The January tax return rush is your own fault

Chatting with an accountant recently he told me he was amazed why so many clients leave their tax returns to the last minute.  He told me he chases clients throughout the year. He sends reminders and prompts. He has recently asked around his business networks to clarify why small business owners and investors do this. It became clear that there are typically 3 reasons:

  • They find the collation of their papers boring
  • They have more important things to do
  • It’s not a priority until the filing deadline is looming

My friend was frustrated by these replies but also satisfied. It’s not just his clients and it’s nothing to do with him.  All accountants struggle to cope with the January tax return rush but at least now he knows why.


There is only one reason for the January tax return rush and, I’m sorry to say but it is entirely the accountant’s own fault. I’ve been saying this in talks for years and offering solutions on how to overcome the issue.

Quite simply your clients leave things to the last minute because you let them do so.  Yes you do. And, yes, YOU could change things. There are three main ways to do this:

  1. Reference an earlier deadline and stop drawing your clients’ attention to the 31 January filing deadline. YOUR deadline is (say) 31 October. Treat it seriously and be as forceful around YOUR deadline as you have previously been re HMRC’s deadline.
  2. Establish a stepped fee structure whereby clients have to pay higher fees the later they produce the information to enable you to complete their tax returns. And stick to it.

What do you think the third option is?

Related posts:


10 minutes on: Social Media – without the hype

How to condense everything you know on a subject into 10 minutes? My approach has long been to use acronyms to give me some focus and structure. Here’s the one I’ll use for this talk:

S – Social vs Anti-Social – As explained here

O – Objectives Be clear on WHY before you start worrying about HOW

C – Consistency What will your target audience be interested in?

I – Identify yourself (profile and photo) – See point one on my 20 top twitter tips

A – Advertising is a turn-off – As explained here

L – LinkedIn vs twitter and facebook – I compared them here


M – MarketingIt’s Social MEDIA not Social MARKETING

E – Educate, stimulate, emulate – Entertain is good too.

D – Dare to be different – But, how different do you need to be?

I – Ignore the Idiots – Don’t Interact with them. Unfollow them, Unconnect from them

A – Allow time It’s not free and you won’t become successful overnight. Is it worth the time?

Like this post? You can now obtain my 10,000 word ebook containing loads more Social Media related insights, short-cuts, tips and advice aimed specifically at accountants. You can buy the book or download a summary for free here>>>


There are only two types of social media….

One that works for you….. and

One that doesn’t work for you

One that you enjoy…. and

One that you find a chore

One that is Social…. and

One that is Anti-Social

One that is random…. and

One that is focused

One where your profile photo enables people to recognise you when they meet you…. and

One with a pretty pointless photo or logo.

One where you determine how best to achieve YOUR objectives…. and

One where you copy other people who may have different objectives

One where your activities are focused on sharing to help or entertain others…. and

One where your activities are focused on selling and promoting your business

One where you follow real world focused advice…. and

One where you act by reference to assumptions made by self appointed social media experts

One where you are genuinely interested in other people…. and

One where you adopt a sales focused mentality

One that integrates with your other marketing activity…. and

One which becomes your only marketing activity

One that reaches your target audience…. and

One that reaches other social media advocates

One that is real…. and

One that is fanciful

One where you can post messages that remain private…. and

One where what you post can be seen by anyone

One that makes you money…. and

One that makes you friends

One where you really engage with other users…. and

One where you give the illusion of engaging with others (and vice versa)

One that involves you pursuing a Quality focused approach…. and

One that involves you pursuing a Quantity focused approach

One where your strategy is well thought through from the outset…. and

One where you pursue a succession of short-term tactics

One that you use to keep in touch with people you already know…. and

One where your main interactions are with people you don’t already know

One  where you ‘get it’… and

One where you don’t get it (yet)

One that is effective….and

One that is ineffective

Do please add your thoughts on this post in the comments box below

Like this post? You can now obtain my 10,000 word ebook containing loads more Social Media related insights, short-cuts, tips and advice aimed specifically at accountants. You can buy the book or download a summary for free here>>>


Is twitter for me? Ten NON-business reasons to be on twitter

Until you start tweeting it’s hard to get to grips with what it’s all about. And it’s even harder to decide if it’s something you would want to do.

The media make twitter seem almost ubiquitous and yet you struggle to see why you would want to join in. It all seems so pointless. It isn’t and I’ve addressed this fallacy before.

You may also have seen marketing focused explanations of the (alleged) business benefits of twitter. I will address some of these ideas in subsequent blog posts – without the hype! First though I want to highlight the NON-business reasons you might want to be on twitter. I’ve identified ten of them (so far!) And I would add that many people who use and enjoy twitter do so for one or more of these NON-Business reasons.


Twitter can be a lot of FUN; you can share views and pick up on interesting breaking news and trivia about your favourite sports, hobbies, teams and other non-work interests. You can also use it to pick up on work/business related real-time news, views and trivia too.

Many people tweet stories that interest, annoy or amuse them. You simply choose to ‘follow’ people who share your interests or who seem to tweet interesting stuff. This lets you fill in the gaps and gain a broader perspective than simply watching broadcast news, reading one daily paper, chatting with friends, listening to the radio/podcasts or reading your favourite website/mags.

Many people use twitter as a real-time search engine for hobby, personal, shopping or business related topics and for tv, film, holiday, travel and local issues. You can follow the tweets posted by local/national/international celebrities (from sports, film, tv, politics, science, business and every other field). You can gain insights and you can contribute to the discussion about such issues. This is often best done for searching for all tweets on a specific subject or that include a specific hashtag (#).

NB: Twitter takes some getting used to and it can also become obsessive. For more of my ‘introduction to twitter‘ type posts follow this link. Remember too that you only see the tweets of people you follow. You choose who they are. And you can stop following someone whenever you like. So you aren’t forced to read anyone’s tweets if they bore you.

The list of ten NON-business reasons to be on twitter

  1. To find out what’s going on
    • …. in the National news (reports through twitter tend to be faster than more traditional media)
    • ….in your business sector
    • ….as regards a specific topic that interests you – sports, hobby, politics, films, tv shows, radio, podcasts, IT, holiday destination, a specific celebrity, sports person, politician, journalist
      • ….locally
      • ….regionally
      • …at a holiday destination or somewhere you’re loved ones are based
  2. To elicit or simply listen to opinions on any of the above or products, brands, films etc. These may be shared by friends you know well, people you have met occasionally, journalists, celebrities etc or simply by virtual contacts.
  3. To find stuff out – by asking and getting answers to questions about your daily life (eg: computer issues), your plans or your friends.
  4. To be entertained – whether by famous people and their tweets or by your friends or new contacts who tweet amusing stuff either randomly or on topics in which you are interested.
  5. To be amazed – Sometimes it’s more than mere entertainment. Many people post tweets containing links that could make you go ‘wow’! You may be touched, inspired or motivated by the tweet or the item in the link.
  6. To make new friends – either virtually around the world or closer to home, as you choose.
  7. To connect up with old friends and contacts – if you find that they are active on twitter
  8. To attract interest to your blog or activities (remember we’re talking about NON-business blogs and activities on this post)
  9. To entertain or amaze your followers – SOME of whom will see SOME of your tweets
  10. To help other people – locally or more generally – by sharing tips, warnings and problems that you have encountered/resolved and which may benefit them and/or prevent them encountering the same issue. To reciprocate for all that you have gained.

NB: If you find this list helpful you might choose to tweet a link to it so as to help others who may also find it helpful 😉  (Some of the best tweets are those with links to blog posts AND a note of WHY the tweeter recommends the item). What are your NON-business reasons for being on twitter?  Please share your stories and thoughts as comments on this blog post.