This post isn’t really about travel or personal finance. Well I guess it’s sort of about personal finances since my job is highly connected with our personal finances.
I work for a regional public accounting firm on the audit and assurance team. We perform a variety of different financial audits, reviews, and compilations.
Every year from about mid-January to mid-April we have our “busy season”. When talking with friends I started to refer to this time as tax season because it’s a lot easier to explain since everyone knows about the April 15th tax deadline.
During this time of year, there’s quite a bit of work that has to get done. On the audit and assurance side, we have a couple different deadlines within this 3 month span. The catch is that most of the work cannot be completed until the clients have closed their books for the year. Depending on how on top of it the client is, this can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a month. This means that were not getting the information we need for our audit until 3-4 weeks before the deadline.
Because of the high volume of work and the limited amount of time, it’s expected that you work overtime (including Saturdays). However, as exempt employees you don’t get paid extra for time worked beyond 40 hours a week. It’s definitely a catch-22 though because the work during this period of time is actually some of the most fun and interesting work I do all year.
I am entering the fourth busy season of my accounting career. It’s kind of weird to realize that I have over 3 years of experience. I remember entering the workforce and feeling like every job needed 2-3 years of experience. Now I have that experience and I even gained three cool letters after my name, “CPA”.
These past busy seasons almost feel like battle scars. Public accounting has a pretty steep learning curve. I knew that going in, but it’s pretty crazy to look back and realize how much knowledge you’ve retained. Now instead of preparing a lot of the work I’m reviewing other people’s work and providing feedback. It’s an interesting and challenging transition.
Conquering Busy Season
Over the past three years, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two about making it through these three months.
Be Productive Before/After Work
I’ve found that if I’m not productive before or after work than every day feels sort of wasted. For me being productive is as simple as grocery shopping, working out, reading a book. The challenge is most people just want to “Netflix and Chill” when they get home from a 11 hour day at work, but you have to fight that urge. Being productive provides you with a sense of accomplishment.
Tackle One Project at a Time
I try and make a list at the beginning of every morning with the items or projects I need to address for the day. Initially, I always wanted to just tackle every project right away, but I’ve learned that prioritizing is important. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look at your list of things to do, but just take it one project at a time.
It’s important to let your team know where you’re at with a project. I’m constantly checking in with the rest of the audit team to ensure that we are constantly making progress and not hitting any roadblocks. This takes good communication and ensuring that we are all on the same page.
Post-Busy Season Plans
Plan something exciting to do post-busy season. We always try and take a quick trip/vacation somewhere the weekend after busy season wraps up. It gives you something to look forward to when you’re in the middle of it all.
Overall, I am excited about this busy season because in addition to audit work I will also be learning to do some tax preparation for the first time. It will require some extra hours, but it’s something that I definitely want to learn.
Over the next few months, we won’t have any exciting travels to speak of. I also won’t have much free time so new blog posts will be hit or miss. Hopefully writing blog posts can be something that helps me feel productive after work each day.