The Art of the Quarterly Review

Patrick Poh
3 min readApr 28, 2024

The first whispers of spring arrive with a familiar groan.

April, a month synonymous with blooming flowers and sunshine, also brings the looming shadow of tax filing deadlines.

Photo by Lee 琴 on Unsplash

Some dread the thought of paperwork, leaving it to fester until the eleventh hour, while others greet April with a sense of control, their tax information meticulously organized. But what separates these two camps? Why do some find tax season a breeze while others grapple with last-minute panic? The answer lies in a proactive approach — the art of the quarterly review.

Tax filing serves as a stark reminder of our financial health. It forces us to confront the cold, hard facts of our income and expenses. While some procrastinate, leaving receipts and invoices in a growing pile of forgetfulness, others greet the new year with a pre-existing system. They’ve meticulously documented their finances throughout the year, a testament to their organized nature. But this begs the question: is it just a matter of personality, or are there secret tools at play?

The truth is far simpler

There are no mystical tax-filing rituals. The key lies in systems and regular reviews. Organized individuals likely have established processes for capturing receipts, tracking expenses, and categorizing income streams.

Perhaps it’s a dedicated app, a color-coded spreadsheet, or even a neatly ordered folder system. Whatever the method, it allows them to efficiently collect and store information throughout the year. This eliminates the year-end scramble to decipher crumpled receipts and forgotten invoices.

The benefits extend beyond mere efficiency. A proactive approach significantly reduces stress and anxiety associated with tax season. Sorting through a mountain of uncategorized paperwork is a recipe for overwhelm, especially for business owners burdened by complex financial records.

Doing a monthly or quarterly review provides a chance to chip away at the workload, breaking it down into manageable chunks. Twenty minutes spent on a short review feels like a breeze compared to a weekend spent deciphering a year’s worth of financial chaos.

But what about the procrastinators? Why do some choose to leave things to the very last minute? Reasons abound: feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion, a lack of understanding, or simply “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Life’s commitments, from family obligations to work deadlines, often take precedence, pushing financial organization to the back burner.

This is precisely where the power of the quarterly review shines. It’s more than just about taxes; it’s a commitment to mindful time management.

The concept is simple: track your time and attention. Instead of 15 minutes of mindless scrolling through social media, redirect that energy towards updating your expense journal or financial spreadsheet. Make it easy, think of how to make it happen in the most convenient manner for yourself. These small, consistent efforts build over time, fostering a sense of control and reducing the stress of a looming deadline.

The quarterly review extends beyond expenses. Consider it an opportunity to understand your income streams. By tracking the sources and amount of income received, you gain valuable insights. Are there any untapped avenues for generating income? Could you potentially negotiate higher rates for your services? The knowledge gained through quarterly income tracking empowers you to make informed financial decisions.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Will you succumb to the annual tax-filing frenzy, or will you embrace the calm and control that comes with quarterly reviews? It’s a choice that transcends just tax season.

By prioritizing organization and taking control of your finances, you empower yourself to manage your time more effectively, reduce stress, and gain valuable insights. Embrace the quarterly review. It’s a small investment of time with a significant return on your peace of mind.