Posted on April 28, 2011 by Diane Thiercof
Tax season is over! No more setting my alarm for 5am, 6 days a week. No more missing my friends and family because I don’t have as much time to spend with them. Finally, no more going to work while it is dark and leaving while it is dark! If you’re anything like me, by the end of March you were dreaming of life after tax season. You may have even made vacation plans for the summer just to remind yourself that it will all be over soon. I don’t actually fish, but I like the thought of being outside (out of the office) in a peaceful, stress-free and serene setting. Much the opposite of life in a CPA firm during the first quarter of the year.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda
When you have an opportunity to look back on the season, hindsight, as always, is 20/20. For me, there were couple of things I wish I had done differently. The most important being that in mid March I looked into the proper ergonomics for my workstation. My firm generously installed a tray under my desk for my keyboard and mouse. After experiencing life sitting at an ergonomically correct workstation, I really wish I had looked into this much sooner! There are plenty of websites out there to provide you information about creating an ergonomically correct workstation; the one I used was through Health.com. Spending time reflecting on tax season enables me to learn from experiences and maybe do things differently next year.
Transitioning into the rest of the year
Often times friends and family will ask me what we do between the end of April and the end of the year. Surprisingly enough, there is still plenty to do. Remember all of those extensions your firm filed? Well, you now get to go back and prepare them. There are also other deadlines throughout the year that don’t get as much attention because they tend to pertain to a more specified group of clients. Nonetheless, they will require your time and focus intermittently. There are also fiscal year end clients who file their tax returns between April and December. Finally, there is plenty of audit work, including the auditing of employee benefit plans. So yes, we actually work the rest of the year and stay plenty busy! There may be a bit of a letdown immediately following April 18th because many people will be out of the office, you won’t be working as many hours and there isn’t that sense of urgency to get the work done. In time you will find your groove again and sail through to the end of the year.
Filed under: Tax Season | Tagged: employee benefit plans, ergonomics, fiscal year, tax season | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 16, 2011 by Sarah Friesen
Many of you who plan to pursue accounting as a career are likely going to take part in traditional college recruiting as a route toward your first job with a CPA firm. But perhaps you’re looking for a short-term accounting or bookkeeping position to sharpen your skills while you wait to get hired full time. Having searched for a job within the past year, I can share some tips – especially as the recession’s shadow still hovers over the job market:
- Sign up with temp agencies and staffing companies: Places such as Accountemps, Boly:Welch and Motus Recruiting can be invaluable in helping identify your strengths and matching you with possible temp positions that can offer you valuable experience. Campuspoint is aimed particularly at students. There are also many other local staffing organizations. Agencies such as Accountemps also offer online computer training programs, so you can work on improving your Excel skills as you hunt for a job, for example.
- Interview accountants about their jobs: As you begin to network, ask established CPAs out for coffee and inquire about their jobs, how they got to this point and any advice they have for you. For the most part, I think people enjoy talking about their jobs. I asked multiple CPAs to meet with me for informational interviews when I was embarking on my job hunt, and everyone seemed happy to sit down with me. I was always surprised, too, at the varied paths that people had taken to becoming accountants and CPAs. I met with one CPA who had earned a bachelor’s degree in a completely different field before deciding to pursue her post-bac certificate in accounting. That reassured me, also coming to accounting from a very different profession, about my own future potential. And I always picked up at least one valuable tip from each conversation. Not only that, but you never know whether the person you meet with could be in the position of offering you a job someday. These connections matter.
- After the real interviews, don’t forget this step: You’ll get plenty of advice on how to conduct a strong job interview, how to dress the part and more. But here’s something you may not hear as often: Write a thank-you note after the job interview. Yes, sitting down to handwrite a note and mailing it the old-fashioned way may seem archaic. But in an age of more transitory communication methods like social media, a handwritten thank-you truly stands out and demonstrates that you are serious and committed about the position you’re pursuing. Take five minutes to perform this step and buy a postage stamp – it’s worth it!
For more job hunting advice, sign up for the OSCPA’s July Brown Bag session, Landing Your Next Job on Tuesday, July 12th. It’s free so get registered now!
Filed under: Job Search, Private Industry, Public Accounting | Tagged: accountemps, boly welch, campuspoint, cpa, excel, job search, motus recruiting, thank you note | Leave a Comment »