[IMGCAP(1)]Tax preparation is a very serious undertaking that needs to be managed and continuously improved.

This requires buy-in from partners, managers and the entire staff. The culture of the firm has to be where only the best work done the right way at the right time is acceptable. Here are some best practices you can consider adopting:

• Know, live and breathe that tax season is supposed to get better and make it so.

• Not working toward that end and having a tax season that is not better than last year is not growth and progress.

• Actually, I think it is stupid!

• Act now to make it better, or you deserve what you get!

• Stop repeating the past things you are not happy about —change some things!!!

• Insist on having work done right the first time—it needs to become part of your culture.

• Follow your systems and procedures or change them to what you actually do.

• Recognize that the right training is a great investment.

• Identify how you would like clients to think about you— and then act that way

• Be touchy-feely with your clients.

• Make clear communication part of your culture.

• Wow your clients, staff and their families.

• Understand fully that preparing taxes and offering superior client service is how you make your living and accumulate funds to secure your retirement and family’s future.

• Be excited and have fun!!!

These all work. Trust me!

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is partner at WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He is on the Accounting Today Top 100 Influential People List. He is the author of 24 books, including “How to Review Tax Returns,” co-written with Andrew D. Mendlowitz, published by www.CPATrendlines.com and “Managing Your Tax Season, Third Edition,” published by the AICPA. Ed also writes a twice-a-week blog addressing issues that clients have at www.partners-network.com. Art of Accounting is a continuing series where Ed shares autobiographical experiences with tips that he hopes can be adopted by his colleagues. Ed welcomes practice management questions and can be reached at (732) 964-9329 or emendlowitz@withum.com.