Exposure Drafts: It’s Busy Season, But Don’t Be Too Busy For Money
Listen to Oh My Fraud, a podcast by Caleb Newquist and Greg Kyte, and get free CPE through Earmark.
4 Ways PBC Management Makes Busy Season Less Sucky
For CPAs, accountants, and auditors, busy season sucks. The stress can take a serious toll on your personal life, your relationships, and even your health. That’s because it’s hard to find time for things like diet, exercise, and those pesky “other people in your life” when you’re busy reconciling the list of outstanding client requests […]
Are You Ready For the BUSY SEASON FUN Calendar??
I have just been made aware of the existence of this Busy Season Fun calendar by way of the Journal of Accountancy podcast in which host Jeff Drew mentions “it’s about time for PCPS to publish their annual busy season fun calendar.” The what now? You can find it on this Private Companies Practice Section […]
Busy Season Problems: Somebody Please Get the IRS a Damn Scanner
We usually reserve this space on Going Concern for our tax preparer friends who have to deal with mostly client-initiated and other unexpected problems on a daily (hourly?) basis during busy season. And we’ll get to them next week as they near the home stretch of the April 15 18 filing deadline. But today I […]
Here’s a Photo From Saturday Night’s NASCAR Race That Sums Up Busy Season 2022 So Far
Based on what we’ve been seeing on #TaxTwitter over the past month, busy season 2022 is like the fiery last-lap, multicar wreck in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. And wouldn’t you know it, the car sponsored by Tax Slayer got absolutely trashed: Related articles: Busy Season Problems: ‘This […]
Happy Busy Season to All Who Celebrate
Happy first Monday of 2022! But let’s be real—nobody’s happy about being back at work today after the holiday break, especially auditors, who are embarking on another (or maybe their first) busy season. Busy season number 9. Let’s get it #DebitsEqualCredits #EBITDA pic.twitter.com/7FFTK8tcTD — Cory Callaghan (@corycallaghan) January 3, 2022 https://twitter.com/LiviaStrandberg/status/1477867111275921409 Not ready for busy […]
Today’s Trivia: Time Spent Checking For Stupid Mistakes Made By Clients
Q: How many hours in a week do accountants waste by manually checking client data for errors? a. Two hours b. Four hours c. Ten hours d. Twenty hours A: While it might seem like you guys are spending 20 hours or more each week during busy season dealing with bad data from clients and […]
Friendly Reminder: Take a Day Off, Who Cares
Many years ago, I had this somewhat demanding job that happened to also be a really fun place to work, so while it was stressful and the hours were long, I found myself reveling in this because I actually enjoyed it most days. Now, I realize this may be a foreign concept to some of […]
Here’s the Mentality You Should Have When Dealing with Clients This Busy Season, Courtesy of the Detroit Lions’ New Head Coach
On second thought, the whole kicking clients in the face and cannibalism thing will probably land you in hot water with your bosses … and the authorities: “[W]e’re going to kick you in the teeth, right? And when you punch us back, we’re going to smile at you. And when you knock us down, we’re […]
Here’s the Sign You’ve Been Waiting For From the Universe
Contrary to popular belief, you can in fact quit during busy season. Life’s too short to be so miserable.
How Are Auditors Handling the Start of Busy Season?
How’s everyone surviving their first Monday of the new year so far? Today is a double whammy for our auditor friends. Not only is it the first official workday of 2021 after holiday break but it’s also the start of the grueling marathon that is busy season. I went on Twitter to see how auditors […]
Yes, You Can Quit During Busy Season
Nearly 10 years ago to the day (10 years and one day, specifically), my esteemed former colleague Caleb Newquist wrote a post for this here then-new website entitled Infuriating Problem of the Day: Accountants Quitting During Busy Season. It’s important to note here that Caleb is former Big 4 himself (borderline debatable given he worked […]
Life at KPMG Will Consume Your Mind, Body, Soul, and Stomach
Is this what y’all at KPMG are being fed during these long busy season days/nights? If so, I’m sorry. View this post on Instagram A post shared by KPMG U.S. Careers (@kpmg_us_careers) Related article: KPMG’s Logo May or May Not Give You Heartburn
Life at Deloitte Sometimes Involves Drawing Overworked Superheroes
So let me get this straight: The ideal “Super Leader” is a woman who has bloodshot eyes, probably because she barely got four hours of sleep last night due to either being an auditor or a tax professional at Deloitte during busy season. Got it. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Life […]
Tax Season’s Greetings, Everyone
Coming off the heels of one of the worst tax seasons on record, the 2020 tax season can’t be any worse, can it? Well #taxtwitter has been kinda quiet so far today, the first day of tax season 2020, so you guys have either been super busy right out of the gate or you’ve had […]
Get Dialed In for Busy Season 2020 with These Remote Tax Prep Jobs
Winter is coming, as is Tax Season 2020. The folks at 1-800Accountant don’t want to see tax professionals left out in the cold, not putting their tax preparation skills to good use during busy season. So, the firm is looking to hire between 40 and 50 people nationwide to fill its remote seasonal tax preparer […]
The Six Kinds of Regret You’ll Experience Now That Busy Season Is Over
For weeks on end now your entire existence has revolved around busy season and all the misery that brings. Your significant other hasn’t heard from you in days and even your dog is suspicious of you when you finally arrive home late in the evening, suspecting you might be a burglar. Your best friend is […]
Maybe This Busy Season Video Will Get You Fired Up For the ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premier … Or Maybe Not
Full disclosure: I’ve never watched a single episode of “Game of Thrones.” I realize I’m in the minority here. It’s not that I don’t want to watch it; I’m just too cheap to buy HBO or HBO NOW. My wife and I started paying for Netflix two years ago because we were told all the […]
This Forbes Columnist Thinks You’re All a Bunch of Whiny B*tches
If you read Forbes contributor Peter J. Reilly’s recent post entitled Advice For The Looming Tax Deadline – No Fooling, you easily could have missed the jab at the end toward all you whiny losers complaining about how hard tax season is. I could waste a lot of characters here describing it, but you know […]
Zaza Pachulia’s Ex-Accountant Is Going to Jail But Not Until After April 30 Because Busy Season
You know it’s tax season when an accountant who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for identity theft is just too busy to go to jail right now. Such is the case for Randy Usow of Mequon, Wis., who agreed to plead guilty to one count of theft of government property and one […]
Some Guy Made a Game Called ‘Busy Season’ That’s Literally a Suicidal Dick Throwing Himself Off a Building
At least I think it’s a dick.
The IRS Has the Mother of All Nightmare Legacy Systems
Legacy systems are awful — so awful it’s the first thing I wrote about on Going Concern. To refresh your memory, legacy systems are obsolete software/hardware with so much technological baggage that they make you want to run away screaming, but you can’t for one reason or another. The most significant reason, unfortunately, is that […]
Busy Season Triggers Survivor Guilt in CPAs Working in Industry
Busy season. It’s the hardest time of year for me as a CPA. But I don’t work in tax. I don’t work in audit. I don’t even work in public accounting. I work in industry as a controller. Busy season is brutal for because of the lies and deception … because any time I interact […]
5 Ways to Upgrade Your Busy Season Business Travel
Are your frequent flyer miles starting to rack up? Busy season can be hard enough when your clients are local. Add travel and some sleep deprivation, and it can make even the most cheerful manager bite your head off. Here’s what I recommend to you so you’ll be well rested and able to respond with […]
A CPA’s Incomplete 2018 Busy Season Prep To-Do List
Cut holiday vacation short to read the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Implement “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” charge code. Cram 40 hours of CPE into 4 days. Stare at children to remember their faces. Document rationale for becoming a corporation. Refill Zoloft prescription. Write farewell emails to non-profit clients. Stock up on bubble wrap. […]
4 Weird Ways to Keep Your Sanity This Coming Busy Season
Busy season stress is no joke. When it hits and those 60-hour work weeks start piling up, where do you turn? You could (and probably will) drain every last drop out of the company coffee pot or slam green energy drinks composed of dubious ingredients. You’ll probably take a few Office Space-style breaks along the […]
Now’s the Time to Take a Long, Hard Look at Busy Season
Now that busy season is over, and you’ve had some time to yourself, work schedules go back to normal. Same old, same old. So it’s a good time to assess what you learned. Doing that can give you a picture of how your firm managed the stress of filing season—and, more importantly, how you did. […]
Everyone Suffering from Busy Season Depression: Grab Some Bubble Wrap, Stat
Is there anything better than popping bubble wrap? No. No there is not. The Los Angeles office of Cohn Reznick seems aware of that fact, as they spent part of the day yesterday de-stressing with a little contest: #fun #video, contest to #pop #bubblewrap – a great day with a “pop” theme for #stressrelief during […]
3 Ways CPA Firms Can Make Busy Season Burnout a Thing of the Past
With every busy season, I, and most everyone around me, met the occasion with dread. We knew burnout was inevitable. It was interesting to observe how attitudes shifted from first year associate up the ladder. First year staff typically met the occasion with anticipation and slight uncertainty. Professionals that had a few busy seasons under […]
Being a Great Place to Work During Busy Season Means More Than a Free Slice of Pizza
Back when I was a tax associate, my colleagues and I would watch the Hoops and Yoyo “It’s Sarcastic Wednesday.” The part that cracked me up the most was when they say, “I’ll do large amounts of free work for a slice of pepperoni!” But why is it so funny (but not really funny at the same time)?
How to Make the Most of Your Time Before Busy Season
To get your career conundrums addressed, email Rachel at [email protected] and your question may be featured on Going Concern.
Oh glorious November, you are so sweet to me. You give me a time of low billable hour goals, clients on vacation, and tons of admin hours. In a world of crazy deadlines and overtime, this month is like public accounting nirvana.
How to Cope With Post-Busy Season Depression
When busy season ends, it takes time for many accountants to adjust to the 40ish-hour workweek again. For those of you who don't suffer from the martyrdom complex the return to a somewhat normal life is a welcome change. But for others, there are different feelings: @going_concern an article addressing getting out of post busy […]
Crackin’ Under Pressure: Making Mistakes During Busy Season
As you may know or be experiencing right this very second, it’s a stressful time of year for accountants and the people around them. Whether you’re working on tax returns or year-end audits or any other professional number crunching activity, that stress can cause people to make mistakes.
How Will Your Team Air Its Grievances This Busy Season?
If you are leading a team this busy season, it's likely that a conflict or two may arise and passive-aggressive behavior may result. When you have a group of people sitting on their asses for hours, day after day, not seeing daylight for months on end, it's inevitable. When passive-aggressive behavior does happen, there are […]
New Year’s Resolutions That Will Make Busy Season Less Awful
Happy New Year, y'all! I spent New Year's Eve watching my beloved Michigan State Spartans lose the Cotton Bowl and compiling a list of resolutions so we can kick off Busy Season 2016 right! You should be able to keep these going for at least a week or so. Learn something sweet in Excel –- […]
What Did You Learn This Busy Season?
All of those busy season problems must've taught you something.
This T-Shirt Sums Up Busy Season
From our pals at the Maryland Association of CPAs: I suggested on Facebook that this could be your new favorite Saturday t-shirt but some of you are probably ready to order 30 of these and wear one every day. Earlier:#BusySeasonProblems: Bad Dreams, Late Night Housekeeping, More Bad Dreams
#BusySeasonProblems: Avoiding Scurvy
Yesterday I realized –- to my feigned horror — that I haven’t eaten a piece of fruit in over five months. Five months? Yeah, something like that. I’ve been eating firm-provided meals at my desk and pilfering Rice Krispy Treats and pretzel sticks from the audit room snack drawer for as far back as I […]
92-Year-Old Accountant Shares His Secret to Surviving Busy Season
Nope, not copious amounts of alcohol.
McGladrey CEO Embarks on 37th Busy Season, But Who’s Counting?
Fresh from the tip box this week, we discover that McGladrey CEO Joe Adams is "personally" trying to get his people in the spirit of the season. Busy season, that is. Yes, please send your kid Joe Adams' regards for celebrating her birthday without you yet again. After all, it's all about that McGladrey experience!
CalCPA Basically Confirms That Busy Season Will Probably Kill You
So, CalCPA has this interesting article about managing stress that is definitely worth a read but it's the following description that really stood out to us: The accounting profession, much more so than most, has been known for its high stress environment and culture. I’ve seen an increasing lack of healthy life balance result in […]
Make the Best of Busy Season, You Big Babies
On Monday morning, a new face joined me in the elevator. He donned professional attire and wore a sullen look. “Back to work?” I asked. “Yes and not looking forward to it,” he replied. In contrast, I was in a completely different space. After taking ten days off, I was returning to four weeks of […]
Don’t Eat Hours, You Idiots
With yet another busy season approaching, it's time to open Pandora's Box yet again and talk about how you're billing your time. Specifically, how you're not billing your time. Like sleeping with coworkers and sending inappropriate gifs over the firm's messaging system, eating hours is something everyone does but doesn't really talk about. Does that […]
McGladrey Reminds Audit Staff to Stay Billable This Busy Season
McGladrey isn’t just clinging to the billable hour, they’re trying to put a ring on it.
Before You Leave Public Accounting, Consider This
Fall is in the air, and that means that if you’re in your mid-twenties, ply your trade in public accounting, and are prone to even the occasional moment of introspective thought, you’re probably considering quitting your job right about now. Why? Because sometimes, public accounting sucks. And rarely does it suck more than during the […]
According to Research, You Are Fat Because Busy Season
I bet you have a half-eaten donut sitting next to you right now. You might want to polish it off before you read this. It's from Yahoo so don't bet the bank on it but, hey, just passing it along: But here's what's interesting. Sometimes the extra pounds can be blamed on the work environment. […]
The Forgotten Spouses of Public Accounting
We talk a lot about what you all go through during busy season, but what about those people in your life who barely see you for several months out of the year? You know, your spouse, your kids, your dog? What are they going through day after day, watching you grind out the very last bit of effort you have just to take out the garbage?
Why Busy Season Is an Exercise in Futility
A reader sent along this article on how campaign managers can easily work 60 – 80 hours during campaign season (oh the horror!) and promised we'd find an interesting bit buried in it. Sure enough, how about this? Burnout sets in fast. For every 10 hours of weekly overtime, you’ll need an extra day off […]
Someone at EY Didn’t Get the Memo About Coming in This Weekend
Just in case you weren't planning on enjoying the weekend you may not even get a chance to enjoy, EY sent out a friendly reminder on Twitter (just go ahead and twist the knife, guys): It's almost here … #HappyFriday #TGIF #BetterWorkingWorld http://t.co/YbhPJ7CI5b — EY US Careers (@EY_CareersUS) February 28, 2014 Yeeeeaaaahh, I'm gonna need […]
Going Concern Presents: Public Accounting Horoscopes
Wondering what the stars have in store for you today? Wonder no more, GC faithful!
Seven People Who Have a Worse Busy Season Than You
Just in case you're throughly entrenched in the FML stage of busy season, we thought we'd take this opportunity to remind you the grass is always greener on the side where the dog likes to drop a deuce. So remember, no matter how bad you think you have it, surely someone has it worse. Like […]
The Urban Dictionary Definition of Busy Season Is the Most Depressing Thing Ever
Life at Deloitte should really make this the link in their Twitter bio.
One in Three Accountants Getting a Little on the Side
Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean work. The scoop from CPA Trendlines: If you’re reading this at home, or on your own time, you’re not alone. Today more than one-third of accountants are already moonlighting in “side” practices or home offices – especially during busy season, according to a CPA Trendlines survey […]
Busy Season Survival Tips For People Who Probably Don’t Do That Well at Life Either
CPA Trendlines has a list of "busy season survival tips" that, while useful to some, might be as rudimentary as reminding a living thing to breathe and ingest food-type matter more than once a year to stay alive. Like: Relax EXCELLENT TIP, I'm sure no one who has ever been stressed out ever thought to […]
KPMG Wants to Be Sure Its People Know They Are Appreciated
While we here at GC are taking the day easy (sorry to all of you who are working your fingers to the bone, truly), KPMG is busy showing its people thanks according to this report from SoCal: KPMG may be well behind the salary curve in the Pacific Southwest (see here) but where else are you […]
Is There an Auditor Exodus in the Works Or Is It Just Business as Usual in the Big 4?
Finally, a somewhat challenging "question" has found its way into the tip box: Hello Going Concern! I am writing to you because I have come to the realization that there is a bubble forming and it is on the brink of erupting, and no I am not talking about the internet bubble–I am talking about […]
These Are the Videos That Made Your Busy Season Slightly Less Awful
For some reason, earlier this year we asked you to submit videos of your busy season exploits as part of some fake contest. The idea was haphazardly thrown together and not taken that seriously, but for whatever reason1 the post sat up top for months. Anyhoo, busy season has been over for everyone for at least a week so I guess we'll wrap this thing in old newspaper and put a bow on it, so we can all move on with our lives. Right? Right.
Invigorating During Busy Season, You’re Doing It Wrong
9 Tips for Invigorating Weary Brains, Bodies and Balance Sheets via the AICPA Insights blog may not be the most cutting-edge piece of accounting journalism you've ever read but it is full of useful ideas to survive busy season such as eating breakfast and getting your rest. Gee, what would people do if they didn't […]
Let’s Make a #BusySeason Playlist
Colin had the nerve to come to my state (Virginia) and do some douchey school tour so you all are stuck with me this week, in case you haven't figured it out by now. The accounting news is slow and the CPA exam is played so let's collab on a busy season playlist while the […]
Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology, Day 2
Busy season is like war. Okay maybe not, but it's hell anyway. There are no rules on how you survive it, but you MUST survive it. And if that means taking that last slice of pizza and hiding it in your drawer for later then by God, YOU MUST TAKE THAT SLICE OF PIZZA. Oh, Pete was late getting to the team lunch and didn't get to eat? TOO BAD. You're going to want that cured meat and refined flour in about 3 hours when you'll need your 4th wind.
Here Are Some Bad Busy Season Role Models
In the spirit of busy season, we figured this would be a good opportunity to bring back a few role models you shouldn't be molding yourself after if you want to get along with your team and have a job next busy season. Take it or leave it, these are just suggestions. 5. The guy […]
Apparently, Busy Season Instagrams are a Thing Now
Who knew? mnbinkley might be the Kim Kardashian of busy season if she keeps this up.
It’s Gotten to the Point During Busy Season Where People Are Taking Mental Health Breaks in Bathroom Stalls
It's March. Some of you are tired. Some of you are malnurished malnourished. Some of you are thisclose to crawling under your desks and curling into the fetal position until someone comes by to spur you back into action. And for some, only a bathroom stall can provide the stillness and quiet that a frantic mind […]
All’s Unfair on Valentine’s Day During Busy Season
Today is Valentine's Day, and there are a lot of pissed off accountants because of it. Every year busy season robs us of all of the most random American holidays: Groundhog Day, April Fools' Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Valentine's Day, to name a few1. Today, on top of the pressure to not disappoint the partner […]
It Appears Some Ernst & Young Employees Cope with Busy Season by Stress Eating
Maybe 40 Chicken McNuggets is a square meal for some. Or maybe there was a bet involved here. We can't really know the full story, but apparently these were put down the other day: Lunch time shenanigans, courtesy of 1 of my seniors and a staff…turns out eating 40 chicken nuggets isn't too hard… twitter.com/EYstaff/status… […]
Come Hell (Caused by a Window Heat Unit) or High Water (From a Fire Hose), CPA Will Be Back at Work ASAP
The Shelby Star in North Carolina reports that a fire caused by a window heat unit at a CPA's office resulted in "moderate damage" to the building. By the grace of God (or whatever) all of Greg Blalock's files were saved "as well as most of the computers" but, you get the impression that he's […]
Clearly, Tax Season Would Be Better If It Just Had More Cowbell
Busy season is not fun. If you pretend it's fun or if you expect me to pretend it's fun, you're an ass. Now, I get it. Taxes are a big part of the reason I have a job, and I'm glad to have a job. So in a backdoor kind of way, I'm grateful for […]
Enter the Going Concern Busy Season Video Contest For Your Chance at Cash and Fabulous Prizes*
Because it's been way too long since we've had a great video (certain drunk folks excluded), TPTB had the great idea to sponsor a Going Concern video contest. If you've ever wanted fame and fortune – or rather, infamy and possible risk of losing your gainful employment — now is your chance. The requirements are […]
An Ex-PwC Senior’s Over-the-top Farewell Email Is a Sign That Busy Season Is Upon Us
We've receieved the first ridiculous farewell email of 2013 and it continues the trend of TMI professional good-byes that go viral among the public accounting industry. Only by the stroke of luck did the following farewell email end up in our inbox. You see, we've been informed and confirmed that it had, in fact, it […]
Here’s an Unconfirmed Account of Ernst & Young’s Flexible Scheduling in Action
If you take the time to poke through the profiles of the accounting firms on this year's FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For, you would find the following under Ernst & Young's "What Makes It So Great?": Flexible scheduling at the accounting firm allows team members to choose one night each week during busy season […]
Going Concern’s Guide to a Healthy Busy Season: Because No One Should Die at Work
We get tons of reader questions and while we can’t answer all of them, we want them anyway. Send us your best questions, career conundrums, and work-life problems to [email protected] Not an inside tip, as much as a post suggestion: Busy season diet? What to eat, how to not be fat, etc. This is important question. Sure, […]
Developing: Ernst & Young Auditor’s Life Is About to Become a Living Hell
Much like the flu, it's far too early to say how bad this busy season will be. But this particular case doesn't sound good: We have about 10 days between when the client closes their financials and the earnings release…going to be an intense 10 days… — Life at EY (@EYstaff) January 15, 2013 We'll […]
Here Are Some Office Olympics Ideas for Your Accounting Firm’s Fall Busy Season
Did you get passed over for that promotion? Not sure what dish to whip up for the Labor Day potluck at the boss's house? Need a new mobile app suggestion for those bathroom breaks? Email us your dilemmas and queries so that we may put your mind at ease. Undoubtedly some of you are still […]
Ernst & Young FSO Will No Longer *Officially* Be Asking Employees to Clock Mandatory Hours
It's been quite the past few days inside Chez Turley with people jumping up and down about their compensation numbers and the firm rolling out a new bonus structure. If that wasn't enough excitement for you, then let the news that the firm's FSO group will officially discontinue the busy season requirement of 55 chargeable […]
Ernst & Young Tax Associate Forced to Deal with the Slobs Around Him
We all know that when you're in the throes of busy season, a key to an effective team is having people spend as much time at their desks as possible. When the pressure is on, even spending a few minutes to take in some natural light or fresh air could mean the difference between a […]
Reminder: You Could Win a Kindle Fire If You Follow Going Concern on Twitter
There are precisely two weeks left to enter Going Concern's Twitter promotion. Up to this point, you may have thought that entering the online cluckhouse known as Twitter was an awful idea because "I don't get it," or "Isn't it really just for celebrities?" Well, it's true that you probably don't get it right now, […]
You Should Update Your Résumé Today
Yes, it's Wednesday, otherwise known to some of you as, "half way through a week that I have no days off," but what many people don't realize is that busy season is the perfect time to be updating your résumé. This post is more geared to be a gateway to productive commentary, so read and then […]
Follow Going Concern on Twitter and You Might – MIGHT! – Win a Kindle Fire
As promised, we're launching a new campaign to get you through the final weeks of busy season and this time we're incorporating everyone's favorite virtual gabfest, Twitter. After experimenting with the Daily Grind eNewsletter for some time, we've decided to focus more on something that won't involve clogging your inbox. Following our Twitter feed is […]
Accountants Coping with Busy Season: Booze or Spreadsheets?
Once again, we take a peak at what our friends across the pond are talking about because you guys are clearly working to hard to email us anything of interest: Over the weekend I have put in the [sic?] hours working. Not by force, just to overcome the feelings of negativity. I have found getting […]
An Accountant’s Tickmark for Life
It's March 1st and many of you have endured over a month of the unspeakable hell that is busy season already. You've worked late, risen early, eaten countless items out of the vending machine, considered adult diapers, read Going Concern, wished for a quick death, among other things. In short, your lives have ceased to […]
Watch These Big 4 Auditors Pull a Mildly Humorous Prank on Their Intern
Allegedly, this stunt was pulled earlier this morning in a Big 4 audit room somewhere in the Boston area. If you'd like to claim responsibility for this stroke of genius or have other samples to share, email us.
Analysis: Are Clients Being More Dickish Than Usual or Are Accountants Just a Little Too Sensitive?
It's been quite some time since we checked in with our friends across the pond and since many of you may be dealing with client relation issues yourself, this seems like as good of an opportunity to discuss all the fun you're having. I know it's our busiest time of year and maybe that's making […]
Here Are Some Ideas for Surviving the Upcoming Busy Season
It's that time of year again, folks. Holiday parties are wrapping up. Some of you are trying to squeeze every drop of water out of the CPA stone. And from the chatter we've been hearing, this busy season could be one of the hardest in years. Chalk this up to the fact that voluntary turnover shot […]
Hiring Watch ’12: KPMG Is Looking for a Few Good Temporary Auditors
Busy season is right around the corner and for many auditors, that means hating your life a little more than usual. KPMG is acutely aware of this, and in order to help lighten the load this year, the firm is hoping you know some high quality auditors who won't mind grinding out three months of […]
Is It Time To Start Fresh at a New Accounting Firm?
Ed. note: Need career advice or a last minute sweet potato recipe? career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll stuff you full of wisdom.
After two years at a national mid-sized firm I’m seriously considering a lateral jump to either another mid-size or local firm. Through some bad luck and my own failure to balance work and my parental responsibilities (aka, put the spouse and kids completely on the backburner), I have gained a reputation among some of the higher-ups in my office for not being committed. While I believe this perception is unfair (I get all my work done on time and on budget), hat it is preventing my promotion to Senior. I don’t want to be in public accounting any longer than I have to, but would like to make the Senior level.
I’d like to stay with my current firm, but I’m concerned that I’m in too deep a hole now to climb out. Almost all the clients I was in line to inherit have been acquired, and I haven’t been picked up on as many engagements as I’ve lost. So even if I get good ratings on my jobs, I am pretty sure that my utilization figures are going to be ugly. A blank slate, full schedule, and even the chance at making Senior earlier are very appealing right now. But is a lateral jump worth the risk? Which is better (or worse) on a résumé: 2.5-3 years with one firm and not making Senior or 2 years with one firm as an associate and 1 year with a different firm as senior?
During my time in and around public accounting, I have found the promotion from Associate to Senior Associate to be a fairly automatic process. Come to work, do your work, make yourself available to go the extra mile (even if it’s not needed), don’t knock up the administrative assistant in the coat closet at the holiday party, and you’re handed the title (instead of a paycheck). Several top notch and newly minted seniors jump ship for private, further justifying the promotion of average Associates to Senior. For you not to be made Senior in the normal time period, I’m going to assume you screwed up somewhere.
From the leadership’s view, public accounting thrives on firm loyalty and employee trust. Whether it’s justified or not, you’ve been labeled as someone that management cannot trust. Somewhere along the line you must have done something to challenge these fundamental rules. The majority of partners and managers still to this day believe in the mantra that “I went through busy seasons of hell when I was young, so you can/should/deserve to, too.” Silly or not, it’s part of the code. So if I understand your statement above regarding family and work/life balance, you didn’t communicate fully with your managers/partners that you needed time with your young family. More likely is that you didn’t make your own “sacrifices” to make the work up: working from home in the evening after kids are in bed, bringing work home on weekends, etc. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t; what matters is that you need to accept the fact that your clients are being ripped from your ownership – this does not happen unless you’re dropping the ball.
You’re up against a challenge by staying at your current firm. Considering your attitude toward your career is, “I don’t want to be in public accounting any longer than I have to” you should work on your résumé this weekend and apply to other firms. The time between now and January is a hot hiring period for CPA firms of all sizes, but be sure to focus on the smaller, regional firms. You’ll have better luck finding the work/life balance you require. That said, do not think that you’ll automatically be handed the title of Senior this fall. A firm will want to see how you do as a experienced associate (how you work with management, the quality of your work, etc.) before trusting you to lead their associates.
Trust. There’s that pesky word again. Taking a busy season to prove yourself at a new firm will be a better use of your time than if you stayed where you are to fight the gossip mongers and labels that are undoubtedly floating around your office. Accept the challenge of proving yourself at a new firm – for the sake of your career and the benefit of your family.
While you’re sitting around the house this weekend, work on the following:
• Updating your résumé
• Updating your LinkedIn account (describing the industries you work on, add a nice – but not Sears photo studio nice – headshot, etc.)
• Researching the CPA firms in your area
• Digging up a recruiter’s contact information
Big 4 Senior Wants to Know If Her Family Planning Scheme Is Crazy
Ed. note: Are you in the middle of a career conundrum that could use some third-rate advice? Email us at [email protected] and we just surprise you with some sensibility.
I work in audit at a Big Four firm in Europe. I’m starting my second senior year and I’ve received good evaluations so far (B+ on my first year,
and then A’s on my second and third years). I love the job, but I know I won’t stay forever (too many long nights, plus I just don’t think
I’d like to be manager). I’m 25, I’ve been married for 2 years and I want kids. I want to start trying, keep working through pregnancy, take the usual time off after birth (paid by government), and return to work part-time. Then after some time I’d probably look for a job elsewhere to work full time (but not Big Four hours).
I haven’t heard of anyone being pregnant during their senior years. How crazy is my plan? Will my senior manager have a heart attack when
I tell him I’m pregnant? Should I wait to try to get pregnant and look for another job with more normal hours?
Greetings from across the pond. I’ll do my best to help with your questions, but seeing that I am neither a) pregnant nor b) part of the busy season cycle, I hope the GC.com community can pitch in their own advice. My advice is based on a combination of what I’ve seen here in New York, my general knowledge of Big 4 firms, and what I think (or hope) is common sense.
EU: I haven’t heard of anyone being pregnant during their senior years. How crazy is my plan? Will my senior manager have a heart attack when I tell him I’m pregnant?
DWB: The timing of your pregnancy and pending childbirth will determine how your senior manager takes the news. Generally speaking (again, from what I see here in the States), it’s better from a career move perspective to be pregnant during busy season than to give birth and be out of the office during final reviews, sign-off’s, etc. So, conceiving in the next few months shouldn’t pose too much of an issue.
Let’s say your nine month clock kicks off in October; you’re looking at a July baby. Like the rest of your life, working through busy season will require an adjustment on your part and open communication with your team will be essential. Summer babies are a very common and oftentimes planned with busy season in mind.
EU: Should I wait to try to get pregnant and look for another job with more normal hours?
This question contradicts with what you said earlier in your email, so I’m going to say stay where you are for now. You’re doing well at your firm, and your job there might even act as a rock as you transition into parenthood. I suggest taking advantage of the support groups your firm has in place, and seek out the advice of senior employees who balance work and parenting already.
Good luck with starting your family! GC’ers – what kind of advice can you provide to our hopeful accountant-and-mother-to-be?
New Audit Associate Details Her First Busy Season Via the McGladrey Blog
Who knew that being able to ask all the questions you want is how you have a good busy season?
Via Success Starts Here, the McGladrey career blog meant to give you “[a] view into what it’s like to work for McGladrey”:
Starting as a new hire in Audit at the beginning of busy season was a little intimidating since not only were the hours lengthy but there was so much to learn. Would I be able to learn and understand things quickly? Were the clients nice? Would my team have the time or patience to sit down and teach me about the Financial Services industry? Those were the questions running through my mind during the first few days of orientation.
As I progressed through busy season, the hours got longer and the work load became heavier. I noticed the more work I was assigned the more questions I would ask. Thankfully, my team was very easy to work with since they were more than happy to take time out of their busy schedules to sit down and walk me through certain audit procedures. Knowing that I was free to ask any of my superiors questions made my first busy season experience that much easier.
The associate goes on to describe a bright spot in her busy season, 20 minutes taken to eat cupcakes sitting outside with the Private Equity gang. “Sitting outside and eating a simple cupcake made a world of a difference for the rest of the day,” she writes. Can you imagine having the kind of job where you appreciate the opportunity to take a cupcake break? Oh wait, I forgot who I’m writing for…
Not to be distracted by memories of that cupcake, Emmy wraps up on a positive note (it is unclear whether or not this is a requirement to post on the Success Starts Here blog) “As busy season came to an end, not only had I learned so many new skills but I also kept thinking to myself ‘It wasn’t that bad.’ Even though the hours are long and the work can be a little tougher in the beginning, working with a great team can make a world of a difference. It reminds me that I’ve made a great choice by choosing to work at McGladrey.”
Conveniently enough, McGladrey has added a jobs tab to its Facebook page if this entices you. All you self-loathing masochists out there know what to do.
Bonus Watch ’11: PwC Gives Most of the Staff a Pat on the Back
Along with last Friday’s news of “exciting changes” coming in the compensation structure, we’ve received word a little bonus paid out PwC’s last run:
I’m a little surprised no one has emailed you about the bonuses that were paid out this last pay period to PwC associates and seniors. This wasn’t across the board to everyone like the first December bonus [Bonus Watch ‘10: PwC Holiday Payouts Coming In]. I think first years all got $500 (since they didn’t receive the first December bonus) then everyone else received a bonus that was tied to performance/utilization (and I’m told some individuals received nothing if the managers/partners thought they didn’t cut it). I’m curious what the payouts were in other markets.
I’m a second year senior in the Midwest market and got $1200. I know of another senior up for manager that received more than that. I think this is separate from whatever changes they’re going to announce this week about our pay structure. Pretty much the message I got from my partner was this was something like a down payment on the year end bonuses, which makes me believe when our year end bonuses are announced, they’re going to immediately bring up the money they gave us in December (two bonuses for some) and then this, and say that’s why our year end bonuses are lower.
The webcast is supposed to be today but we don’t have the details and haven’t heard anything yet, so keep us updated.
Comp Watch ’11: Grant Thornton Auditors Want Some Love After a Tough Busy Season
From the mailbag:
Apparently, management finally recognizes that this was a real shitty busy season and as a last ditch effort to keep hemorrhaging seniors, is going to give some large bonuses and raises. Audit is to get increased comp because of how bad it was on our side. I mean GT-Chicago lost 3 seniors right before and 3 during busy season. Plus, we had a team working on a restatement that were working 80-100 hour weeks since November. I know GT will never pay out like the Big 4, but I’m curious to see if we’re in the ballpark this time around.
Who doesn’t love aggravated Grant Thornton auditors on a Monday morning? Frankly (and I know I’m not alone here), I’ll be floored like an Animal Kingdom Superfecta ticket holder, if GT pays out like the Big 4. However, because Stephen Chipman and GT have been on such a tear the past year – shedding less dynamic offices, making dynamic acquisitions – it’s possible some at GT may see better raises this year but it I’m guessing it won’t be the audit practice.
But our tipster’s email seems fairly optimistic (in a bitter, burned out auditor sort of way) since the attrition variable seems to be in full effect. If GT SAs are indeed heading for the exits, then perhaps there will be some pleasantly surprised GT dynamos after last year’s disappointment. Keep us updated.
Going Concern Presents: You’ve Survived Another Busy Season Giveaway
Yes, yes. There are still a few days left (12 to be precise) until tax season is officially over but for many of you the worst is over and TPTB figured we could drop this news on you now. Details on fabulous prizes after the jump.
Here’s the dealio. Follow this link to sign up for the Daily Grind enewsletter and you’re automatically entered to win one of the following:
• One Grand Prize of an iPad 2 valued @ $500
• 1 Airline Gift Card valued @ $300
• 2 Best Buy Gift Cards valued @ $100
•20 Going Concern Prize Packs valued @ Priceless
For those of you that are already signed up, don’t worry, you’re entered automatically. Contest ends May 5th. Like I said, entry is easy – just jump over the You Survived Another Busy Season Giveaway page and sign up for the newsletter and you’re in it to win it.
Whoever Founded ‘National Employee Appreciation Day’ Probably Never Worked as an Accountant During Busy Season
That’s right team, March 4th marks National Employee Appreciation Day and if you happen to have a deadline today or just got Lumberged into working the weekend, you’re definitely not feeling appreciated.
Doubly ironic is the news from the latest list from Forbes that says that “Accounting” is the 6th Happiest Job in America. That is followed up by “Finance at #7 and “Legal” at #10. On the one hand, Forbes has these professions in the correct order – accountants are generally less miserable than those in finance or law but the fact that they appear in the top ten is laughable. Of course now that we have In a JIT, perhaps the happy ranking is slightly more believable.
Employee Appreciation Day 2011 [CBS]
In Pictures: The 10 Happiest Jobs In America [Forbes]