Radical self care for the busy season

There is a certain hour during the day when you just want to be done. Sometimes it hits predictably in the mid-afternoon, other times it sneaks up on you as personalities clash in the office, a client makes yet another last-minute request, or the gas tank light goes on while you are stuck in the evening traffic.

That feeling is not about the busy season, or a tough Monday. It is about reserves. All too often, we find ourselves running on just barely enough – gas, time, space, money, energy, opportunity. Our reserve tanks are empty, so when unexpected demands arise, we are hard pressed to deal with them gracefully because we are running on fumes. The tough reality is that the patience to deal with an irritated client, the mind-space to thoughtfully review a tax return, and the creativity needed to think your way out of a difficult problem don’t just appear out of the blue. They must be provided for preemptively. That is why reserves are so important. Continue reading

Multitasking, and other lies about productivity

As the holidays recede in the rear-view mirror, many CPAs begin to observe a worrisome trend. The stack of paperwork on the corner of the desk, the number of e-mails in the inbox, and the items on the to-do list begin to expand as if by magic. It is a sign that the busy season is upon us, yet again.

There is another early sign of the busy season, and that is a resurgence of productivity myths. They tend to raise their ugly head (or five) right around this time, preying on unsuspecting CPAs who just want to do better for their clients and families. Here are the five heads of the dragon, slayed one by one.   Continue reading

The 10 habits of happy CPAs

In my many incarnations as a Big Four auditor, a controller, a consultant, and a coach, I have met and worked with hundreds of CPAs. I can report that there are all kinds of CPAs out there: some tired, bored, flustered, bossy, loud, and some – why, yes – happy! My amazing discovery is not only that happy CPAs exist (which by itself is a pretty big deal), but that they are not singularly defined by industry, job title, age or gender. Rather, what sets them apart from the rest of the grouchy crowd is what they do differently.

Here, in no particular order, are the ten things that I have consistently observed happy CPAs do. Continue reading

Busy season CPAs: 5 steps to recovery

By Natalia Autenrieth

Busy season… Say it to a room full of CPAs and you get a round of all-knowing nods in return. “Busy season” is like a secret code: to those in-the-know, it stands for long hours at the office, mad dash to the deadline, poor team morale, and missed family gatherings. Many CPAs have resigned themself to trudging through 5 months out of the year, and feel there is not a lot they can do to change their predicament. After all, the common agreement seems to be that you have surrendered quality of life at the door in exchange for that CPA license to hang on your office wall. Continue reading