• What Did You Learn This Busy Season?

    By | April 17, 2015

    All of those busy season problems must've taught you something.

    Our friends at AccountingWEB have a little quiz asking what you would do differently now that busy season is over. Jump over to complete it and then join us back over here where you can write pearls of post-busy season wisdom to your heart's content.

    Some possibilities: 

    • I was born to do this.
    • I need to delegate better.
    • We need to hire more people so I can actually delegate something.
    • Being a partner great.
    • Being a partner is not all it's cracked up to be.
    • Being an intern was way better than being an associate.
    • Being a Senior is the worst.
    • Being a Manager is the worst.
    • ObamaCare is NBD.
    • We need to fire some clients.
    • We could stand to invest in some technology.

    But you people lived through it, so we should let you go now. What did you learn? What will you different next year?   

    • FartDude

      You can’t handle the truth.

      • JessterCPA

        Is THP posting as guest again?

      • FartDude

        Told you so!

    • billbrasskey

      I learned how to get promoted twice and into a better department while really only spending two, maybe three hours a day doing actual work over the last few years. There are two ways to go about it.

      Method One
      1) Work with multiple managers and make sure they all know it.
      2) Get really good at finding audit efficiencies through technology and proactively seek highly inefficient work that you know you can make more efficient through effective use of technology.
      3) Tear through all the newly automated work and spend the remaining 6 hrs of the day BSing with the managers while telling them how much you have on your plate. I personally like to do my meal planning and banking.

      Method Two
      1) Find a way to save your boss or your boss’s boss a lot of time, or just make their job/life easier in general. Just like in step one, the point here is to find something that takes them a lot of time and turn it into something that takes you five minutes. You then turn around and say it takes you four hours (when it took the boss a full day).

      Method One requires a little more prep on the front-end, but it’s much easier to fly under the radar and pull off for the long run. Method Two will work for a while, but you’ll take political flak from your peers and you’d better be coming out with some fresh savings from time-to-time, or your influence can dwindle.

      You’ll be a god amongst men if you can manage to do both for any period of time.

      • advisorynerd

        This guy is partner material, one day in the near future his days will be filled with forwarding e-mails from his iPad, repeating the buzzword of the month and golf 3-7 days a week.

        • FartDude

          I’d make him a partner right now.

    • Point and Clique

      1.) Asking for permission is asking for refusal…just do it
      2.) Failing upward is a pretty solid strategy, all things considered
      3.) Claw back every single free thing you can from the firm, especially alcohol
      4.) A lot of people think this bullshit is normal and have no clue about life outside the Big Four
      5.) A lot of people are never, ever truly going to fucking “get it”, whether getting it is something as simple as “we went over budget because of delayed PBCs, not because we’re a lazy team conspiring to embarrass our senior manager”, or “we went over budget because you’re a complete moron who can’t fucking budget and is probably feigning ignorance expecting us to eat hours”, or “normal human beings don’t like to voluntarily work on weekends, dipshit”, or even “yes Virginia, people get tired when they work 5 14-hour days in a row”

      And the best thing to learn of all:

      6.) It works wonders to stop fucking caring.

      • BasisPoints

        I thought #1 was the reason frats were getting kicked off of campus?

    • Chris

      I learned the same lesson this busy season just as other busy seasons yet still don’t head it’s point: this shit is ruinin my life. All I can hear in my head is Morgan freeman talking about being institutionalized.

      • IndenturedServant

        “All I can hear in my head is Morgan freeman talking about being institutionalized.”

        omg me too. glad i’m not the only one

      • MWCPA

        Unless there is some new chattel-intern/staff program you choose the career you’re in. If it’s ruining your life you should leave. Start working on it today. Reply to one of those recruiter emails. Update your resume. Take six months off and go on a drug and sex tour of Southeast Asia.

      • Diving Duck

        First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them

    • SadPanda

      I learned that I did not want to be on the partner track and that I hated my job, and that it wasn’t going to get any better. So I got a job in industry and my quality of life has improved 50,000%

    • parva

      A lesson from busy seasons passed – if you can get to 4/15, you can definitely handle whatever they throw at you in corporate

    • BasisPoints

      A lesson learned from my first busy season out of the firm – I SHOULD HAVE QUIT YEARS AGO, THIS IS FUCKING AWESOME!!!

    • JustAnotherCPA

      Is busy season over? Well, cheers to everyone who survived!
      I’ll be over here working 40 hours, just like every other week of the year.

    • LackeyOfLove

      I worked harder than I’ve ever worked before and the partners agreed that we had way too much work to do this year and I got the exact same bonus I did last year.

      • AccrualWorld

        wait…busy season bonuses are a thing? I thought it was just a high five and onto the next…

        • LackeyOfLove

          Don’t worry, it was equivalent to a little less than a normal paycheck.

          • AccrualWorld

            Well hey, at least its something!

    • Smasher

      I wish I had gotten that degree in Finance.

    • buthurt

      Don’t eat hours after you become Senior (unless you really want to make it to manager) – you will be given more work if people see you charging scheduled time instead of actuals, and a bad rating if you don’t finish those extra work with high quality and within budget

    • JessterCPA

      What did I learn this busy season?

      -Powdered coffee creamer continues to be an awful thing
      -Clients will continue to be clueless and send their info in 3 weeks late and expect insta-turnaround
      -If I hear “I used to be in accounting, so I know what you are going through” one more time, I will kill something
      -Not all client provided WiFi is created equal
      -Companies remaining open during really bad snow storms because their management cannot manage people properly and expecting their auditors to show up as well is one of the worst things in the world
      -People still use fax machines
      -Matcha tea is very good
      -Eyeglass cleaner is a great cleaner for touch screen devices
      -Clients that pay their bill 9 months late and think that is OK should be shot
      -Free choco-chip cookies from various payroll companies is a great busy season treat
      -Reply to all is a 7th layer of hell type of activity
      -We got it all done again this year..amazingly

      • dadsmayor

        What do you mean done? I still have 12/31’s that haven’t been issued.

    • MWCPA

      I learned that the less time you spend thinking and talking about how horrible busy season is…the less horrible it is.

      • Chris

        Agree to some extent. But thr hours are the hours and getting home at 3 am is getting home at 3 am regardless of whether I’m bitching about it or not

        • MWCPA

          In my experience eliminating the two hours of bitching gets you home earlier.

        • JessterCPA


          • Chris

            Yeah the last week of busy season was fucking unreal. Granted not the norm but does occasionally happen. I’m on quite the poorly managed engagement

        • LackeyOfLove

          jfc, people like you are why I have a difficult time bitching about 12 hour days

          tell your partners to quit understaffing just to increase their own salaries

          • Chris

            Yeah dude I know. We were sorely understaffed. And the client was a demon straight from hell

            • LackeyOfLove

              It is always real frustrating when a client takes of a disproportionate amount of time. Even if they pay for all of the extra time it still throws off your schedule.

          • dadsmayor

            Let me know how that works out for you.

            • LackeyOfLove

              Maybe find a firm where your feedback is valu-ahahahah

    • taxintern

      1) First opportunity I can get for an industry exit around $100-120k I’m going to take it with a Company that actually provides value.
      2) The quality of life at Big 4 is terrible.
      3) People who stay at Big 4 are sucked into the ladder climb to the point where they are honestly sacrificing their lives annually for the momentary satisfaction of when they see their bonus % or rating #.
      4) Whether or not you can get along with the people on your team decide how much you will hate your life.

    • CPAGhoul

      Just because someone made it through a BA in Accounting with decent grades does not mean they can hack it in Public Accounting. You walk them through how to do simple tasks and they still mess it up. They did not learn a single thing this tax season, and could not even handle a simple 1040. Wasted much of my time increasing my stress level. I have a good feeling they will be let go today, which will make the entire office happy.

    • advisorynerd

      I learned that I’m glad I’m not an auditor.

      • Tax Nerd

        Same here – I’m glad that I’m not an auditor.
        This busy season, I learned that work quality goes downhill fast after 12-14 hours in the office. (I always knew that there was a certain point. I’m just getting better at narrowing down where that point is for myself, and for the people who give me work that is not-so-good because they did it when they were running on fumes.)

        I also learned that the freeze dried fruit from Trader Joes is a pretty good busy season snack.

        Finally, I learned that being a functional alcoholic is fine in the Big Four, as long as the emphasis is mostly on the functional bit.