September 19, 2018

Busy season

The IRS Has the Mother of All Nightmare Legacy Systems

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 survivor guilt cpa industry

Busy Season Triggers Survivor Guilt in CPAs Working in Industry

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 […]

busy season business travel tips accountants crop

5 Ways to Upgrade Your Busy Season Business Travel

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 […]

cpa prepare busy season tax cut jobs act

A CPA’s Incomplete 2018 Busy Season Prep To-Do List

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

4 Weird Ways to Keep Your Sanity This Coming Busy Season

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 […]

busy season

Now’s the Time to Take a Long, Hard Look at Busy Season

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. […]

bubble-wrap-accounting-stress-relief

Everyone Suffering from Busy Season Depression: Grab Some Bubble Wrap, Stat

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 […]

3 Ways CPA Firms Can Make Busy Season Burnout a Thing of the Past

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 […]

Being a Great Place to Work During Busy Season Means More Than a Free Slice of Pizza

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)?

How to Make the Most of Your Time Before Busy Season

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. 

How to Cope With Post-Busy Season Depression

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 […]

Crackin’ Under Pressure: Making Mistakes During Busy Season

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.

How Will Your Team Air Its Grievances This Busy Season?

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 […]

New Year’s Resolutions That Will Make Busy Season Less Awful

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 –- […]

What Did You Learn This Busy Season?

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

This T-Shirt Sums Up Busy Season

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

#BusySeasonProblems: Avoiding Scurvy

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 […]

92-Year-Old Accountant Shares His Secret to Surviving Busy Season

Nope, not copious amounts of alcohol.

McGladrey CEO Embarks on 37th Busy Season, But Who’s Counting?

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!

CalCPA Basically Confirms That Busy Season Will Probably Kill You

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 […]

Make the Best of Busy Season, You Big Babies

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 […]

Don’t Eat Hours, You Idiots

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 Reminds Audit Staff to Stay Billable This Busy Season

McGladrey isn’t just clinging to the billable hour, they’re trying to put a ring on it.

Before You Leave Public Accounting, Consider This

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 […]

The Best (and Worst) of #busyseasonproblems

The end, it be nigh y’all.

According to Research, You Are Fat Because Busy Season

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. […]

The Forgotten Spouses of Public Accounting

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?

WeiserMazars and Their Blow-Up Shark Win Busy Season

WeiserMazars may not be the biggest or the best accounting firm out there, but they've certainly got the market cornered on self-deprecating busy season posts this year. The firm asked its employees and randos on social media to contribute their busy season survival tips using the hashtag #WhenSharksFly and while the creepy shark is, well, […]

Why Busy Season Is an Exercise in Futility

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 […]

Someone at EY Didn’t Get the Memo About Coming in This Weekend

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 […]

Going Concern Presents: Public Accounting Horoscopes

Wondering what the stars have in store for you today? Wonder no more, GC faithful!

Seven People Who Have a Worse Busy Season Than You

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 […]

The Urban Dictionary Definition of Busy Season Is the Most Depressing Thing Ever

Life at Deloitte should really make this the link in their Twitter bio.  

One in Three Accountants Getting a Little on the Side

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 […]

The Ten Stages of Busy Season

Acceptance is not a stage.

Busy Season Survival Tips For People Who Probably Don’t Do That Well at Life Either

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 […]

KPMG Wants to Be Sure Its People Know They Are Appreciated

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 […]

Potential Firm-Jumper Wants To Know Just How Bad is KPMG Anyway?

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 […]

Is There an Auditor Exodus in the Works Or Is It Just Business as Usual in the Big 4?

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 […]

These Are the Videos That Made Your Busy Season Slightly Less Awful

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.

Invigorating During Busy Season, You’re Doing It Wrong

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 […]

Let’s Make a #BusySeason Playlist

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 […]

Going Concern March Madness: Busy Season Survival — Food & Beverage vs. Technology, Day 2

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.

Day 1 of GCMMBSSF&BvsT is underway and there is still time to vote if you were too busy skipping work yesterday to get around to it. But the rest of us need to keep things moving, so let's do that now.

Here Are Some Bad Busy Season Role Models

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 […]

Apparently, Busy Season Instagrams are a Thing Now

Who knew? mnbinkley might be the Kim Kardashian of busy season if she keeps this up.

It’s Gotten to the Point During Busy Season Where People Are Taking Mental Health Breaks in Bathroom Stalls

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 […]

All’s Unfair on Valentine’s Day During Busy Season

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 […]

It Appears Some Ernst & Young Employees Cope with Busy Season by Stress Eating

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… […]

Les Misérables-Inspired Video Reminds You That Busy Season Kills Your Dreams

As you may or may not know, today marks the day that the IRS will start accepting tax returns for individuals. With any luck, most of your December 31 year-end clients have closed their books for the year and are dropping a metric asston of documents on you. Generally speaking, it's about as good as […]

Come Hell (Caused by a Window Heat Unit) or High Water (From a Fire Hose), CPA Will Be Back at Work ASAP

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 […]

Clearly, Tax Season Would Be Better If It Just Had More Cowbell

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 […]

Enter the Going Concern Busy Season Video Contest For Your Chance at Cash and Fabulous Prizes*

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 […]

An Ex-PwC Senior’s Over-the-top Farewell Email Is a Sign That Busy Season Is Upon Us

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 […]

Here’s an Unconfirmed Account of Ernst & Young’s Flexible Scheduling in Action

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 […]

Going Concern’s Guide to a Healthy Busy Season: Because No One Should Die at Work

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 […]

Developing: Ernst & Young Auditor’s Life Is About to Become a Living Hell

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 […]

Here Are Some Office Olympics Ideas for Your Accounting Firm’s Fall Busy Season

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 […]

Ernst & Young FSO Will No Longer *Officially* Be Asking Employees to Clock Mandatory Hours

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 […]

Ernst & Young Tax Associate Forced to Deal with the Slobs Around Him

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 […]

Reminder: You Could Win a Kindle Fire If You Follow Going Concern on Twitter

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, […]

You Should Update Your Résumé Today

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 […]

Follow Going Concern on Twitter and You Might – MIGHT! – Win a Kindle Fire

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 […]

Accountants Coping with Busy Season: Booze or Spreadsheets?

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 […]

An Accountant’s Tickmark for Life

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 […]

Watch These Big 4 Auditors Pull a Mildly Humorous Prank on Their Intern

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.

Analysis: Are Clients Being More Dickish Than Usual or Are Accountants Just a Little Too Sensitive?

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 […]

Here Are Some Ideas for Surviving the Upcoming Busy Season

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 […]

Hiring Watch ’12: KPMG Is Looking for a Few Good Temporary Auditors

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 […]

Is It Time To Start Fresh at a New Accounting Firm?

Ed. note: Need career advice or a last minute sweet potato recipe? career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll stuff you full of wisdom.

Hi GC,

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?

Please help!!

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.

Clean Slate.

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

Good luck.

Big 4 Senior Wants to Know If Her Family Planning Scheme Is Crazy

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.

Hi!

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?

Thank you!

Hi Europe,

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?

New Audit Associate Details Her First Busy Season Via the McGladrey Blog

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.

Bonus Watch ’11: PwC Gives Most of the Staff a Pat on the Back

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.

Comp Watch ’11: Grant Thornton Auditors Want Some Love After a Tough Busy Season

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.

How Are You Celebrating the End of Busy Season?

I’ll tell you how I’m celebrating – continuing my successful string of years not celebrating. Adrienne? She’s experimenting with home remedies for a stomach flu. But never mind our problems, you guys have somehow survived the January to April stretch without going nuts, assaulting someone and successfully avoiding awkward sexual advances (the latter two sometimes happening at the same time). That means you deserve to celebrate; whether or not that’s on company dime is another question.


Back in the KPMG days, I attended a pretty good throw-down at the Central Park Boathouse for the Financial Services group but that was in the spring of 2008 when the Bear Stearns embers were still hot and everyone who worked on the Citi still thought they worked for a great client (that’s what I was told, anyway). In 2009, end of busy season soirees were a much more muted with individual team celebrations because the world had basically just ended.

Last spring it sounded like it was more of the same. Nothing too out of control and individual teams were left to celebrate how they saw fit. Of course with a successful fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2011 looking good, firms may be ready to jump into the ostentatious end of busy season blowout parties once again. Maybe your partner(s) is/are taking you to Peter Luger’s; maybe it’s an intimate evening at the his/her home where some entertainment will be provided (hopefully from inside the firm). Or maybe it will just a drinks and awkwardly dancing the night away. We can’t possibly know since we don’t get invited to such things (at least officially), so discuss your plans, send us your invites or come up with your own ideas about how to best celebrate getting your life back.

Going Concern Presents: You’ve Survived Another Busy Season Giveaway

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.

Whoever Founded ‘National Employee Appreciation Day’ Probably Never Worked as an Accountant During Busy Season

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.

Employee Appreciation Day 2011 [CBS]
In Pictures: The 10 Happiest Jobs In America [Forbes]

Busy Season Problem Du Jour: The Kleptomaniac Co-worker

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

PwC’s Humor, Laughter and Sanity Preservation Group to Keep Employees in Stitches During Busy Season

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

(Repeat)

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

Will You Find Love This Busy Season?

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.

Looking for love in all the wrong places? Many workers turn to the once taboo office pool in search of companionship, and the search appears to be paying off. More than a third of workers (37 percent) say they have dated someone they worked with over their career; 18 percent report dating co-workers at least twice in their career. Additionally, 30 percent report they went on to marry a person they dated in the office. This is according to CareerBuilder’s annual office romance survey of more than 3,900 workers. Of those who have dated in the workplace, one-in-ten say they have dated someone at work within the last year.

Some workers are dating those above them on the office ladder. When it comes to dating higher ups, women were more likely than men to date someone above them in their company’s hierarchy. One third of women said they have dated someone who holds a higher position in their organization; 20 percent of men report they have done the same.


“Workplace relationships no longer carry the stigma they once did, as 65 percent of workers said they aren’t keeping their romance a secret. However, it is the responsibility of the individuals to understand company policy and make sure they adhere to it,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “Especially in this economy, workers are spending more time in the office, and the lines between working and socializing are being crossed. Workers need to keep it professional under all circumstances, though, to ensure that the quality of their work is not negatively impacted.”

Some workplace relationships may have their beginnings in current workplace crushes. Eight percent of workers currently work with someone whom they would like to date, with more men (11 percent) than women (4 percent) reporting they would like to do so.

Twelve percent of workers reported that their relationships started when they ran into each other outside of work. Some other situations where Cupid’s arrow flew between co-workers include:

• Happy hour
• Lunch
• Working late at the office
• Company holiday party
• Business trip

Haefner offers the following tips for workers who may want to spark a workplace romance:

Know your company’s policy on office dating: While some companies may have a formal policy, others may not have anything at all. Make sure both parties in the relationship are aware of potential rules or consequences.
Social media – office relationship friend or foe?: Before you start posting pictures and status updates about your newfound coupledom, it may be better to inform your co-workers or boss in person. That way, there is less chance for gossip or speculation.
Keep the relationship out of the office: Do your best to maintain professionalism and not let the dating issues affect your performance or others on the job.

The survey also showed the repercussions of workplace romance, with 6 percent of workers saying they have left a job due to an office romance.

Busy Season Problem of the Day: Approaching a Co-worker About Their Disgusting Bodily Functions

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.

Are Accountants Really That Depressed?

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.

Annoying Busy Season Problem of the Day: Streaming Video of Live Sporting Events Is Under Attack

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.

More Proof That Busy Season Could Kill You

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.”

Earlier:
BKD Partner Found Dead at His Office

HELP! I Hate My Big 4 Job Part XLVIII

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]ingconcern.com”>[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.

Your First Melodramatic Farewell Email of 2011 Comes Courtesy of Deloitte

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:

Hey Caleb,

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!

Sincerely,
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?

Hi everybody,

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.

One love,

-[redacted]

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.

Should a Tax Rockstar Transfer to a New Consulting Gig Prior to Busy Season?

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?

Recently had your heart broken? Are you a miserable auditor with no one to turn to? Or an overachiever who needs help convincing their colleagues that you’re not just some know-it-all? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll be your shoulder to cry on (and then slap some sense into you).

Back to the David Lee Roth of taxes:

Hi. I am currently with the tax department and thinking about doing a switch to consulting with my same firm, but a different office. The new position will offer better opportunities and as a bonus, better pay. I have already told my department leaders about this switch.

I think this will be a good switch for me, but am afraid there might be some burned bridges on the way since busy season is about to start and I am one of their star performers. They insist that I stay until busy season is over to make the switch because of the extra work load they will have. The final decision will be up to me, but I don’t want to burn any bridges.

Dear DLR,

First off, let us just congratulate you on the new consulting gig. It’s easier said then done to leave a successful run in one area to try something relatively different (without more DETAILS it’s difficult to know how different your new gig is).

Fortunately for you, your humble editor has some experience with a similar situation. Back in the mid-Aughts, I was granted a transfer from Denver to New York. My transfer was approved in the fall, however the leadership in Denver put forth the condition that I spend one more busy season in the MHC. Looking back on it, I’m glad it worked out that way because I was able to spend one more year working on a client I enjoyed and it better prepared me for my engagements in New York.

In your case, you are switching practices so perhaps you could care less about grinding out another busy season with your tax comrades. Similarly, if you’re the rockstar you claim to be, it probably isn’t too motivating to know that you’re going to bust your ass for 3-ish months but then not have your performance considered for your year-end review.

But you’re obviously torn between your giddiness of a new career opportunity and the possibility of rubbing some people the wrong way if you decide to leave them behind. Honestly, I’m a big believer in doing what you want to do, especially when given the option. So, you shouldn’t be surprised when I say move on to the consulting gig now. I understand that you don’t want to cause any friction but if they are “insisting” that you stay for busy season why did they allow you to make the decision? If they need you so bad, they would “require” you to stay. That’s what Denver did to me but again, their need was probably far greater than New York’s.

But here’s a NEWSFLASH: The team will make it through busy season with or without you. If your colleagues have integrity and support your ambitions, this is a non-issue. Chances are, some of them are completely comfortable no matter what decision you make. Others won’t be. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone because you’ll ultimately fail in that endeavor. If you want to join the consulting team now, then do it. Your tax colleagues will survive and if some of them hold it against you, then you’re better off getting the hell away from them. Good luck.

KPMG Manager Irritated with ‘Other 3’ Calling the Kettle Black RE: Recruiting Methods

This week we’ve shared a couple of examples with you that demonstrate how KPMG is attempting to land some talent from its rival Big 4 firms. The strategy ranges from the Google-ish to the good old fashioned cold call email. After yesterday’s post mentioning the latter method, a Radio Station manager felt compelled to point something out:

I am a KPMG manager and I don’t want everyone thinking that it is only KPMG that is on an easter egg hunt to try land experiived the following linked in messages over the holidays:

PwC M&A Advisory Manager opportunity in Mclean, VA

Zahara Kanji Sourcing Manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers

Hi [KPMG manager],

I hope this note finds you well. By way of introduction, I am the recruiting manager for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Transaction Services Advisory practice. We are strategically growing at various levels across the country. I am interested in your professional background, which seems to align well with our Transaction Services Financial Due Diligence practice. Please reply to this email if you would like to learn more about our business. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best
Zahara

and

Position with Ernst & Young LLP Audit Practice

Renee Scott (Creese) National Diversity Recruiting Manager

[KPMG manager],

My name Renee Scott, Assistant Director of Recruitment with Ernst and Young’s Assurance practice. We are expanding our searches for experienced Seniors and Managers with assurance background and CPA designation.

Sasha Le with HR Consulting Partners, my sourcing assistant, through networking, has identified you as someone we would definitely consider speaking further about these great career opportunities. I’ve opted to make my initial contact with you via LinkedIn, a professional networking venue, so if you are or know of someone who is interested, please contact me at 410-263-3702 or via email at [email protected] OR you can contact Sasha Le via email at [email protected].net or via (626) 839-7174. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,
Renee Scott
Ernst & Young LLP

A couple takeaways now that we’ve sufficiently beaten the competitive recruiting drum: 1) This time of year, there’s a big push to bring on new people because, well, there’s a perpetual shortage of people in some practice areas; 2) if you’re unsatisfied with your current firm, qwitcherbitchin and call one of these recruiters. They’d love to talk to you.

As for our tipster’s motivation:

I just begin to get irritated when staff from the other 3 point fingers at KPMG for being the bad guy. They seem to forget that an audit is an audit and unless PWC has discovered a new shmebit [sic?] to account for that the rest of the Big 4 don’t know about then I am pretty sure they audit the balance sheet and income statement the same way the rest of us do.

Now, then. Some clever commenter on the last post wondered “Whis [SIC] is this big news? Recruiters have been doing this in public accounting for many years.” We admit, this isn’t Andrew Cuomo slapping E&Y and E&Y slapping back but we seriously doubt it’s known just how competitive it is. Plus, the firm’s downplay the whole thing. Look no further than the interview KPMG’s Vice Chair of HR gave to FINS last spring:

[Kyle Stock]: I often read about poaching amongst the Big Four. Has that activity increased or decreased recently?
[Bruce Pfau]: Like any business, there are going to be fluctuations and vicissitudes in the industry in general and there’s a certain amount of movement between the firms. There’s no warfare going on between the firms or any vendettas or anything like that. In general, we find at least when people leave us, by and large, they’re not leaving to go to a competitor. And I think the same is true of our competitors. It’s usually because they see opportunities in either a corporate situation or another consulting environment of some kind.

So, Mr Pfau says it’s NBD but the reality is that the talent at the firms is very similar and when the shortage of people in a particular practice area becomes severe, the leaders in those groups put pressure on the recruiters to find good people to fill the holes. It’s reflective of the culture inside the firms and is part of the underbelly of what is going on behind the scenes. And in case you’re new to the site, that’s what we do here.

How CPAs Keep the Holiday Season Productive

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.

The holidays: a nice, quiet time of year to enjoy with friends and family, while methodically preparing for the upcoming year and a busy tax season. The only problem is very few of us can afford to take off six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year, let alone reduce our contact with customers and clients.

We interviewed a number of CPA firm leaders, from sole prs at large firms, to get their take, advice, and best practices on how to best spend time during the holiday season, while effectively planning for the upcoming year.


Communicate and get face time with clients

The welcome lack of immediate deadlines and calm before the tax season storm provides a great opportunity to get in touch with your clients.

“Every year I tell my clients that the holiday season coincides with the upcoming tax season, and that it’s a good time to get in touch and see where things are financially,” said Mark Eiger, CPA, a New Jersey-based accountant. “One thing you don’t want after Christmas is an April 15th surprise!”

Gail Rosen, CPA, recommends an e-mail communication.

“During my downtime, I like to use the software package Constant Contact to send e-mail updates to clients, contacts, and friends. For example, one update every tax practitioner should consider sending this year is a reminder to their clients that they only have until December 31 to do a Roth conversion without income limits and with the option of spreading the income over two years for tax purposes,” Rosen said.

“The last issue you want is clients who are upset that you haven’t informed them of all their options – and the deadline now has passed. I find that when I send this e-mail update, many people reply back. This exchange creates business opportunities I otherwise would not have had,” she said.

Michael Cecere, a partner at Gray, Gray & Gray LLP, hits the road to get some face time with his clients.

“The holidays can actually be a pretty intense time period with a lot of face-to-face meetings,” Cecere said. “It’s a bittersweet time because we’re busy now, and busy after!”

Stay aggressive on business development

‘Tis a great season to be focused on marketing and networking, recommended James Guarino, a partner at Moody, Famiglietti & Andronico, LLP. “This time of the year, we’re always meeting with clients and networking with our contacts, getting out into the public, and letting people know that we’re available if and when we’re needed.”

Cecere agrees. “The business development element never stops – it can’t take a back seat. We continue to attend networking events, conferences, seminars, and set up meetings. In addition, more companies are back to hosting holiday parties, so we’re becoming busier attending our clients’ parties.”

Self-improvement, continuing education

Most accountants agreed that the relative calm of the holiday season provides a good opportunity for conducting evaluations, performance reviews, and catching up on continuing education.

“We’re continually educating our staff, so at the end of the year, we conduct a lot of in-house training,” Guarino said. “We want to familiarize them with the software and tax systems they’ll use during the upcoming tax season.”

His firm, and others we spoke with, also dedicates a significant portion of time during November and December to evaluations and performance reviews.

Review of tax law

Guarino’s team also makes it a point to review current-year tax law and proposed tax law. “Clients want to know how to improve their tax situation – both for current and future years,” he said.

Steven J. Elliott, tax director at Schwartz & Company, LLP, does the same, saving “time for major tax planning opportunities for both business and individual clients in order to best advise them about year-end tax payments and other planning items, such as minimum IRA/retirement distributions, Roth IRAs, stock trading activity, and more.”

Recharge your batteries

Historically, the holiday season was a time to enjoy with loved ones, and generally chill out a bit; but that’s easier said than done in 2010.

“It’s tougher to disconnect now than ever before,” said Cecere. “Times have changed now that we’re plugged into e-mail 24/7. It’s a never-ending cycle because you’re always connected; the higher up the ladder you go, the greater pressure you’re under to respond quickly.”

Guarino’s firm makes it a top priority to remove as many obstacles as it can to enable employees to recharge their batteries. From October 15 until the beginning of December, they make it a point to take time off to reenergize.

Elliott agrees with this strategy. “Best of all, it’s a time when more family time/vacation can take place in and around the special projects. We need this time to recharge the batteries for the next busy season. And, although it is usually a quieter time, there is always something to do!”

How do you handle customer and client activity during the holidays, and what does your firm do to renew and energize its employees? Send me a note and I’ll tweet your responses on the Chrometa blog.

About the author:
Brett Owens is CEO and co-founder of Chrometa, a Sacramento, CA-based provider of time-management software that accurately records and reports back how you spend your time. Previously marketed to only the legal community, Chrometa is branching out to accounting prospects. Gains include the ability to discover previously undocumented billable time, saving time on billing reconciliation and improving personal productivity. Owens is also a blogger and founder at ContraryInvesting.com, as well as a regular contributor to two leading financial media sites, SeekingAlpha.com and Minyanville.

Do Accounting Firms Care if You’re On Drugs?

Recent data suggests that Wall Street types are still doing drugs with unsurprisingly regularity but their tastes have changed with the seriousness of the times.

That is, they’ve traded in the hard-charging llelo fueled days of ’06 – ’07 with a more reserved and apathetic ganja attitude of ’09 – ’10. Trading coke for pot. Blow foe all know that accountants follow/chase the money so we can safely assume that their proclivities for drug usage have followed suit.

However, you rarely hear about drug abuse problems at accounting firms. So where is all this drug use happening? Apparently, it’s going down at REITs:

The highest levels of abuse seem to be at real estate investment trust companies, a sector that, incidentally, does more random testing than others.

But the test results generally capture drug use among new hires, candidates who knew that they would likely be tested. Random drug testing is rare, according to a spokesman for a bulge-bracket bank who asked to remain unnamed.

Among existing employees, psychologists and counselors say that drug abuse has not slackened. Some even say it is peaking, exacerbated by the credit crisis and the volatile and tenuous recovery that has ensued.

As the article states, random drug testing is already rare but where it happens the least isn’t mentioned.

But like we said, you rarely hear about the drug use that goes on at accounting firms. Which makes us wonder if it’s because it’s not happening period. To our knowledge – accounting firms don’t give employees drug tests as a condition of employment and simply defer to clients who require them (a certain Swiss Bank with proximity to shroom burgers comes to mind).

We’re not suggesting that every Big 4 office is like Bernie Madoff’s north pole but there’s enough of it happening that there is a presence within the firms.

It’s no surprise. You Big 4 types (and anyone at a CPA firm for that matter) go through your personal hell on a seasonal (or maybe a constant) basis so there’s probably a direct correlation with your usage and the time of year. For example – that tax manager that manages to work night after night after night with amazing focus as the final 2010 deadlines draw near? You think they just plug themselves in when they finally go home to recharge for the next day?

Plus, as you’re acutely aware, it’s not just the illegal drugs that are popular, “[T]he rage these days is a Pez dispenser with the head of a red devil. Inside? Pills of Oxycodone or Percocet.” And don’t forget the people that have been popping Adderall since college so they can study for 12 straight hours. That has simply carried over into the 14-15 hour days for X amount of consecutive days during busy season.

And don’t get us started on people who get addicted to fast food (a drug in its own right) in order to save time and eat at their desks. The chemicals in the food from [pick your chain] are just as addictive as any drug off the street or from the pharmacy and cause just as much damage to our bodies.

But as you’ve no doubt heard over and over in the peanut gallery, getting your work done is ultimately what matters. Come hell or high water. Come dependancy, insane weight loss or insane weight gain. And lots of people do whatever it takes to cope with that reality.

So? What’s the scoop these days inside your firm? Are drug tests just a section of your offer letter that you agree to, only to be never reminded of it again? Anyone every been tested? We understand that no one is operating heavy machinery out there but bad things can still happen, quite possibly in the name of client service.

Wall Street Kicks Coke in Favor of Pot and Pills [FINS]

Email Reminds KPMG Tax Group That You Best Remain Chargeable in the Summer-Fall Busy Season

As summer creeps to a close, that means one thing for Big 4 tax compliance folks – Busy Season 2.0. In a lot of ways, this time of year can be worse than the late winter/early spring as the drop deadlines approach and your deadbeat clients that never get you what you need on time remind you why they are your deadbeat clients.

It also means the return of mandatory 50+ hour weeks (that’s on the low end). Typically a simple communication from one of the higher-ups in your group should suffice but sometimes a few extra instructions get included. This was the case in an email sent to the troops in KPMG’s Fed Tax Group in the Dallas office yesterday afternoon:

From:

Sent: Wednesday, August 04, 2010 2:42 PM

To:

Subject: 2010 Fall Busy Season Hours

The summer-fall busy season is now upon us. Effective immediately through September 15th, all senior associates and associates in the Fed Tax practice should have a minimum of 50 hours of chargeable work per week. If you don’t have work to fill this time, please contact Elizabeth Emerson immediately with your availability and she will work to assign your time to projects. New this year, if you have any unassigned time, the expectation is that you will send a short email to your manager and copy [redacted] on a daily basis with the number of available hours (out of 10) that you have to work on projects. As you are assigned please remember that it is imperative to keep [your timesheet] updated and accurate.

Thanks in advance for all your hard work and efforts during this busy season.

The “short email” probably won’t apply to many SAs but there are probably more than a few A1s and A2s that will find gaps in their day and a quick typing of “I’m unassigned for X hours” today will probably suffice. Annoying? Yes. Necessary? Perhaps. As everyone knows, if you’re not fully chargeable, it could mean the end of your illustrious Big 4 career (and even if you are, that might not save you) and Fed Tax compliance is known a popular group for layoffs come post-October 15th.

But our source interpreted the email this way:

I guess we will have to start asking for permission to check emails and take bathroom breaks, otherwise we will have to “send a short email on a daily basis” explaining why we were unchargeable for 30 minutes a day…

So tax people – how do you read this email? A friendly reminder with a simple request or just one more thing to lump on your pile? Discuss.

Tax Season Ends Thursday Which Means You Don’t Have to Hit the Snooze on Friday

Along with improved personal hygiene, the end of busy/tax season brings the end of sleep deprivation.

Yes, we realize that some of you dolts out there that like to boast that you still dominate your workload on as little as 3 or 4 hours of sleep are either A) lunatics or B) so delirious that you don’t realize that you’re on the brink of lunacy.


FINS surveyed some tax pros about their sleeping habits and found that on average, those surveyed only got 6.8 hours of sleep and that 30% of them felt fully rested while at work.

For the rest of you, getting the 7 to 9 recommended hours of sack time will not only benefit your health (sleep deprivation is also related to weight gain) but it also could result in a safer work environment.

Not to mention that your significant other will appreciate the additional attention which might, if you’re lucky, result in other nocturnal activities as opposed to just sexting. Unless of course you happened to fall bassackwards into a work relationship then you can keep up the cubicle sex as you see fit.

Tax Accountant Survey: Sleep, a Career Casualty [FINS]

Picture of the Day: How to Keep Staff at Work During the Waning Days of Tax Season | 04.09.10

We’re dispensing with words today in favor of the following deterrent.


It’s our understanding that if you breach this guard before granted permission to leave, then something like this could happen:

Three Remedies for the Busy Season Hangover

Greetings, red-eyed accountants. I hope those of you who celebrated yesterday’s sign-off didn’t drink the local watering holes dry last night. The markets are closed tomorrow, so hit the town again tonight and find yourself a Wall-Streeter (or is it a midtowner now?) to shack up with!

Who am I kidding? You’re probably going to sleep like babies for the first time in months.

Regardless of how you spend your first few days of re-born freedom, you need to be sure not to get caught up in the whirlwind slow season.


These short drops in production need to be stretched to maximum gain. Here’s are few ways to make the most of your slow hours:

Cash in that vacation time – One of the (few) perks of a public accounting gig is the incredible amount of personal time. Five to six weeks of vacay is simply unheard of in the private sector (three weeks are standard issue). So why not do something with your time? Sign up for the mass emails from travel sites and pick a random location to cash in those hotel points that have accumulated over the last three busy seasons.

One GC reader told me, “I’m going to Bermuda in a few weeks. Why? Because JetBlue had a special, I’ve never been, and I’ll be damned if I lose out of my vacation time.” FWIW, many of the airlines are running specials now for flights in the next few months. Pick a random location and get the hell out.

Recharge your batteries and your resume – Pick a Friday or Monday in the coming weeks and call in sick. Book yourself a day of relaxation; hit the spa, the golf course, or work on that rusty ‘72 Chevy taking up room in the garage. Whatever you do, keep the Blackberry on your nightstand and spend your day away from the office. After a day of mental relaxation, pick up your resume and make your time in public start working for you.

Shop around for new work – So you want to work at a hedge fund but are currently auditing depositories – what the hell are you wasting your time for? Now is the time to talk to your mentors and work with staffing to really push your accounting career in the direction of an industry that interests you. Volunteer to do clean up work on a client that is decimated by team members taking vacation. Do what you need to do to begin getting the exposure to work that is relevant to your career aspirations.

For those of you done with busy season, have a drink and enjoy your weekend, but don’t forget about your comrades with 4/15 deadlines. The end – after all – is near.

SEC Deadline Watch: Try Not to Make a Scene

So today marks the last major deadline for those working on SEC filers and that could mean that your life belongs to you once again. We should also mention that March 31st is a major deadline for many non-SEC clients so there are a lot auditors rejoicing today (or completely losing their shit).


Whether you plan on celebrating the end of your busy season by drinking yourself blind or sleeping at home rather than the office, is matter of personal choice. There will be no shortage of celebrations anyway – clients, team members and if you’re lucky, a firm-wide celebration after the tax trolls cross their finish line.

This also means that the talk of merit increases, promotions and layoffs will start swirling. PwC and E&Y have already re-reassured their troops that raises are coming this year. Some offices have seen the exodus begin so things will remain interesting and we definitely want to know about it.

Not everyone will be raging however. The aforementioned tax return jockeys still have two weeks of listening to ball-baby clients. For those that are still chasing their CPA, maybe you take a breather or maybe you just keep killing yourself and granted, some audit teams (e.g. Overstock.com) are still working but if you passed the finish line today, congrats, well done, yada yada yada.

Compensation Watch ’10: Ernst & Young Still Planning on Merit Increases

A little more from inside E&Y to round out the week. We got a tip earlier in the week that there was an oddly-timed town hall going on in Chicago this week. Our tipster indicated that the meetings usually occur after the June 30 year-end or in September.

We asked around and from the sounds of it, the meeting amounted to an extremely sober pep rally. The need for a little HR cheerleading is completely understandable, considering the month E&Y has had.


“[T]hey just talked about how they know morale is down, yet no plans for how to fix it. Additionally, they said there would be raises this year, but no mention of how large or small…[and] your basic HR ‘Thank’s for your help’ stuff.”

We haven’t heard the details for the cause “low morale” but it’s quite possible that it could be due, at least in part, to the ehmanlay rothersbay uckshowfay. Plus, busy season is in the home stretch and most people are just over it at this point. As far as fix for morale, our suggestions of Canadidan Tuxes, Timberlands and Hitler videos are obviously being ignored with extreme prejudice. We’re all out of suggestions. Maybe they aren’t the best ideas but at least we’re trying.

The silver lining here is that comp increases are still on the agenda after the initial announcement made by Steve Howe back in January. If they go back on this promise — we’re confident they won’t — you can just blame it on Dick Fuld.

Tax and SEC Deadline Watch: Are You About to Get Your Life Back?

Doubtful!

But it is March 15th and corporate return extensions are being submitted en masse. Tomorrow is also the deadline for accelerated filers to submit their 10-Ks so auditors that are borderline delirious (and probably feeling frumpy) might get more than four hours of sleep this week.

For you tax jockeys, today could mean a couple of things: 1) this is a bump in the road and your life will be even more hectic as your deadbeat clients who are now realizing that April 15th is coming up fast or 2) you don’t touch anything that isn’t an 1120 and you’re in the clear for awhile.


And for you auditors, hopefully you haven’t forgotten our little teaching lesson from the previous deadline? Try and catch all the embedded “f*cks.” And hey! E&Y is still having Canadian Tuxedo Fridays for a couple more weeks so that’s something to look forward to, amiright?

Yes, there are some of you out there that are still billing monster hours with no end in sight. But look at this way, if you haven’t quit by now, you’re in it to the end, so you better just read this reminder from Deloitte and get back to it. It’ll be over soon enough.

Are Accountants at a Higher Risk of Experiencing Workplace Violence During Busy Season?

Seems like logical conclusion, right? Okay, it’s not the post office but yeesh, have you noticed the bitter Bob in the cubicle next to you? Is he approaching the breaking point? Busy season sucks after all and who knows when he’ll eventually crack:


Is our suggestion that accountants might be more likely to snap a little overblown? Maybe. But read this description from AccountingWEB before you blow us off:

You are sitting at your desk on a sunny Thursday afternoon. Your company is experiencing some hard times, and there have been layoffs company wide. A co-worker has been part of the layoffs, and is very distraught. The co-worker may have known layoffs were eminent, and thought it would never happen to them. All of a sudden, the co-worker pulls out a gun and starts shooting up the office!

Sound familiar? Of course! We imagine that someone throwing their 10-key at your head is more likely scenario but violence is violence. The article cites OSHA stating that 2 million people are victims of workplace violence every year but what’s even more exciting/troubling is the BLS survey that “70% of workplaces don’t have any type of violence prevention program in place.”

The solution? Training of course! AccountingWEB breaks it down like this:

“Train managers and supervisors on how to detect the early warning signs of potential violence” – In other words, you know that guy who says ALOUD he’s thinking about punching the next person that asks him a stupid question? You should probably should have a word with him.

“Tell employees that the firm wants to know about any threats or incidences, and that they are extremely serious about handling these problems.” – Naturally it helps if your company follows through on “serious about handling these problems” part. In other words, the guy swinging the sledge around should be tarred and feathered and then fired in front of the entire company. The proceedings should be broadcast internally for those that can’t attend in person. It’s simply not enough to fire the person. Public humiliation is imperative so people get the picture that this shit won’t be tolerated.

“Implement a zero tolerance policy in the handbook relating to workplace violence” – And by zero tolerance, we’re talking no noogies, wedgies, open handed slaps, arm slugs, bloody knuckle contests or even berating someone to the point that they develop an eating disorder.

Violence in the Workplace: Are You Next? [AccountingWEB]

Ernst & Young Announces Canadian Tuxedo Fridays for the Remainder of Busy Season

Officially, it appears that it’s just half of the Canadian Tux. You can show up in the jacket if you want but we’d advise you lose it while at the office.


Oh right, showing up at your client from head to toe in denim is not advisable so that eliminates a fair share of you. As for the rest of you, kindly schlep that extra outfit with you just in case. You never know when you’ll need the biz-pro or biz-casual uniform handy. On a somewhat related note, it’s not entirely clear is if the Texas Tuxedo is allowed.

Allowing denim on Fridays during busy season is probably not unprecedented but it may be enough to get some of you through the next 30-ish days. Enjoy.

SEC Deadline Watch: One Week to Go For Large Accelerated Filers; Is It Really the End?

Not that we need to tell any of you working on a LAF but marking the occasion seems appropriate. For those of you would like to know just what the hell it is we’re talking about, March 1st is the 10-K deadline for large accelerated filers (market cap of $700 million or more and few other conditions).

The sleepovers and MSG overdoses are almost over! Plus, now you can dump your busy season bitch. Rejoice!


Actually, not so fast. Whether or not next Monday’s deadline brings an end to your busy season is another story. Some of you may be lucky enough to coast for the next month or so but since staffing was an issue for more teams than usual this year, we’re guessing most of you will get to hop on another team to help them cross the finish line.

For those of you not on an LAF, you’re probably relieved if you happen to be getting an extra set of hands in the coming weeks. And then there are those of you that don’t work on public clients at all that probably need the help but won’t be getting it for another two weeks when the next deadline passes. Even then you might not get the extra help you need.

Well, shit. Maybe we shouldn’t have brought it up.