate (of which she is very proud!) ended up building onkho as well. Her firm KWSR & Co serves over 300 clients across London and the South East. In addition to product development, Sue pushes her "delight clients" mantra across the onkho business. There's a reason why we call it the Success Team and not the Support Team!

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