What is the funniest thing that has happened to you during “busy season”? Here’s my most memorable story.
If you have ever worked in public accounting, you know all too well January through April are in fact the longest months of the year. No, we are not referring to shorter amounts of daylight and gloomy winter weather. We are talking about what accountants call “busy season.” We arrive at the office early and leave work late. We rarely get a full eight hours of sleep. Most of us live on fast food and takeout because the time that would typically be dedicated to meal prep now consists of ensuring that our loved ones don’t forget that we live in the same house (let alone exist). Busy season is, simply put, professionally and personally challenging.
Despite the stress of tight deadlines and combing through filings line by line, we continue pushing forward. Why? Because we know we are positioning ourselves for success. Working in public accounting offers a range of benefits. On average public accountants start out with higher compensation packages than accountants working in the private sector. Public accountants also develop a more versatile skill set as a result of the diversity of assigned client work. Experience which is highly valued by hiring managers within accounting and finance departments.
For those who make it through mid-April, your commitment has now also positioned you to take the next step in your career. We realize it is easy to lose sight of the finish line when you are buried in stacks of work papers. In our next blog article, we will explore several 10-minute routines you can do during the workday to competitively position you ahead of your peers when you begin to explore new job opportunities. In the meantime, we decided we would switch it up and share our best busy season story to give you a laugh you need.
If I wanted to work in a car lot, I would have become a car salesman.
I was fresh out of college and had been working in public accounting for only a few months when I had my first real encounter with busy season. The CPA firm that I was working for specialized in car dealerships. Not a glamorous industry to provide auditing services for, but the work was routine and our clients were great to work with. It was December 31st and I was asked to do a physical inventory of all the vehicles in stock for one of our clients. Being New Year’s Eve, I threw on a wool coat, wool hat, scarf, gloves and boots. I figured I would run through the day like every other day before heading home to get ready to ring in the New Year with friends.
As you are most likely aware, Decembers in St. Louis are cold. This day was no exception. Upon arriving at the lot, I stared down at a long list of vehicles. How bad could the day be? Find the vehicle by the corresponding vehicle identification number (VIN) and mark it off the list. As I set out to identify the first car, I quickly realized the task might be slightly more difficult than anticipated. Not only do VIN’s consist of 17 alphanumeric characters in size 6 font, they are not so conveniently located between the dashboard and windshield. My gloves had to go, despite the cold, so that I could document each vehicle as I identified it.
I quickly ran through the “new car and truck” portion of my list. The nice part about new vehicles is that they keep them clean of snow and salt to make them as attractive as possible. This was not the case with the used cars though, especially the older vehicles in the back of the lot. The used cars section had been left untouched for what appeared to be months. Snow rested at the top of the hood of each vehicle covering the windshield.
As I started out checking used car after used car off of my list, the worst case scenario happened. It began to snow… and ice. Almost as if it were raining slush. I wish I was kidding. So, now my hands are cold. I slowly started to lose feeling one finger at a time as I brushed off snow and ice from that tricky little VIN# spot. At this point, I questioned why I ever decided to major in accounting let alone go the public accounting route. I thought accountants worked in offices with calculators and audit papers?! They never told me I would have to freeze to death. Not once!
LONG DAY — By the time I finished checking all of the cars off the list, the snow was really coming down. I was frozen, questioning whether I had hypothermia, and hoping I would regain sensation in my fingers at some point. I was 22 years old. What do 22 year olds live for on New Year’s Eve? Celebrating. What was I looking forward to doing? Going home, crawling under a blanket, and getting warm. After driving home, I sat on the couch seriously contemplating my life choices. A couple of days later, you guessed it, I woke up with a sore throat – just in time for the real busy season.
Moral of the story – Dress warmly, get plenty of Vitamin C and as much rest as possible. Also, just in case, stock up on cold medicine and chicken noodle soup.
Now we challenge you to make fifteen minutes for yourself and share your best story. Reshare this article and comment with your story tagging Burchard and Associates, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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