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 […]
That is the look of a man who no longer bears the yoke of a Big 4 job. Are you fantasizing about quitting your public accounting job? It’s finally March. Busy season will start to wind down soon and those miserable hours will begin to taper off. You may catch yourself daydreaming about finding another […]
This seems timely since 'tis the season to draft your farewell email and fantasize about 30 different ways to tell your firm to stick it before you subject yourself to just one more busy season. The following discussion item comes from Corporette (by way of ATL): What do you do with your company email after […]
Busy season is coming to a close. Some of you are already done and are spending this Friday at a ballpark eating junk food and drinking heavily because that's exactly what you should be doing.
And some of you are still grinding it out because, with 10 days left until the most overhyped deadline in a tax professional's year, that's exactly what you should be doing.
Regardless of what bucket you fall into, this will be the last busy season for some of you. You may already know that or you may not, but it's a fact. And if you've never quit a public accounting job before, then there's a number of things you need to do before that last day comes. There are all kind of practical things that you should do of course, but this is NOT that list. Since when do accountants need to be told what's practical? Let's proceed.
From the mailbag: There was an Audit Staff 2 in the Silicon Valley KPMG office that walked out of his audit room during busy season and just did not return. Everyone is talking about it, even here at another big 4. He is our hero. We all want to celebrate him. We don't have any further details at […]
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 […]
Ed. note: Is your career somewhere in between mundane and craptacular? Email us at [email protected] and we'll help you improve your life slightly up from SUCK. GC, I'm a semi-frequent reader (hey I still have to get some work done) so I wasn't sure if this topic was covered, but I just got done reading your recent […]
Ed. note: Got a question from the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].
Happy Friday, folks. Even though Summer Fridays are a thing of the past, we have much to be thankful for. College football on the tube. Ya’ll are getting laid, apparently. And we have some great questions coming into GC.com, like this one here:
I’m ready to leave the Big 4 for industry but want to make sure I don’t m��������������������make the jump. Is there a GC cheat sheet on things to take care of (and take with you) during the 2 week lame duck period after I give my notice? (e.g. contact info, CPE profile, etc.)
I’d love to hear GC readers’ thoughts.
Caleb and I scratched our brains on this one and realized that no – we’ve never really covered this topic. I know some if not all offices allow employees to take care of loose ends during the two week downtime but wouldn’t you rather be prepared to turn everything over on the same day? What I want to do here is cover the basics from the angle that you want to be able to put in your notice and walk out the door the same way. You fill in the details in the comments section below, as I’m sure I’ve missed some of the finer points. Share your horror stories and little victories alike.
1. A. Back up your personal computer files – Technically your work computer is reserved solely for work files and functions but for many of you it is a secondary (even primary) personal computer. I’ve seen laptops turned in with the likes of iTunes libraries, photo albums, tax returns and personal financial tracking files just hanging around in plain sight. You don’t know when HR or your partner will demand to seize your computer (I’ve even seen partners’ commuters seized with no access granted to the files for weeks), so make sure you back everything up onto your own USB drive.
1. B. Delete your personal computer files – Once everything is backed up (make sure the files open on another computer), delete everything personal that’s on the computer. Don’t forget to empty the trash can, too.
2. Get a new wireless plan – If you’re wielding a firm-purchased phone, you’ll be needing to turn that over as well. Take the initiative to get a new phone and have the contacts from your current (firm) phone transferred to your new (personal) device. Every carrier is different, but some will let you buy the new phone without having to activate it immediately, thus giving you the option to walk in there later (presumably, after you’ve dropped the bomb on leadership) and transfer the number over. If you prefer a clean slate and want a new number, so be it.
Also, remember to delete your recent call log, Blackberry Messenger conversations, texting history, sensitive contacts (*cough* your recruiter *cough*), etc. Granted if they really want go through an archive they will, but that really only happens if suspicious/illegal activity is suspected.
3. Organize your client work – This can be a very mundane and verbose task however necessary it may be. The goal here is to make things as easy as possible for your colleagues. Use separate USB drives for different managers and partners. Give everyone an update “open items” list for your active engagements. Make it so organized that a new person to the team would able to seamlessly come on board, read your notes, and pick up where you left off.
Chances are good that you like your co-workers, as one of the most common hesitations staff members have when leaving public accounting is, “I would feel bad leaving my co-workers swamped with my work.” Here’s the deal: they survive. I mean, think about it – how many times has a coworker left before you? Sure, the first few days can be a slow go, but they’re out-of-sight-and-mind within a week. Work is divvied up and completed.
4. Link in with people – I covered this back in June.
5. Mentally prepare yourself – Accounting firms are hit the hardest with employee turnover around this time of year so you need to expect your employer to put up a bit of a fight. Better clients, better work life balance, rotation to another group, verbal praise and affection. (Where was that love when you were working 7:30a to 11:30p during busy season?) You need to prepare for the pressure to be there to turn down your other offer on the spot. There’s nothing wrong with hearing out what your firm can put on the table, but you are under no obligation to turn around and be back on Team PwC or Kamp KPMG during the same meeting you put in your resignation.
Also, remember: you can always go back. Not sometimes. Not usually. ALWAYS. The only thing more valuable to a public accounting firm than its employees are employees that return with private experience.
6. Copy down contact information – There are people you will want to stay in contact with as your careers progress. This should be a no-brainer.
7. One last thing – There’s that colleague with whom you have some tension. Maybe they’re seeing someone, maybe they’re not. Screw the coulda-shoulda-woulda’s and say something before you leave. Be bold.
Welcome to the High Holiday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a senior manager at BDO is ready to give notice but can’t decide if it’s best to keep things professional or to go out with a verbal assault the likes of which George Costanza has never seen.