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Public Accounting Ruined This CPA’s Chance at the Olympics

As we pointed out earlier this week, being a CPA and a sexy Olympian is no easy task. It involves hard work, natural talent, and strategic poses to accomplish both. But even the hardest working, most talented athletes fall short.

Example: Alisha Williams, 30, of Colorado Springs. She competes in distance running, specifically the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, and marathon races. Ms. Williams, as you've probably gathered, is also CPA and according to her LinkedIn profile, she currently works for Westmoreland Coal Company but like many students of the debit and credit arts, she got her start in public accounting with BiggsKofford, a local firm in the Springs. She didn't make the Olympic team this year and one has to wonder if a job at a place like Westmoreland cut in to her training. 

What we do know is that the notion of work/life balance in public accounting is a joke. You can extrapolate from there that balancing work, life, and an Olympic-level training regimen is even more hilarious (read: like a cancer ward) and in the case of Ms. Williams, it probably cost her a shot at the Olympics when she was working at BiggsKofford: 

Williams says her training suffered when she was putting in 60-plus hour weeks as she built her accounting career. As she was studying for her CPA license and working in public accounting during tax season, she says, “I would run when I could, but I was working over 60 hours a week.”  

Williams says that her job is "[m]y number one priority" so it was clearly her choice to bang out tax returns first, run really fast second, but it still makes you shake your fist at the public accounting machine for getting her to believe that NOTHING – not even competing in the Olympics – could be more important than providing excellent client service and meeting deadlines.

Olympic Trial Athlete’s Day Job: Accountant [U.S. News]