Busy Season Problems: An Awful Cafeteria; The Power Goes Out; Clients Drop the Ball

Welcome to this week's edition of busy season problems. Got a busy season problem? Email us at tips@goingconcern.com with "Busy Season Problems" in the subject line.

The final days of January are upon us so that means that for many of you, your lives are about to get infinitely worse. What that all entails will vary between audit interns, tax partners, SEC Financial Reporting, Managers, assistant controllers, et al. We'll feature on anything and everything that's bugging you, so don't be shy in sharing the details. Now, this week's problems.  
 
Our first problem-haver is a little paranoid about being made so (s)he asked us to paraphrase the situation. Here goes:
Someone out of PwC San Jose complained about a "prison" (not an exaggeration, [s]he assures us) cafeteria. Exhibit A for PwC San Jose's awful fare -- "fish and chips for lunch and fish sandwiches for dinner the next day." Apparently clients are still getting charged for the meals (this is unconfirmed). No one wants dinner from this dump and there's rampant speculation (actually just our source) that partners get kickbacks from it. Plus, partners don't eat there, while it's "mandate[d]" that the staff shovel this crap. 
Okay, first off I've never heard about a mandated cafeteria and I'm doubtful that brown-bagging it or popping out to Mickey D's for $1 menu items would be disallowed. THAT'S AN ASSAULT ON YOUR FREEDOM.
 
That said, the majority of cafeterias are pretty awful and you still have to pay to actually eat the garbage. Call me a socialist, but if the cafeteria is of high quality and it's free, then people will spend more time at work and be happier. Don't hold your breath for that though. The best thing you can do right now? HUNGER STRIKE.  
 
STW:
Two clients requested frontloaded deadlines but they didn't have their data prepared and our filing software is still updating. I'm sitting here doing nothing while watching my to-do list grow uncontrollably larger for the coming days and weeks. Adios leaving before any reasonable time of night...
There's nothing more aggravating than when a client is all over your ass to meet some unreasonable deadline only to screw things up so the unreasonable deadline becomes a Mission Impossible deadline.
 
You've been sitting around and getting lulled to sleep by broken promises, desperately trying to remain billable, and then next thing you know -- BAM -- the client brings you everything you need in a wheelbarrow just about the time you think it's safe to make Presidents Day plans. 
 
Despite the urge to either kill the client's team and dump their bodies into a mass grave OR sabotage the whole engagement because they couldn't manage a team of baseball cards, this is one of those situations that could turn out well if you pull off a small miracle. You'll look good despite the client's incompetence and you give them way better service than they deserve.
 
But before you go try being a hero, determine how this setback will affect your progress and discreetly let appropriate parties know. Then when you are working like mad to still meet the deadline and ultimately things do get derailed, a quick debrief of the project will quickly demonstrate why you're be billing those clowns extra. IDIOTS.
 
From somewhere in China:

Hi, I am carrying out audit work in China. Today the electricity of client has been shut down. Our work has to be put off. It will affect my Chinese Spring Festival planing.

I, for one, don't see a problem here. You may remember that last year, we were shown auditors in Texas caught in the safety of the stairwell during tornados. STILL AUDITING. Somewhere in the PRC, there has to be candle factory full of toddlers working around the clock, doesn't there? Get those candles to the people that need them, kids!
 
As for this little power outage disrupting your holiday plans -- this will become a regular occurrence in your life if you want to make it in public accounting. 
 
Hang in there, everybody.
 

 

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