Why Tax Season Debriefs are Critical for Success

I know many of you are planning a tax season debrief with your team. The outcomes are typically two-fold: 1) Let your team get some things off their chest.  2) Develop an action item list.


The session needs to be constructive and do not let the team focus on the negative.  In order to keep it positive, always ask what went well with the function and ask that your team be constructive. There are various approaches. We know some firms prefer to have an administrative debrief and a separate technical team debrief.  We also know firms that prefer to use an anonymous survey to obtain more candid feedback then have a discussion once the results are tabulated.


Here are some questions that you can ask and customize to fit your firm.  This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list and is intended to start a conversation.



What went well?

If you could wave your magic wand, what could we have done differently?


Clients & Development:

What went well as it relates to serving clients?

What suggestions to you have to improve the engagement letter process or the engagement letter itself?

What suggestions do you have to improve the use of Portals?

What suggestions do you have to improve tax appointments?

What suggestions do you have to improve the client experience?

Were there any consistent feedback you heard from clients?

What suggestions do you have to sell more work during tax season that can be performed in the Summer/Fall?

Do we have the proper tracking mechanisms in place?

What additional client opportunities do you see?


Team & Culture:

What can we do to make sure you do an awesome job?

What recognition or praise for doing good work during tax season would you like?

What opportunities did you have to learn and grow during tax season?

Were you able to achieve your personal goals for tax season?

Were you able to achieve your professional goals?

What could we do to reduce the number of hours worked?

Did you like the food we provided?  If not, what suggestions do you have to improve the food?

During tax season, were you able to do what you do best?

If not, please explain, and how would you suggest you can solve that for next year?


Technology and Workflow:

What went well from a workflow perspective?

What do we need to do differently?

Are there any new technologies you are aware of that we should consider using?

What systems need to be improved to become more efficient?

What can be improved from a review perspective?

Is there a process that needs to be streamlined?

What materials and equipment do you need to perform your job efficiently?


Pricing, Value and Budgeting:

What went well from a pricing perspective?

What could we do to create more value for clients?

What could we do to articulate the value we are creating for clients?

What needs to be improved on pricing?

What went well with the budgeting process?

What can be improved with the budgeting process?



What went well with firm communication?

Did you appreciate the format of the team meetings?

What suggestions do you have for improvement with firm communication?


*Please let us know your suggestions on how the partners/principals can be more accessible during tax season.


Wrap Up:

If not addressed above, what suggestions do you have for improvement?


After-tax season debriefs are critical to the success of your firm.  You are creating an opportunity for your staff to be heard, gain key insights to areas of improvement as well as opportunities for growth and maximized profits.  Take the time over the next couple of weeks to invest in the future of your firm!



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