As soon as the Halloween candy is gone, my husband starts getting ready for his busiest time of year at work.

Ed’s not a CPA -- he’s a retail manager -- but many of the things he does to prepare for the holidays, like hiring extra staff, reviewing last season’s goals and looking at this year’s projections, could just as easily apply to getting ready for tax season.

He spends hours poring over last year’s figures and this year’s goals to see where his team performed well and where they need to do better. He has planned his staff schedules for November and December to make sure he has adequate coverage for his busiest days. The holiday decorations and music are at the ready.

But of all of the pre-holiday preparation he does, the most critical thing he does to ensure a successful season is to prepare his staff.

Like many of you will do during tax season, Ed and his employees will log a lot of extra hours during the coming months to meet their goals. Eighteen-hour days are not uncommon. His store makes close to 60 percent of its profit for the year during the month of December.

He has already hired extra employees so they will be well-trained before the major Thanksgiving weekend rush. He had a staff meeting to review the store’s goals and to make sure his employees know what he expects of them and what they can expect of him. During down time, he spends time on extra staff training. He holds his team accountable by posting individual and store standards every week.

Ed also goes out of his way to show his employees he appreciates their hard work. On the days when the store stays open additional hours to accommodate last-minute shoppers, he brings breakfast and orders in dinner for the whole staff to boost morale. He rewards his employees for hitting their goals with movie tickets or a bag of their favorite candy.

He must be doing something right: The store has hit its goal every year for the past four years.

My point is, no matter how well-prepared you may be personally, you’re only as ready as your team is.

So, are you ready for tax season?

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