Just as the question was posed in the viral sensation What Does the Fox Say?” – What does the auditor say – during busy season?

Years ago, I heard a very young consultant/accountant in our firm give a bit of consolation to someone who was feeling down about the workload during tax season. He used this sport analogy: “This is our Super Bowl; we cannot slow down or decrease our performance now. We are expected to be our best during this time of the year.” A truly great and accurate statement.

Right now it is busy season (or as you may know it, tax season). Busy season has become a term that is used by accountants to refer to the period each year from January through April 15.

I recently got an email from a colleague in Dallas, Texas and he expressed his wishes that I have a great accounting season. That is also a darn good descriptor of this time of year.

After all, we are all accountants, regardless if our area of emphasis is tax, auditing, accounting, consulting, internal controls, business evaluations, or fraud examination.

Personally, as an auditor, I enjoy busy season.

Busy season is a time when firms are incredibly efficient, accurate, and work as a team. I believe employees enjoy being a part of a team that is, in fact, busy.

Don’t forget- busy season also provides the incredibly convenient and socially acceptable excuse to overeat, skip workouts, ignore chores at home, and overlook our member responsibilities with volunteer groups.

For most of us, the weather is less than perfect during this time of year. So why not stay inside, sit at your desk, meet with clients and get a lot of high-level work done? Who of us joined our profession thinking our work hours would be short every winter?

Make no mistake about it, accountants are busy professionals. I believe our profession has developed into having a nearly year-round busy season. As accountants, we have to recognize that income tax services are the most commonly recognized service we offer our clients.

Ultimately, as an auditor and accountant, I am a compliance guy. I enjoy working within the compliance box. Following compliance rules is somewhat easy for me and for most accountants. We have rule books, we have regulators, and we also have a very good understanding of risk.

We can easily measure the risk of working outside of those rule books because we can calculate and determine the potential cost for not following the rules. All accountants have a wide variety of rule books from which to apply the rules, standards, and laws for all of the transactions our clients engage in.

So, during the next few months will I be doing any tax work? Absolutely.

A lot of us auditors and accountants will review and process returns. We will meet with tax clients. On occasion, we may even explain to clients why their taxes may have increased significantly.

I may even offer recommendations, knowing I will confirm the advice provided. And at times, simply stating, “I do not know, but I will get back to you”.

Compliance folks, and accountants in general, respect and enjoy the challenge of following the rule books and developing ideas, concepts, and plans that may not be specifically addressed in the current books.

Audit, accounting, and tax work are part of what makes tax season, busy season or accounting season a great time of the year. This is just a glimpse into some of the things an auditor says during tax season. I need to stop blogging now, I have to go — I need to work on some tax returns.

Arthur Winstead, Jr., CPA
Arthur Winstead, Jr., CPA

Art Winstead, CPA is a general services partner in DMJ’s Greensboro office and is the firm-wide Accounting, Auditing, and Quality Control Partner. He serves as team captain and team member for on-site peer reviews and off-site engagement reviews throughout the country and the State of North Carolina. In addition, Art currently serves as the A&A Consultant-Director for CPAmerica International. 

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