BIG 4: Five Tips to Survive Busy Season
Jan 23, 2013 - Posted by Kevin Hsu
For many of us auditors, December was the calm before the storm. Everyday until the New Year we enjoy as if it is the very last day of our lives. Maybe I'm being a little bit too dramatic, but the fact of the matter is nobody and I mean NOBODY looks forward to busy season.
When you have four people cramped in a small room for 12+ hours, stress is high, tension is in the air, and tempers flare out of control. People end up sick and some even having to go to the hospital. It is literally as close to a war zone as you can get in a first world/corporate environment.
1) Take Regular Breaks
Get up from your seat, walk around, or go to the restroom jus to collect yourself. You are stressed and there is a lot of work to be done. But, sitting for hours and hours on end is not good for your back, neck, or overall health. Do yourself a favor and take regular breaks. Your body will thank you for it and you will be more productive when the clock hits 10PM.
2) Manage your Senior/Manager/Senior Manager/Client's expectations
Keep your co-workers updated on the status of your work. Not only will the team be able to plan better, but they might be able to help you out if they end up finishing their work. Communicating with your team is the key to managing their expectations. Not everything can be done in five minutes and some detailed tests could take days. If you feel as if you won't have time to finish something, speak up and let your boss know. Stand firm, but also make sure you have a good reason. Manage his/her expectations.
3) Drink Water
Your body is made up of god knows what percent of water. When you are in the cramped closets with no air conditioning, you don't want to be dehydrated. Nobody wants you to get sick. Drink lots of water. Bring a bottle to fill up. It's also a good excuse to go for a walk around the office.
4) Take One Stride At A Time
There is always a lot to do. It always takes more time to do something than we initially planned. Audit work takes time and is tedious. Do one thing at a time and pace yourself. The more work you finish the more work you will get. It's a proven fact that high performers get more work. You don't want to overwhelm yourself, so pace yourself. Truth of the matter is, it isn't a race and you won't get to go home earlier if you finish things earlier.
5) REMEMBER: You Are Not Saving Lives
You are not a doctor, you are not a nurse, you are not a firefighter, you are not saving anyone's life. Nobody dies because you don't finish your 10Q tie-out or tie out the cash flows wrong. This doesn't mean you shouldn't do good work. It just means you need to not take your job so seriously. Yes it is important, but at the end of the day the work always gets done. Your health is more important. When you've moved on and exit public accounting, you'll understand if you don't already.
Remember, there is and will always be light at the end of the tunnel. Keep on keeping on!