“A lot of CPAs would agree that last year was the worst tax filing season […]
Not that we need to tell any of you working on a LAF but marking the occasion seems appropriate. For those of you would like to know just what the hell it is we’re talking about, March 1st is the 10-K deadline for large accelerated filers (market cap of $700 million or more and few other conditions).
The sleepovers and MSG overdoses are almost over! Plus, now you can dump your busy season bitch. Rejoice!
Actually, not so fast. Whether or not next Monday’s deadline brings an end to your busy season is another story. Some of you may be lucky enough to coast for the next month or so but since staffing was an issue for more teams than usual this year, we’re guessing most of you will get to hop on another team to help them cross the finish line.
For those of you not on an LAF, you’re probably relieved if you happen to be getting an extra set of hands in the coming weeks. And then there are those of you that don’t work on public clients at all that probably need the help but won’t be getting it for another two weeks when the next deadline passes. Even then you might not get the extra help you need.
Well, shit. Maybe we shouldn’t have brought it up.
Here it is the second week of February and we’re concerned that many of you are working too hard. We’re guessing that many of you are already having nightmares about your senior/manager/partner putting condiments all over your work and then eating them while you watch in horror.
However your busy season is going, we here at GC decided to put our heads together to give you a list of some of the things about busy season that make it such a bitch; not to remind you of them but to let you know that we feel your pain. These appear in no particular order and were created by our own sick minds so if anything is missing you’ll have to point out the omissions.
• Gaining weight – Unless you’re a die-hard gym rat, your exercise regiment has probably been paired back significantly. Combine that with the all the cheap soda and takeout you’re eating on a nightly basis, that button on your pants is hanging on for dear life.
• Losing sleep – As we mentioned, work dreams seem to be part of many accountant’s busy season routine. Maybe it isn’t dreams for you; maybe you just wake up at 3 am thinking about the meeting you have coming up that day and you can’t get back to sleep so you throw on the business casual uniform and get to the office at 4 am to start your day. OR maybe you’re just working so many hours that the time between your departure and arrival times at work have shortened precipitously.
• Your busy season plan has been completely shot to hell – There’s a some saying about a road, intentions and Hell or something that we can’t remember but it basically means however good your plans were they probably hit a snag somewhere along the way and now you’re scrambling. When we asked our Tweeps about their busy seasons we got one response “it’s all about planning and execution.” Right. That execution is the tricky part.
• You’ve somehow ended up in an unexpected relationship – The busy season bitch if you will. Let’s not pretend it’s not happening people. One of you made an awkward advance and now you’ve got a situation on your hands. Whether it’s someone on your team or a client contact, more often than not, this ends badly. A band aid breakup is needed.
• Hours – Face it; this is the cause of all your pain. Regardless of what your teams do to make things bearable, the hours are just a bitch. Sitting on your ass, in front of that computer, listening to the person next to attempting to burp quietly while sucking down five sodas a day is about to drive you postal. Of course there are the sickos out there that somehow gear up every day to put in another 14 hours but those demented bastards plug in when they go home.
Happy Friday CPA Exam munchkins! For the self-loathing types that are going through busy season and sitting for an exam, let’s discuss what you should be doing in the two weeks before your exam, not how to quit your job (not my line of expertise).
At this point, you should be through lecture videos and homework at least once. Really? You have two weeks left! If you’ve been disciplined up to this point, you’re feeling comfortable with most of the MCQ.
A final review at this point is essential. You have enough time to go back over weak areas and give everything a last look over. If you have software or your firm blew a bunch of money on overpriced programs to do this for you, use it. If you’re going with just a book, take a look at questions you’ve gotten wrong more than once and review those areas in the text.
Though we all know it’s illegal to discuss what’s actually on the exam, there are plenty of blogs and forums that share “commonly tested” items, many of which are updated often. The CPANet forums are a perfect example of candidates openly sharing their experiences and identifying common testing patterns. The AICPA Board of Examiners used to give paper and pencil candidates a COPY of their exam as they left so don’t let partners tell you it was way more rough back in their day. Still, there are channels available; it’s up to the candidate to use them.
The BoE has also committed to faster scoring and a continued evolution of exam content. They do not expressly state what that means for candidates, that’s why it’s important to ask questions and know about changes. The only real signals they’ve sent so far are that they are excited to start testing IFRS years before it is implemented in the US and the computerized exam is due for more changes in the years ahead. And? Get it over with now, whether or not BEC will be easier with communications but an extra half an hour.
Anyway, the last week. It’s your last chance to review weak spots and work through practice questions once more. I know you’re pissed at me for not writing “now you can screw off and play PS3 after 16 hours of work” but that’s not really how it works.
At this point, you shouldn’t expect to feel entirely confident and that’s okay; focus only on the last few, most heavily-tested areas. You should already know what these are, if they don’t, put off your exam and start asking questions or reading textbooks. Most CPA Review programs (even the cheap ones) give you some idea of what these areas are.
Hope that helps. On the next >75, we’ll talk about what “simulataneous IFRS implementation” really means for FAR unless you have a CPA exam question, in which case I’ll save my anti-IFRS rant for a different Friday.
While Deloitte rings in the new year with generosity, E&Y has apparently taken a different approach.
One of our sources in the Ernstiverse has told us that busy season is being extended by two weeks this year. The first “official” week is this week (moved up one week from its usual spot) and there will be an additional week on the back end (first week in April as we understand it). This means mandatory 55 hours weeks are in full effect, so find some work people.
Oh! And it’s also our understanding that this week, “roundtables” are going on in the audit practice. We don’t know what those are exactly but it sounds sorta serious and it’s definitely not billable, so enjoy making up the time. If you’ve had the pleasure of attending one of these sit-downs, let us know how it went and keep us updated with other details.
You may have noticed that the posting schedule here at GC has ran a bit longer the past few days. This is no accident. We were given a friendly reminder on Monday:
Caleb, this is busy season, I expect review comments an hour later for the next few months. That is all.
Well! Since we’re always with you in spirit, we’ll be happy to oblige this request.
We failed to mention it in our outlook on Tuesday since we figured it was understood that the new year marks the beginning of the end of your lives for the next 3ish months.
Then we remembered that it has been prophesied by many of you that this particular busy season will be the worst in recent memory due to layoffs and the ongoing (?) exodus.
So we present you with our busy season open thread. Discuss whatever you like. Will it indeed be the worst ever or will you dominate as usual? For some of you, it’s your first busy season. Are you soiling yourself from all the horror stories or have you found the right drug cocktail to keep you both focused on your work and oblivious to time passing? Go.