Legacy systems are awful — so awful it’s the first thing I wrote about on Going Concern. To refresh your memory, legacy systems are obsolete software/hardware with so much technological baggage that they make you want to run away screaming, but you can’t for one reason or another. The most significant reason, unfortunately, is that […]
Busy season. It’s the hardest time of year for me as a CPA. But I don’t work in tax. I don’t work in audit. I don’t even work in public accounting. I work in industry as a controller. Busy season is brutal for because of the lies and deception … because any time I interact […]
Are your frequent flyer miles starting to rack up? Busy season can be hard enough when your clients are local. Add travel and some sleep deprivation, and it can make even the most cheerful manager bite your head off. Here’s what I recommend to you so you’ll be well rested and able to respond with […]
Cut holiday vacation short to read the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Implement “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” charge code. Cram 40 hours of CPE into 4 days. Stare at children to remember their faces. Document rationale for becoming a corporation. Refill Zoloft prescription. Write farewell emails to non-profit clients. Stock up on bubble wrap. […]
Busy season stress is no joke. When it hits and those 60-hour work weeks start piling up, where do you turn? You could (and probably will) drain every last drop out of the company coffee pot or slam green energy drinks composed of dubious ingredients. You’ll probably take a few Office Space-style breaks along the […]
Now that busy season is over, and you’ve had some time to yourself, work schedules go back to normal. Same old, same old. So it’s a good time to assess what you learned. Doing that can give you a picture of how your firm managed the stress of filing season—and, more importantly, how you did. […]
Is there anything better than popping bubble wrap? No. No there is not. The Los Angeles office of Cohn Reznick seems aware of that fact, as they spent part of the day yesterday de-stressing with a little contest: #fun #video, contest to #pop #bubblewrap – a great day with a “pop” theme for #stressrelief during […]
With every busy season, I, and most everyone around me, met the occasion with dread. We knew burnout was inevitable. It was interesting to observe how attitudes shifted from first year associate up the ladder. First year staff typically met the occasion with anticipation and slight uncertainty. Professionals that had a few busy seasons under […]
Back when I was a tax associate, my colleagues and I would watch the Hoops and Yoyo “It’s Sarcastic Wednesday.” The part that cracked me up the most was when they say, “I’ll do large amounts of free work for a slice of pepperoni!” But why is it so funny (but not really funny at the same time)?
To get your career conundrums addressed, email Rachel at [email protected] and your question may be featured on Going Concern.
Oh glorious November, you are so sweet to me. You give me a time of low billable hour goals, clients on vacation, and tons of admin hours. In a world of crazy deadlines and overtime, this month is like public accounting nirvana.
When busy season ends, it takes time for many accountants to adjust to the 40ish-hour workweek again. For those of you who don't suffer from the martyrdom complex the return to a somewhat normal life is a welcome change. But for others, there are different feelings: @going_concern an article addressing getting out of post busy […]
As you may know or be experiencing right this very second, it’s a stressful time of year for accountants and the people around them. Whether you’re working on tax returns or year-end audits or any other professional number crunching activity, that stress can cause people to make mistakes.
If you are leading a team this busy season, it's likely that a conflict or two may arise and passive-aggressive behavior may result. When you have a group of people sitting on their asses for hours, day after day, not seeing daylight for months on end, it's inevitable. When passive-aggressive behavior does happen, there are […]
Happy New Year, y'all! I spent New Year's Eve watching my beloved Michigan State Spartans lose the Cotton Bowl and compiling a list of resolutions so we can kick off Busy Season 2016 right! You should be able to keep these going for at least a week or so. Learn something sweet in Excel –- […]
From our pals at the Maryland Association of CPAs: I suggested on Facebook that this could be your new favorite Saturday t-shirt but some of you are probably ready to order 30 of these and wear one every day. Earlier:#BusySeasonProblems: Bad Dreams, Late Night Housekeeping, More Bad Dreams
Yesterday I realized –- to my feigned horror — that I haven’t eaten a piece of fruit in over five months. Five months? Yeah, something like that. I’ve been eating firm-provided meals at my desk and pilfering Rice Krispy Treats and pretzel sticks from the audit room snack drawer for as far back as I […]
Nope, not copious amounts of alcohol.
Fresh from the tip box this week, we discover that McGladrey CEO Joe Adams is "personally" trying to get his people in the spirit of the season. Busy season, that is. Yes, please send your kid Joe Adams' regards for celebrating her birthday without you yet again. After all, it's all about that McGladrey experience!
So, CalCPA has this interesting article about managing stress that is definitely worth a read but it's the following description that really stood out to us: The accounting profession, much more so than most, has been known for its high stress environment and culture. I’ve seen an increasing lack of healthy life balance result in […]
On Monday morning, a new face joined me in the elevator. He donned professional attire and wore a sullen look. “Back to work?” I asked. “Yes and not looking forward to it,” he replied. In contrast, I was in a completely different space. After taking ten days off, I was returning to four weeks of […]
With yet another busy season approaching, it's time to open Pandora's Box yet again and talk about how you're billing your time. Specifically, how you're not billing your time. Like sleeping with coworkers and sending inappropriate gifs over the firm's messaging system, eating hours is something everyone does but doesn't really talk about. Does that […]
McGladrey isn’t just clinging to the billable hour, they’re trying to put a ring on it.
Fall is in the air, and that means that if you’re in your mid-twenties, ply your trade in public accounting, and are prone to even the occasional moment of introspective thought, you’re probably considering quitting your job right about now. Why? Because sometimes, public accounting sucks. And rarely does it suck more than during the […]
I bet you have a half-eaten donut sitting next to you right now. You might want to polish it off before you read this. It's from Yahoo so don't bet the bank on it but, hey, just passing it along: But here's what's interesting. Sometimes the extra pounds can be blamed on the work environment. […]
We talk a lot about what you all go through during busy season, but what about those people in your life who barely see you for several months out of the year? You know, your spouse, your kids, your dog? What are they going through day after day, watching you grind out the very last bit of effort you have just to take out the garbage?
You have been warned:
A reader sent along this article on how campaign managers can easily work 60 – 80 hours during campaign season (oh the horror!) and promised we'd find an interesting bit buried in it. Sure enough, how about this? Burnout sets in fast. For every 10 hours of weekly overtime, you’ll need an extra day off […]
Just in case you weren't planning on enjoying the weekend you may not even get a chance to enjoy, EY sent out a friendly reminder on Twitter (just go ahead and twist the knife, guys): It's almost here … #HappyFriday #TGIF #BetterWorkingWorld http://t.co/YbhPJ7CI5b — EY US Careers (@EY_CareersUS) February 28, 2014 Yeeeeaaaahh, I'm gonna need […]
Wondering what the stars have in store for you today? Wonder no more, GC faithful!
Just in case you're throughly entrenched in the FML stage of busy season, we thought we'd take this opportunity to remind you the grass is always greener on the side where the dog likes to drop a deuce. So remember, no matter how bad you think you have it, surely someone has it worse. Like […]
Life at Deloitte should really make this the link in their Twitter bio.
Get your mind out of the gutter, I mean work. The scoop from CPA Trendlines: If you’re reading this at home, or on your own time, you’re not alone. Today more than one-third of accountants are already moonlighting in “side” practices or home offices – especially during busy season, according to a CPA Trendlines survey […]
Acceptance is not a stage.
CPA Trendlines has a list of "busy season survival tips" that, while useful to some, might be as rudimentary as reminding a living thing to breathe and ingest food-type matter more than once a year to stay alive. Like: Relax EXCELLENT TIP, I'm sure no one who has ever been stressed out ever thought to […]
While we here at GC are taking the day easy (sorry to all of you who are working your fingers to the bone, truly), KPMG is busy showing its people thanks according to this report from SoCal: KPMG may be well behind the salary curve in the Pacific Southwest (see here) but where else are you […]
Guys. Guys. GUYS. Clearly this joke has gone way too far, and this isn't the first time someone has asked us this: Hi GC and Happy Busy Season to all. I am currently starting my 4th busy season with D&T in an East Coast office and have recently been approached by KPMG about a senior […]
Finally, a somewhat challenging "question" has found its way into the tip box: Hello Going Concern! I am writing to you because I have come to the realization that there is a bubble forming and it is on the brink of erupting, and no I am not talking about the internet bubble–I am talking about […]
For some reason, earlier this year we asked you to submit videos of your busy season exploits as part of some fake contest. The idea was haphazardly thrown together and not taken that seriously, but for whatever reason1 the post sat up top for months. Anyhoo, busy season has been over for everyone for at least a week so I guess we'll wrap this thing in old newspaper and put a bow on it, so we can all move on with our lives. Right? Right.
9 Tips for Invigorating Weary Brains, Bodies and Balance Sheets via the AICPA Insights blog may not be the most cutting-edge piece of accounting journalism you've ever read but it is full of useful ideas to survive busy season such as eating breakfast and getting your rest. Gee, what would people do if they didn't […]
Colin had the nerve to come to my state (Virginia) and do some douchey school tour so you all are stuck with me this week, in case you haven't figured it out by now. The accounting news is slow and the CPA exam is played so let's collab on a busy season playlist while the […]
Busy season is like war. Okay maybe not, but it's hell anyway. There are no rules on how you survive it, but you MUST survive it. And if that means taking that last slice of pizza and hiding it in your drawer for later then by God, YOU MUST TAKE THAT SLICE OF PIZZA. Oh, Pete was late getting to the team lunch and didn't get to eat? TOO BAD. You're going to want that cured meat and refined flour in about 3 hours when you'll need your 4th wind.
In the spirit of busy season, we figured this would be a good opportunity to bring back a few role models you shouldn't be molding yourself after if you want to get along with your team and have a job next busy season. Take it or leave it, these are just suggestions. 5. The guy […]
It's March. Some of you are tired. Some of you are malnurished malnourished. Some of you are thisclose to crawling under your desks and curling into the fetal position until someone comes by to spur you back into action. And for some, only a bathroom stall can provide the stillness and quiet that a frantic mind […]
Today is Valentine's Day, and there are a lot of pissed off accountants because of it. Every year busy season robs us of all of the most random American holidays: Groundhog Day, April Fools' Day, St. Patrick's Day, and Valentine's Day, to name a few1. Today, on top of the pressure to not disappoint the partner […]
Maybe 40 Chicken McNuggets is a square meal for some. Or maybe there was a bet involved here. We can't really know the full story, but apparently these were put down the other day: Lunch time shenanigans, courtesy of 1 of my seniors and a staff…turns out eating 40 chicken nuggets isn't too hard… twitter.com/EYstaff/status… […]
The Shelby Star in North Carolina reports that a fire caused by a window heat unit at a CPA's office resulted in "moderate damage" to the building. By the grace of God (or whatever) all of Greg Blalock's files were saved "as well as most of the computers" but, you get the impression that he's […]
Busy season is not fun. If you pretend it's fun or if you expect me to pretend it's fun, you're an ass. Now, I get it. Taxes are a big part of the reason I have a job, and I'm glad to have a job. So in a backdoor kind of way, I'm grateful for […]
Because it's been way too long since we've had a great video (certain drunk folks excluded), TPTB had the great idea to sponsor a Going Concern video contest. If you've ever wanted fame and fortune – or rather, infamy and possible risk of losing your gainful employment — now is your chance. The requirements are […]
We've receieved the first ridiculous farewell email of 2013 and it continues the trend of TMI professional good-byes that go viral among the public accounting industry. Only by the stroke of luck did the following farewell email end up in our inbox. You see, we've been informed and confirmed that it had, in fact, it […]
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 […]
We like to answer reader questions from time to time, just so long as it's interesting. If your question is boring, it will be ignored. It's nothing personal; we just get a lot of them. Send us your best questions, career conundrums, and work-life problems to [email protected] Not an inside tip, as much as a […]
Much like the flu, it's far too early to say how bad this busy season will be. But this particular case doesn't sound good: We have about 10 days between when the client closes their financials and the earnings release…going to be an intense 10 days… — Life at EY (@EYstaff) January 15, 2013 We'll […]
Did you get passed over for that promotion? Not sure what dish to whip up for the Labor Day potluck at the boss's house? Need a new mobile app suggestion for those bathroom breaks? Email us your dilemmas and queries so that we may put your mind at ease. Undoubtedly some of you are still […]
It's been quite the past few days inside Chez Turley with people jumping up and down about their compensation numbers and the firm rolling out a new bonus structure. If that wasn't enough excitement for you, then let the news that the firm's FSO group will officially discontinue the busy season requirement of 55 chargeable […]
We all know that when you're in the throes of busy season, a key to an effective team is having people spend as much time at their desks as possible. When the pressure is on, even spending a few minutes to take in some natural light or fresh air could mean the difference between a […]
There are precisely two weeks left to enter Going Concern's Twitter promotion. Up to this point, you may have thought that entering the online cluckhouse known as Twitter was an awful idea because "I don't get it," or "Isn't it really just for celebrities?" Well, it's true that you probably don't get it right now, […]
Yes, it's Wednesday, otherwise known to some of you as, "half way through a week that I have no days off," but what many people don't realize is that busy season is the perfect time to be updating your résumé. This post is more geared to be a gateway to productive commentary, so read and then […]
As promised, we're launching a new campaign to get you through the final weeks of busy season and this time we're incorporating everyone's favorite virtual gabfest, Twitter. After experimenting with the Daily Grind eNewsletter for some time, we've decided to focus more on something that won't involve clogging your inbox. Following our Twitter feed is […]
Once again, we take a peak at what our friends across the pond are talking about because you guys are clearly working to hard to email us anything of interest: Over the weekend I have put in the [sic?] hours working. Not by force, just to overcome the feelings of negativity. I have found getting […]
It's March 1st and many of you have endured over a month of the unspeakable hell that is busy season already. You've worked late, risen early, eaten countless items out of the vending machine, considered adult diapers, read Going Concern, wished for a quick death, among other things. In short, your lives have ceased to […]
Allegedly, this stunt was pulled earlier this morning in a Big 4 audit room somewhere in the Boston area. If you'd like to claim responsibility for this stroke of genius or have other samples to share, email us.
It's been quite some time since we checked in with our friends across the pond and since many of you may be dealing with client relation issues yourself, this seems like as good of an opportunity to discuss all the fun you're having. I know it's our busiest time of year and maybe that's making […]
It's that time of year again, folks. Holiday parties are wrapping up. Some of you are trying to squeeze every drop of water out of the CPA stone. And from the chatter we've been hearing, this busy season could be one of the hardest in years. Chalk this up to the fact that voluntary turnover shot […]
Busy season is right around the corner and for many auditors, that means hating your life a little more than usual. KPMG is acutely aware of this, and in order to help lighten the load this year, the firm is hoping you know some high quality auditors who won't mind grinding out three months of […]
After two years at a national mid-sized firm I’m seriously considering a lateral jump to either another mid-size or local firm. Through some bad luck and my own failure to balance work and my parental responsibilities (aka, put the spouse and kids completely on the backburner), I have gained a reputation among some of the higher-ups in my office for not being committed. While I believe this perception is unfair (I get all my work done on time and on budget), hat it is preventing my promotion to Senior. I don’t want to be in public accounting any longer than I have to, but would like to make the Senior level.
I’d like to stay with my current firm, but I’m concerned that I’m in too deep a hole now to climb out. Almost all the clients I was in line to inherit have been acquired, and I haven’t been picked up on as many engagements as I’ve lost. So even if I get good ratings on my jobs, I am pretty sure that my utilization figures are going to be ugly. A blank slate, full schedule, and even the chance at making Senior earlier are very appealing right now. But is a lateral jump worth the risk? Which is better (or worse) on a résumé: 2.5-3 years with one firm and not making Senior or 2 years with one firm as an associate and 1 year with a different firm as senior?
During my time in and around public accounting, I have found the promotion from Associate to Senior Associate to be a fairly automatic process. Come to work, do your work, make yourself available to go the extra mile (even if it’s not needed), don’t knock up the administrative assistant in the coat closet at the holiday party, and you’re handed the title (instead of a paycheck). Several top notch and newly minted seniors jump ship for private, further justifying the promotion of average Associates to Senior. For you not to be made Senior in the normal time period, I’m going to assume you screwed up somewhere.
From the leadership’s view, public accounting thrives on firm loyalty and employee trust. Whether it’s justified or not, you’ve been labeled as someone that management cannot trust. Somewhere along the line you must have done something to challenge these fundamental rules. The majority of partners and managers still to this day believe in the mantra that “I went through busy seasons of hell when I was young, so you can/should/deserve to, too.” Silly or not, it’s part of the code. So if I understand your statement above regarding family and work/life balance, you didn’t communicate fully with your managers/partners that you needed time with your young family. More likely is that you didn’t make your own “sacrifices” to make the work up: working from home in the evening after kids are in bed, bringing work home on weekends, etc. Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t; what matters is that you need to accept the fact that your clients are being ripped from your ownership – this does not happen unless you’re dropping the ball.
You’re up against a challenge by staying at your current firm. Considering your attitude toward your career is, “I don’t want to be in public accounting any longer than I have to” you should work on your résumé this weekend and apply to other firms. The time between now and January is a hot hiring period for CPA firms of all sizes, but be sure to focus on the smaller, regional firms. You’ll have better luck finding the work/life balance you require. That said, do not think that you’ll automatically be handed the title of Senior this fall. A firm will want to see how you do as a experienced associate (how you work with management, the quality of your work, etc.) before trusting you to lead their associates.
Trust. There’s that pesky word again. Taking a busy season to prove yourself at a new firm will be a better use of your time than if you stayed where you are to fight the gossip mongers and labels that are undoubtedly floating around your office. Accept the challenge of proving yourself at a new firm – for the sake of your career and the benefit of your family.
While you’re sitting around the house this weekend, work on the following:
• Updating your résumé
• Updating your LinkedIn account (describing the industries you work on, add a nice – but not Sears photo studio nice – headshot, etc.)
• Researching the CPA firms in your area
• Digging up a recruiter’s contact information
Ed. note: Are you in the middle of a career conundrum that could use some third-rate advice? Email us at [email protected] and we just surprise you with some sensibility.
I work in audit at a Big Four firm in Europe. I’m starting my second senior year and I’ve received good evaluations so far (B+ on my first year,
and then A’s on my second and third years). I love the job, but I know I won’t stay forever (too many long nights, plus I just don’t think
I’d like to be manager). I’m 25, I’ve been married for 2 years and I want kids. I want to start trying, keep working through pregnancy, take the usual time off after birth (paid by government), and return to work part-time. Then after some time I’d probably look for a job elsewhere to work full time (but not Big Four hours).
I haven’t heard of anyone being pregnant during their senior years. How crazy is my plan? Will my senior manager have a heart attack when
I tell him I’m pregnant? Should I wait to try to get pregnant and look for another job with more normal hours?
Greetings from across the pond. I’ll do my best to help with your questions, but seeing that I am neither a) pregnant nor b) part of the busy season cycle, I hope the GC.com community can pitch in their own advice. My advice is based on a combination of what I’ve seen here in New York, my general knowledge of Big 4 firms, and what I think (or hope) is common sense.
EU: I haven’t heard of anyone being pregnant during their senior years. How crazy is my plan? Will my senior manager have a heart attack when I tell him I’m pregnant?
DWB: The timing of your pregnancy and pending childbirth will determine how your senior manager takes the news. Generally speaking (again, from what I see here in the States), it’s better from a career move perspective to be pregnant during busy season than to give birth and be out of the office during final reviews, sign-off’s, etc. So, conceiving in the next few months shouldn’t pose too much of an issue.
Let’s say your nine month clock kicks off in October; you’re looking at a July baby. Like the rest of your life, working through busy season will require an adjustment on your part and open communication with your team will be essential. Summer babies are a very common and oftentimes planned with busy season in mind.
EU: Should I wait to try to get pregnant and look for another job with more normal hours?
This question contradicts with what you said earlier in your email, so I’m going to say stay where you are for now. You’re doing well at your firm, and your job there might even act as a rock as you transition into parenthood. I suggest taking advantage of the support groups your firm has in place, and seek out the advice of senior employees who balance work and parenting already.
Good luck with starting your family! GC’ers – what kind of advice can you provide to our hopeful accountant-and-mother-to-be?
Who knew that being able to ask all the questions you want is how you have a good busy season?
Via Success Starts Here, the McGladrey career blog meant to give you “[a] view into what it’s like to work for McGladrey”:
Starting as a new hire in Audit at the beginning of busy season was a little intimidating since not only were the hours lengthy but there was so much to learn. Would I be able to learn and understand things quickly? Were the clients nice? Would my team have the time or patience to sit down and teach me about the Financial Services industry? Those were the questions running through my mind during the first few days of orientation.
As I progressed through busy season, the hours got longer and the work load became heavier. I noticed the more work I was assigned the more questions I would ask. Thankfully, my team was very easy to work with since they were more than happy to take time out of their busy schedules to sit down and walk me through certain audit procedures. Knowing that I was free to ask any of my superiors questions made my first busy season experience that much easier.
The associate goes on to describe a bright spot in her busy season, 20 minutes taken to eat cupcakes sitting outside with the Private Equity gang. “Sitting outside and eating a simple cupcake made a world of a difference for the rest of the day,” she writes. Can you imagine having the kind of job where you appreciate the opportunity to take a cupcake break? Oh wait, I forgot who I’m writing for…
Not to be distracted by memories of that cupcake, Emmy wraps up on a positive note (it is unclear whether or not this is a requirement to post on the Success Starts Here blog) “As busy season came to an end, not only had I learned so many new skills but I also kept thinking to myself ‘It wasn’t that bad.’ Even though the hours are long and the work can be a little tougher in the beginning, working with a great team can make a world of a difference. It reminds me that I’ve made a great choice by choosing to work at McGladrey.”
Conveniently enough, McGladrey has added a jobs tab to its Facebook page if this entices you. All you self-loathing masochists out there know what to do.
Along with last Friday’s news of “exciting changes” coming in the compensation structure, we’ve received word a little bonus paid out PwC’s last run:
I’m a little surprised no one has emailed you about the bonuses that were paid out this last pay period to PwC associates and seniors. This wasn’t across the board to everyone like the first December bonus [Bonus Watch ‘10: PwC Holiday Payouts Coming In]. I think first years all got $500 (since they didn’t receive the first December bonus) then everyone else received a bonus that was tied to performance/utilization (and I’m told some individuals received nothing if the managers/partners thought they didn’t cut it). I’m curious what the payouts were in other markets.
I’m a second year senior in the Midwest market and got $1200. I know of another senior up for manager that received more than that. I think this is separate from whatever changes they’re going to announce this week about our pay structure. Pretty much the message I got from my partner was this was something like a down payment on the year end bonuses, which makes me believe when our year end bonuses are announced, they’re going to immediately bring up the money they gave us in December (two bonuses for some) and then this, and say that’s why our year end bonuses are lower.
The webcast is supposed to be today but we don’t have the details and haven’t heard anything yet, so keep us updated.
From the mailbag:
Apparently, management finally recognizes that this was a real shitty busy season and as a last ditch effort to keep hemorrhaging seniors, is going to give some large bonuses and raises. Audit is to get increased comp because of how bad it was on our side. I mean GT-Chicago lost 3 seniors right before and 3 during busy season. Plus, we had a team working on a restatement that were working 80-100 hour weeks since November. I know GT will never pay out like the Big 4, but I’m curious to see if we’re in the ballpark this time around.
Who doesn’t love aggravated Grant Thornton auditors on a Monday morning? Frankly (and I know I’m not alone here), I’ll be floored like an Animal Kingdom Superfecta ticket holder, if GT pays out like the Big 4. However, because Stephen Chipman and GT have been on such a tear the past year – shedding less dynamic offices, making dynamic acquisitions – it’s possible some at GT may see better raises this year but it I’m guessing it won’t be the audit practice.
But our tipster’s email seems fairly optimistic (in a bitter, burned out auditor sort of way) since the attrition variable seems to be in full effect. If GT SAs are indeed heading for the exits, then perhaps there will be some pleasantly surprised GT dynamos after last year’s disappointment. Keep us updated.
Yes, yes. There are still a few days left (12 to be precise) until tax season is officially over but for many of you the worst is over and TPTB figured we could drop this news on you now. Details on fabulous prizes after the jump.
Here’s the dealio. Follow this link to sign up for the Daily Grind enewsletter and you’re automatically entered to win one of the following:
• One Grand Prize of an iPad 2 valued @ $500
• 1 Airline Gift Card valued @ $300
• 2 Best Buy Gift Cards valued @ $100
•20 Going Concern Prize Packs valued @ Priceless
For those of you that are already signed up, don’t worry, you’re entered automatically. Contest ends May 5th. Like I said, entry is easy – just jump over the You Survived Another Busy Season Giveaway page and sign up for the newsletter and you’re in it to win it.
That’s right team, March 4th marks National Employee Appreciation Day and if you happen to have a deadline today or just got Lumberged into working the weekend, you’re definitely not feeling appreciated.
Doubly ironic is the news from the latest list from Forbes that says that “Accounting” is the 6th Happiest Job in America. That is followed up by “Finance at #7 and “Legal” at #10. On the one hand, Forbes has these professions in the correct order – accountants are generally less miserable than those in finance or law but the fact that they appear in the top ten is laughable. Of course now that we have In a JIT, perhaps the happy ranking is slightly more believable.
Today’s round of minor irritations from our British sister from another mister:
Further to the “snorting employee” post, any ideas on how to deal with a colleague who goes into my desk drawers to get labels and paper clips and the like, when I am actually sitting at my desk?
They are a relatively new employee and I have been showing them some aspects of how to do their job. It is really my own fault for not stopping them when they started doing it, but now it really irritates me and I’m not sure of the most painless way to deal with it other than to just tell them to stop and use their own drawers! I hate any kind of confrontation, especially since we have to sit next to each other.
Any diplomatic ideas?
I don’t know about you all but diplomacy just doesn’t fly over here in States, so an accounting firm version of the Bush Doctrine seems to be the way to go. Let’s kick a few ideas around shall we?
When your fellow cube farmer comes digging around your drawer do you:
A) Allow them to find the item they need and walk back to their desk, wait five minutes, then proceed to their workspace and violently snatch said item off their desk/out of their hand?
B) Calmly get up with your beverage of choice in hand, walk over to the offender’s cube and pour the contents of your drinking receptacle on their computer?
C) Belch in their face?
D) Do a full spin in your aeron chair and crush their hand/wrist/lower arm in the drawer?
E) Your ideas
Not sure if this is the beginning of something great or not but with lyrics like, “Gonna sit and eat time ta-cos,” we’re hopeful for more and P. Dubs employees are lucky to have so much talent in their midst. And now that Steve’s American Idol run is over, he can record this for the HLSP Group’s future presentations.
Btw, this should be sung to the tune of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.”
The real lyrics:
Wake up in the morning feeling like Tim Ryan,
Read my FASs, I’m out the door, I’m gonna vouch this Citi.
Before I leave, grab my keys with my secure ID
‘Cause when I leave for the day, I ain’t coming back.
I’m talking 10-keys and our phones, phones
Freshly laundered clothes, clothes
Ready to confirm loan, loans
Fast-talking, requestin’ our PBCs,
Staff barely in their twenties,
Bookin’ forty – workin’ sixtyy+
Don’t stop, Aura locked
GADM please just hurry up,
Fortnight, it seems like
Since I’ve seen the sunlight,
Tick tock, on the clock,
But the audit don’t stop, no
Ain’t got a friend in the world,
But the ones that are here.
Ain’t got no money in my pocket
Cuz I’m not non-exempt.
Now the work is piling up,
But now we know better,
And we’ll keep it till the end
Until we get that Rep Letter.
I’m talking about errbody workin’ through lunch, lunch.
Fluxes due to credit crunch, crunch.
Gonna sit and eat time ta-co’s
Now, now we work until they kick us out, out.
But my XP won’t shut down, down,
XP won’t shut down, down,
XP won’t shut down.
Don’t stop, Aura locked
GADM please just hurry up,
Fortnight, it seems like
Since I’ve seen the sunlight,
Tick tock, on the clock,
But the audit don’t stop, no
DJ, you build me up,
You break me down,
My heart, it pounds,
Yeah you’ve got me.
P-Dub’s Help Sucks
Book Vaycay now,
If you’ve got free time,
Yeah, book Vaycay.
Look my ARMS up,
Look your ARMS up,
Look your ARMS up.
(And the Senior says, “Nobody can leave ‘till I say so…”)
Don’t stop, Aura locked
GADM please just hurry up,
Fortnight, it seems like
Since I’ve seen the sunlight,
Tick tock, on the clock,
But the audit don’t stop, no
Over at our British sister site, AccountingWEB UK, the following problem was put to the group:
We have an employee at the practice where I work who constantly makes a pretty horrible snorting sound with the back of her throat. It happens all year but is worse when she has a cold, which she does at the moment.
Several colleagues have asked me to have a word with the partners to ask them to say something to her about it because they find it so distracting and even nauseating. Incidentally it’s an open plan office so it’s not like people can avoid hearing it.
So my question is, if I did have a word with the partners, is there anything they could actually do about it? And if not, should I tell them anyway just to get it recorded and so that I can tell my colleagues that I have had a word? Nobody feels close enough to her to talk to her quietly themselves, which would have been my instinctive first suggestion.
Okay, so after getting over the weirdness of idea of “recording” of this conversation just to prove it to your co-workers, we admit that this is serious work environment issue. We’ve all been there. That certain someone who, for whatever reason, feels necessary to dig deep in the far ranges of their physiology to get some phlegm out but just can’t seem to EXCUSE THEMSELVES to do so. Or see a doctor, because you know, there might be something seriously wrong that COULD KILL YOU.
And it doesn’t stop with the throat clearing. What about the the co-worker that sounds like Tony Soprano when they eat?
What about the dude that’s obviously enjoying those four to six sodas a day because you can hear him slurping from three cubicles away? And then there’s the subsequent burping. And not like frat boy burping; we’re talking about the gas that he tries to internalize quietly but it’s actually more annoying and disgusting than if he belched the entire alphabet. YOU FEEL ME?
So what to do? Well, first off, despite your desire to FLIP OUT and scream at the offender(s) in question, they probably aren’t even aware that they are causing you to throw up in your mouth a little bit every day. But you certainly don’t want to embarrass the person (maybe some of you do) and buying noise-canceling headphones for the entire office isn’t really economically feasible, so what’s the solution? Here are some initial thoughts:
1. Slipping he or she some Emily Post.
2. Quit your job.
3. Humming at audible levels. (We realize the risks associated with this approach but desperate times, amiright?)
4. Hiring a “personnel monitor” whose sole task is to quietly address these issues with the offender and to issue written warnings, fines and punishments depending on the repulsion level, number of individual co-worker complaints and simultaneous offenses (e.g. slurping and burping).
Seems like a good start. Now it’s your turn.
Apparently! Health.com churned out “10 Careers With High Rates of Depression” and lo and behold, Financial Advisors and Accountants made the list of “fields […] in which full-time workers are most likely to report an episode of major depression in a given year.”
Stress. Stress. Stress. Most people don’t like dealing with their own retirement savings. So can you imagine handling thousands or millions of dollars for other people?
“There is so much responsibility for other people’s finances and no control of the market,” Legge says. “There is guilt involved, and when (clients) are losing money, they probably have people screaming at them with regularity.”
Over at CPA Success, Bill Sheridan writes, “That strikes me as a simplistic and overly dramatic conclusion, with no mention at all of the opportunities CPAs have to help their clients improve their personal and professional lives. But what do I know?” We agree with Bill, that the write-up doesn’t really portray accountants accurately, some might say, “bullshit” but stress is part of your job. Does that mean everyone feels like running into sick room and sobbing every day? Well…maybe some of you. There are plenty of people that thrive on the stress and then there are those that bottle it up until they finally quit with a melodramatic sendoff.
Everyone knows that working long hours for weeks on end can eventually get to even the toughest of white-collar warriors but your run-of-the-mill stressed out accountant typically has methods for dealing with the the busy season blues. Some people exercise; some people get their religion on; some people drink/smoke/snort themselves into oblivion. Do those things work? Sure, sometimes. But we’ve all worked with that person who you expect to suddenly not show up. Are there more of those people than there used to be? Hard to say. Maybe we should talk about it. Let it out; it will feel good. Plus, we’re cheaper than a therapist.
From the Twitbag:
For those not fluent in all things Internet, Atdhe and many other live sports streaming sites are being taken down like
Mubarak the Nixon Administration. The Department of Homeland Security is all over this, having seized ATDHE.net but apparently they’ve relocated here. All of this uncertainty has our reader concerned:
If you’re suffering from a similar malady, please advise below how you plan to deal or merely suggest an alternative prescription for making busy season more bearable.
The following post is republished from AccountingWEB, a source of accounting news, information, tips, tools, resources and insight — everything you need to help you prosper and enjoy the accounting profession.
During the tax season of 1995-1996, Norm Lorch was not feeling well. He had a sore throat, but told himself it would go away. In any case, he did not have time to go to a doctor.
Lorch is principal of Owings Mills, Maryland-based Norman J. Lorch, Chartered, a firm that assists contractors, accountants, and attorneys in areas unique to government contracts.
Eventually, he spoke with a doctor on the phone who prescribed antibiotics – two weeks on and off – but he still did not feel much better. At one point, Lorch passed out, but he told himself that he had tripped on something, picked himself up, and went back to work.
While attending an American Bar Association conference, Lorch met a friend who would be conducting the session he was planning to attend. The friend told him in “pretty clear English” how he looked and said he needed to see a doctor. Lorch said no, but the friend insisted, saying that if Lorch didn’t call a doctor, he would stop the session.
Lorch set up an appointment for the next day. The doctor’s diagnosis was strep throat and made an appointment with a cardiologist for the following Monday. At first Lorch said “No, I have to go to Chicago,” but eventually he acquiesced. The strep had settled in Lorch’s aortic valve and destroyed it, causing congestive heart failure. He was given three to five days to live if he did not have immediate surgery.
“This is a crazy profession. Accountants are nuts. We work ourselves to death. I had allowed my clients to be the most important thing in my life. I didn’t listen to anybody,” Lorch told AccountingWEB.
“Making a few bucks less won’t kill you. When you are tired, quit. When you don’t feel good, stop working. Yes, some clients may leave, but they are going to find someone else if you die,” he said.
“I made a lot of money that year and eventually earned a penalty for underpayment of estimated taxes. I called the Internal Revenue Service to explain, spoke with a supervisor, and she said, ‘if you receive another penalty notice have them contact me.’
“Now, my priorities are my health and my family. My daughter had to leave college during her exams because of my medical condition, and I nearly missed her graduation. My clients can wait, and those that can’t wait can go. When you remember what comes first, everything else will fall in line,” Lorch said.
“When I teach, I tell everybody about this and what stress can do to your health because if I can help one person, it is worth it. I persuaded the moderator at an AICPA tax conference to allow me to speak to a group of 50 or 60 people when I wasn’t scheduled. As we were leaving, one man said, ‘Thank you very much. I am going to the hospital,’ Lorch said.
Since his illness, Lorch has lost weight and is careful what he eats. He walks five to seven days a week for one and a half miles. When he doesn’t feel well, he calls his doctor.
A specialist in financial oversight, compensation, and administration of U.S. government prime contracts and subcontracts, Lorch travels at least 50 percent of his working hours, but now plans travel with his health in mind. “I try to extend the hours, spreading two days of work over three.”
BKD Partner Found Dead at His Office
Welcome to the National Hugging Day edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, someone is miserable at a Big 4 firm. AGAIN. Perhaps it’s been awhile since we’ve covered this, so we’ll make another run at it.
Need some advice on a busy season take-out routine? Worried that a client’s strange penchant for ginormous vehicles could be a Ponz? Having trouble coming up with a superhero name? Email u :[email protected]”>[email protected] and we’ll help you avoid something that involves a flying mammal.
Back to our accountant who really needs a hug:
I started with a Big Four firm a little over a year ago. When I accepted the offer pay was a HUGE concern for me. I took an over $20k/year pay cut to accept a “campus hire” position with a firm when I had six years of accounting experience under my belt (I worked my way up from clerk to manager in the years before joining the firm). At that time they weren’t even considering people with non-public accounting experience for experienced hire positions. I was wrapping up my 150 units (even though I am in a 120 unit state) and figured the experience would be worth it so I could get certified and bounce to somewhere that would pay me appropriately.
Unfortunately, I’m now a second year staffer who is expected to work more than my peers- because “I can handle it.” I haven’t had time to study or sit for a single CPA exam and no one seems to care aside from telling me I won’t get promoted until they’re all done. I requested a lighter workload during the summer so I could study but was turned down, sent on an extended out of town engagement with very long hours and then scheduled on another out of town engagement for the one week my boyfriend was supposed to be in town for work. I feel like I am giving up my entire life for a job that doesn’t even care about me.
I’ve tried multiple times to tell the firm about my concerns and am always shut down. It’s not like I hate the job- I actually like it- I just can’t stand feeling overlooked at best and mistreated at worst. I am burnt out and just wish that this job was more in line with my goals. I’m probably not going to quit during busy season because I cannot imagine doing that to the people I’ve come to care about- those whom I actually work with- but I probably won’t be there in the summer if something doesn’t dramatically change.
I feel lost, like I don’t know what else I can do and like I will go apeshit and quit the day the external binder for my client is turned in. I wish it weren’t the case and don’t know if you have any other suggestions for me at this point. Can you think of anything I can do to save my career and my sanity?
Dear I need a hug,
Your email was ridiculously long, so you’ll note we edited some things out that we found to be less important. We’ll channel a certain Irish talking head to any would-be advice seekers – keep it pithy. If not, expect your message to ignored or edited until it’s a manageable length. You want a full session? Get a therapist.
Now, then. You took a risk. A good risk in our opinion but a risk nonetheless and now it sounds like things haven’t panned out the way you hoped. It sounds like you’ve taken many different approaches to address the problem but ultimately it’s falling on deaf ears and now you feel like it’s affecting your life in an extremely negative way. We would suggest leaving ASAP for your own mental health but since quitting right this second (even though others are doing it) doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in doing, we suggest that you at the very least get the ball rolling. Call up some reputable recruiters in your city and explain your situation. They’ll take a look at your experience and will hopefully be able to give you an opinion on your experience to date and some good options for employment post busy season.
Honestly, you sounds miserable, so we encourage you to get out fast but be mindful to find a job that will meet your work-life needs and is “more in line with [your] goals,” to use your own words. It sounds like you’ve already made up your mind that you’ll quit after busy season but there are some things you can do now so that you’ll have something to look forward to rather than going apeshit. Hang in there and good luck.
While some of you are understandably
broken up CRUSHED that Natalie Gulbis is off the market, there are some who are emotionally exhausted from their experience in the Big 4 and aren’t looking forward to another busy season. That got one Green Dot to thinking:
The following email is making its way around the company, it’s a good bye email from a staff out of the NE region. At first I thought it was funny, but after reading it again, I found it quite troubling. As today marks the start of another busy season, I thought you might want to share this with your readers and stress the importance of mental health. The re end of the day, this is just a job. I think that staff, particularly staff straight out of school, have trouble understanding that. The email ends on a high note and it sounds like he is going to get the peace he really needs, but I hate to think about the hundreds of other people in this industry (this is not a uniquely Deloitte issue) who find themselves in similar situations.
Keep up the good work!
Concerned at Deloitte
Before we get to the farewell email, we aren’t making light of anyone’s personal situation and certainly not the importance of mental health but for crissakes people, your job is not life or death. If your job is weighing on you to the point of misery, talk to someone you trust. And if you need to take a mental health day, or take a leave of absence or just LEAVE, then do so. There’s no point in pushing yourself beyond your limits. We’ve seen it first-hand and it’s not pretty. Just because some people enjoy (and thrive) under the torture of 60-70 hour work weeks that doesn’t mean that you have to. And if you happen to observe a co-worker slowly losing it, take it upon yourself to ask how that person is doing.
ANYWAY, here it is:
Subject: One day I was sitting wondering to myself, why do people do things to intentionally cause themselves pain?
I’m sure some of you have forgotten who I am, and I’ve forgotten who some of you are too, not most but some. I’m sitting here in my old desk in the 2wfc on the 9th floor where I worked during the 2009 audit busy season. I’m writing to inform you that I have decided to part ways with the old uncle D.
I’m not sad and I hope you aren’t either, because this isn’t an end it’s just a new beginning. During my time at Deloitte I meet so many amazing people that I can’t even count them all, so many people have touched my life deeply. I wish I could spend more time with each one of you, and I can. I’m only an email away. During my time here I had a lot of fun, there was a lot of pain, more pain and sadness then I can even hope to describe in a single email. But more and more I’m choosing to only remember the good times, which is making me a better person, a happier person.
Which brings me back to the question I asked myself. Why do people do things to intentionally cause themselves pain? After coming back to the office and reflecting back on my time here I can start to understand. Sitting here in my cold dark cubical on the 9th floor, located in the furthest most isolated corner of the floor, overhead there is no office light as the other cubicles around which all have a single UV light positioned in the ceiling over head, so it’s the darkest cubical around.
Now coming back to all this I can finally see why, why I sacrificed my happiness to sit and stare at a computer monitor for 12 to 14 hours a day. You might be saying, it was because you had too, this was your job. But in our society, in modern America no one can make me or anyone else do anything. I could have just as easily not came in, I could have decided to just leave the firm. But day after day I kept coming. Why? Now looking back I see that it was two things. The first but not most important was my loyalty to the people I worked with, the second was my own fear.
The answer to my fear lies in a song I used to listen to several times every day during the 2009 audit busy season. The song “Drones” by Rise Against is a description of the modern office worker, the song helped me to feel that someone out there understood how I felt, that I wasn’t alone. It speaks office workers who keep coming back to work, to work their lives away. They come back to work every day in order to serve a faceless queen (aka: Money, C.R.E.A.M.). A god which can never love them back or help them attain love because it’s at the end of the day it’s only an object. Yet the people keep working to make that paper.
Well enough of my rant about money. I wanted to thank everyone, even the system which is Deloitte. I want to thank you all for everything you taught me, and all the fun and crazy experiences I had will never be forgotten.
To all the people whom I complained too, didn’t listen too, and got angry with. I am sorry, I want you to know I appreciate all of you dealing with my nonsense and being patient with me, and teaching me. I understand how difficult I can be to work with, and sometimes even be around. I’m sorry if I made your lives harder.
Please keep in touch.
P.S. Yes I am crazy, and no I don’t need help
P.S.S. My email is [redacted] Please feel free to write me any time.
Welcome to another MOANday edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a tax vet is looking to move into consulting with their current firm but in a new office. The current office wants this “star performer” to stick around for busy season but ultimately the decision lies with our hero, who is concerned about burning bridges if they jump before busy season starts. What’s a tax rockstar to do?