July 22, 2018

3 Ways Your Boss Causes Busy Season Fire Drills

Nothing can make your life a living hell more than a boss that turns everything into a last minute fire drill, especially during busy season. We’ve all had those bosses. Gallup’s research reveals that only about one in 10 people possess the talent to manage. These are not good odds.

It’s almost like these bosses relish in the thrill of the stress. Maybe they secretly wish they were skydiving in the Alps for a living. Now they have to settle for waiting until the last minute to file that Arizona state extension request. That is exhilarating. Yeah, not really.

When you are a staff or senior associate, having a fire drill boss sucks. It’s frustrating because you are trying to stay on top of your to-do list and be proactive. You try hard to get things done efficiently so you can, I don’t know, have somewhat of a life outside of the office?

We all understand that things come up, client emergencies happen. With proper planning and lots of communication, these last minute emergencies could potentially be avoided. So here are a few ways your boss causes busy season fire drills and what you can do about it. I’m coming from a tax perspective, but these apply to most situations with any kind of deadline

  • The Friday afternoon emergency — Like when your manager says they forgot about the 30 state extensions that are due tonight. Not fun. The best way to remedy this situation is to understand what your deadlines are during busy season. Reach out and schedule a meeting to discuss important deliverables for the next month or two. Instead of the Friday afternoon emergency, you would have approached your manager on Monday about the 30 state extensions so you could get started ahead of time.
  • The ASAP turnaround. When your manager says they promised the client a draft of the tax return tomorrow morning and are just reviewing it now. And then he asks, can you stay to make any changes that I have?  Annnnd it’s 6 pm. The most important thing to do here is to check in regularly to make sure you understand client deliverable dates which are typically different from federal and state due dates. Sometimes the ASAP turnaround can’t be avoided but at least you can know your due dates and check in with your boss about them.
  • The return that sits for 2 weeks. This is a goodie. Your manager tells you that you need to rush to get something done and then it sits on her desk. The return sits for weeks until, “The client needs this ASAP.” Classic. A great question to ask is, “When do you plan on reviewing this?” or “When is a draft due to the client?” ahead of time. This way everyone is on the same page with the timeline. If the return is sitting, check in and ask why.

At the end of the day, it really comes down to a few key items. Understanding deadlines (including government, client, and internal), active communication all the time, and checking in on status so you can be proactive and helpful. That should help keep your busy season (relatively) fire drill free.

Image: iStock/shironosov

Related articles

Job of the Week: Do You Have a Preternatural Ability for GAAP Disclosures?

hire me2.jpgSince there seems to be some unhappy campers out there we’ll take a moment of your day to tell you about a position that might make you less miserable or hopefully better compensated:
Company: Morgan Stanley
Location: New York
Title: Associate/Manager
Description: Associate or Manager for our Legal Entity Accounting & Disclosure Group. Responsibilities will include gaining an understanding of the firm’s equity financing products, derivatives and securities lending business in order to assist in producing and analyzing many of the division’s financial accounting disclosures.
Skills Required: BS or BA in Finance and/or Accounting, CPA preferred; 3-5 years of experience in Public Accounting and/or financial services industry; Must have thorough understanding of FAS 133, FAS 140, FIN 46, FAS 157 and FAS 161 FASB pronouncements
See the full description at the GC Career Center and if this position doesn’t tickle your get your ass off the couch/ship-jumping bone, go to the main page and find your next temporary dream job.

Recruiting: Considering the Non-Big 4 Employers

BelushiCollege.jpgAs recruiting continues this week, we’ll put out the idea of opting to starting your career with a firm or company as opposed to starting at a Big 4 firm. Regardless of the Big 4’s dominance of the BW list, there are several smaller firms that make good offers and all businesses need number crunchers to track all the bloody money.
And this year, since many of the Big 4 don’t appear to be making as many offers, going with a national or regional firm or private company becomes a serious option for many recruits.
For the recruits out there, are you giving serious consideration to taking a position with a non-Big 4 firm? For the rest of you, is starting your career at a Big 4 the only way to go or can relative happiness and success be found elsewhere?
Discuss in the comments.