I spent many years dealing with procrastinators. It is surprising to me that CPAs, who are driven by due dates, are also procrastinators. Sometimes I think that the due dates actually drive them to procrastination.
Almost every month of the year has a tax-related due date. Of course, March 15, April 15, September 15, and October 15 are major tax due dates.
The mindset doesn’t seem to be let’s work really, really hard and get as much done as we possibly can prior to April 15. It is… let’s extend as many as we can. Sometimes there are good reasons to extend and often it is simply procrastination.
Extending would be okay if it provided summer work for the staff. It seems that May, June, and July are spent just waiting on the client information. The clients are even worse procrastinators. If you extend then they don’t have to get you their information until October!
How many times, at a partner retreat, has a strategic plan been outlined, and then nothing happens for months? How many times has a staff person’s performance been substandard yet no one has talked to them? How many times have the partner group decided to give an employee “one more chance” and the person ends up working at the firm for years?
My advice? Keep a sense of urgency when dealing with tax preparation. Keep instilling that sense of urgency in the entire team. When it comes to other firm internal issues, address the issue, deal with it, and move on.