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.
By now it’s no secret that accounting firms are getting all Wal-Mart with their bids/fees in order to drum up desperately needed new business and keeping current clients happy.
Offering or renegotiating lower fees, while an excellent “client service” tool, can cause all kinds of problems with staffing and the feasibility of engagements.
If you’re working on a small engagement with a tight budget, things could tricky (read: impossible) to reconcile mandatory hour work weeks to the budgeted time on your engagements.
One reader is curious as to the repercussions of all this:
[They are] low bidding jobs, taking audit clients at rates < $100/hour when average rates used to be $150 - $250/hour. Tell me they won't dump those clients when the economy turns around. Or have people eat hours on the jobs. They are desperate for work right now.
Those numbers are relative of course but it does make one wonder how this will all pan out long term. As we’ve noted, if it gets to the point to where there’s simply not enough money coming in the door, closing up shop isn’t out of the question. If you’ve got concerns, thoughts, complaints, etc. on how this latest trend will affect you and your office, discuss them in the comments.