I remember gearing up to face my very first busy season as an auditor at a CPA firm. I’d heard the stories, but knew that now I was going to get this experience first-hand. Like many firms, I worked six-day, 60+ hour weeks until April 15th. I was nervous. My previous job was at a non-profit where we worked 37.5 hour weeks with a laid-back atmosphere. I knew this would be quite an adjustment!
So with my start date quickly approaching, I researched some tips on how to survive my first busy season. Here's what I found and I hope they'll help you too whether you're surviving your first, second, third, or 10th Busy Season!
First and foremost, inform your family and social circle about your new work schedule. Let them know it may be more difficult to schedule outings until busy season is over. For those non-accountant friends, they may need your help in setting new expectations for your hectic schedule.
Accept the fact that you won’t know everything when you start. If this is your first venture into public accounting, accept that your accounting classes won’t completely prepare you for real-life work. Use the resources and training your firm provides to get your questions answered.
My firm assigns a buddy and a mentor to each new hire. I plan on taking full advantage of these resources to answer all my questions, be it about the firm’s culture, dress code, or work questions. If your firm does not assign a buddy or mentor, be on the lookout for someone who could serve that role for you.
With the long hours approaching, it’s important to try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Everyone’s stress is likely to go through the roof so try to do whatever works for you to alleviate it. For me, working out is a great stress buster. My firm has a gym in their office, and I plan on using it to unwind during lunch or after work.
Schedule fun activities during Saturday evening and/or Sunday so that you have something enjoyable to look forward to after your busy week.
Speaking of scheduling fun events, plan a vacation for yourself once busy season is over. A summer or fall vacation will make for great weather, and plan on unwinding with whatever activity you love most. It will serve as a great reward and it will be something fabulous to look forward to.
Beware of time wasting activities, like checking your email or phone too frequently. Designate special time throughout the day to take care of these activities to ensure you’re not distracted.
Keep a positive attitude! It will help not only yourself, but those around you.
For a first timer like myself, busy season seems like an insurmountable feat. However, knowing other people can survive it year after year makes me know it is doable. Good luck!
--Shannon Neumyer, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review