[IMGCAP(1)]I'm on a plane right now, on my way to attend a super cool event called South by Southwest—the biggest music and technology event of the year. And yes, it's almost March 15th, the heart of tax season, and I am leaving my office for a few days. How am I doing this?  Easy: thorough upfront planning.

Last August, I began planning for tax season. I set the goal of getting my firm to the point where I could be out in March and the firm could continue to run smoothly without me. I focused on business development items, such as bringing on additional staff to share the workload, implementing an efficient electronic workflow process, and moving my firm to the cloud for anytime/anywhere access.

I also worked on introducing all members of my staff to clients so that my clients would feel comfortable working with others in my absence. All of these items were geared toward taking me out of the role of technician, and allowing me to work ‘on’ my firm and not ‘in’ my firm. Getting to this point means that I can now seize new opportunities when they arise…even if they come at me in March.

Clearly, it all came together beautifully, because here I am, on a plane and on my way to an event called “CPAs Gone Wild!” at South by Southwest. In my next blog, I’ll bring you up to speed on the event; however, for now, I want to challenge you to make goals for next March.

Take some time after April 15th to really evaluate your firm and identify areas for improvement. Oh, and by the way, in two weeks I'm headed to North Carolina for a meeting with a potential new client—a large client! If I had not planned appropriately and made the changes I did last year, I would not be able to take advantage of either of these cool opportunities.

What new opportunities are you missing right now?