busy season

It should come as no surprise to my family, close friends, and accountants everywhere that January traditionally marks the start of what auditors call "busy season" in the world of public accounting. (And since I have some very good friends in tax, I also accept the term "tax season". I just don't ever participate in that bit of it.) After four busy seasons in New Jersey, I'd like to think I know what to expect out of this time of year. 

While 55-hour work weeks are typical firm requirements, my U.S. colleagues and I found it easy to meet and surpass the minimums in our rush to complete each audit in the scheduled time frame so that we could move on to the next client to do it all over again. Days and weeks ran together, much like our dirty dishes and laundry. To prepare for the onslaught of inventory counts, Excel files, memos to file, and countless late nights, in early January I would stock up on essentials like shampoo, instant oatmeal, paper towels, and canned beans. It was like I had a fall-out shelter in my own home. I would even plan our menu for about 15 straight weeks to make grocery shopping each Saturday afternoon after work before crashing on the couch to watch the likes of Dumb and Dumber or (better yet) Professional Bull Riding just a bit easier.

But that's what busy season, as I've known it, is sometimes - survival mode for three or more months.  I usually start an official 100-day countdown as soon as the hours kick in, and on the very next day, when the clock ticks down to 99, JG (my favorite tax girl ever) and I celebrate being out of the triple digits already. Most of life is about the small things, but during busy season, it's about the tiny things.  Like fresh heel tips, ten extra minutes of sleep, copy machines free of paper jams, and the time to eat breakfast. Oh, and the occasional snow day, in which case the heel tips don't matter, as slippers become my shoe choice.

So we're here in Grand Cayman, and busy season has started. Some parts will probably be the same, like the hours, and the deadlines, and probably the paper jams, and certainly the Excel spreadsheets. But the commute is much shorter (10 minutes versus 40 or more), and the weather is different (open-toe shoes instead of thick socks and boots), and we won't be at the client site often. (Trust me; being in the office can have major benefits, as this blog post will highlight.) It will be interesting to look back on this period in a few months and make true comparisons to our U.S. experiences.

I always try to keep in mind that it's a season, quite literally. This season will be longer than normal; rather than ending on April 15th (which really isn't much of a deadline to auditors any way), our season extends to April 30th, takes a break in May, and the comes back full-force in June due to regulatory deadlines. I think my biggest challenge will be putting forth max effort during prime tanning season, but at least I'll have a day (or two!) on the weekends to warm up by the pool for a couple hours.

I say all that to say this: It pains me to say that blog posts will probably be less frequent over the next few months and may have fewer photos, but I'm sure I'll keep it updated with any adventures we're up to. Like NS' kitesurfing experiences on his new kite, or my parents' visit next week, and maybe a possible race here or there. We're also battling an intermittent internet connection at our condo, so it's anybody's best guess as to whether I'll be online on any given weekend.

So for the next five months, while I'm issuing approximately 40 financial statements and meeting billable hour goals all while leading a healthy lifestyle (including maintaining the sun-kissed look), please forgive my blogging tardiness with promises of as many photo-filled posts as this CPA can manage!

And to all my accountant pals: Let's make it happen. It'll be over soon. "Keep accounting."


  1. this would make me very sad if we weren't living in the same country and i didn't know that at least i'll still get to see you once a week (and probably more) :)

  2. oh my thank God you're here! working for the weekend, as always... :)

  3. Ahh thanks for the shout out! Can't believe it's taken me almost 4 months to catch up to this post, but fitting as we finally finished the big Z today and I can officially put busy season behind!! Vacation here I come :)