For those of you still in college, you’re probably asking yourself what is this “busy season” I keep hearing about? For our tax team, the busy season softly starts around the end of January and runs through to the tax filing deadline – around April 15th. Our tax team is meeting and talking nonstop with clients to strategize the best possible tax outcome, preparing, reviewing and filing hundreds upon hundreds of tax returns. I’m not gonna lie – it’s hectic around here. But thankfully, it all happens during the dreary winter season and only lasts around 10 weeks. Just in time for spring.

As an auditor, my busy season runs parallel to the tax timeframe, but I’m working with clients to audit their financial statement numbers: income statement, balance sheet, cash flows, etc. It’s all that fun stuff you learned about in your intro accounting classes. Most of my clients are non-public companies (privately owned, closely-held businesses), and their lending institution (i.e., bank) requires the company to receive a financial statement audit. You know, to make sure they are up to snuff with the money they were loaned. That’s where we come in.

Depending on who you ask, the impressions of a busy season at a public accounting firm can come across a little worrisome. Well, I’m here to tell you that – if you’re at the right place – it’s not as bad as some people might make it seem.

Yes, during those 10 weeks we work hard. I easily put in 55 hours a week, which includes a few hours on Saturday mornings. But we get to wear jeans, the atmosphere is relaxed, we all keep each other in good spirits with random games, awful jokes, ping pong in our Cleveland office, happy hours and other encouraging efforts. And there’s always free breakfast and lunch to help ease the grogginess of coming in on a Saturday. It’s surely not as fun as being outside making snow angels, but everyone knows that average snow angel only takes two minutes, so you might as well audit with the rest of your free time.

And let’s be honest – you’re going to face some kind of “busy season” no matter where you work. It might as well be in the winter months with people you like, sharing stories over free food or perhaps as you’re braving the wild during your San Diego Zoo Water Fountain Challenge quest.

So when you’re ready to kick start your first busy season, wherever you may be, I’d like to offer one of my personal tips for getting through.

Always have a working pair of headphones (both ears!) and fresh new music. It’s a great stress reliever and putting on my music and cranking out some work really helps me focus. Everyone is different in what kind of music they like, so make sure you are bumping music that gets you motivated and focused. Personally, I can’t go wrong listening to “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion. Why you ask? Well, if Celine Dion’s heart can go on even though Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t in Titanic, then you can go on and finish your audit work paper, tax return or whatever your final product may be.

And don’t be ashamed of the music that makes you happy! But if you don’t want to share what kind of must you’re listening to when someone asks, just say, “How about them Cleveland Browns? It’s looking like our year.” I don’t care if its March, June, September or December, this is proven to work 9 out of 10 times and will instantly change the subject. Celine who?

If you enjoyed our first Staff Perspectives post, be sure to SIGN UP for future posts as we dive deeper into the different aspects of public accounting and the BMF culture. If you ever have any questions on what it’s like working in public accounting, busy season or anything CPA or accounting related, feel free to give me a shout or an email. If you are interested in employment opportunities at BMF but are thinking “Wow! This Travis guy seems odd,” you can connect with our HR Recruiting Specialist, Sara Martin. Even though she isn’t bumping Celine Dion in her headphones at work, she is still cool!

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About the Authors

Travis R. Werner
Supervisor, Assurance and Advisory Services

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