[IMGCAP(1)]During the last month and a half the following occurred: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. There is this dress on Facebook and nobody can figure out the color of it. The East Coast has been pounded by snow, and the West Coast will wait another year for winter along with the rain to arrive.
If you haven’t noticed these events occurring or if you are increasingly finding yourself unaware of the activities going on in your local and surrounding community, it’s time to step back from your computer and get some fresh air. (I mean it! Go outside and breathe in some fresh air.)
The accounting industry encourages long hours, especially during tax season. But just because long hours are the norm does not mean that CPAs are excused from participating in the community during busy season.
CPAs should frown upon their colleagues sitting at their desks without interacting with their colleagues in the office, at the very least. Having awareness and knowledge of the expectations within your community is integral to your success as a CPA. Without communicating with our colleagues, our teammates or our clients, we can make decisions and move forward with plans that make an impact, but do they make the right impact upon the situation?
Below are five opportunities for you to efficiently see and hear what is going on in your community:
1. Take your meetings outside. There is something about nature that brings out creativity, enhances communication and maximizes focus. Taking your meeting outside allows you to change your perspective and potentially find the solutions that have been hiding inside the office. Taking your meetings outside allows you to multitask. You can go grab that snack that you sought all morning while developing solutions. If you haven’t figured it out already, most solutions don’t come from staring at your computer screen.
2. Participate in your firm events. The ice cream social, the Friday evening happy hour, the fun pranks, the group lunches and dinners, and the friendly completion—whatever it is, participate! The information you will learn and the ideas that you will come across are worth the 15 minutes away from your desk. Your firm provides these activities and social stimulations for your mental health. So take part in them. And while you are at it, talk to some of your colleagues about how they deal with the stress and pressure of tax season.
3. Take a night off from the office. As I say this, I’m sitting in my office while my wife and kids are at home asleep. But tomorrow night will be a night at home. A night to relax with my family. A night to find out how school is going for the kids and work is going for my wife. Tomorrow will be my opportunity to hear about the successes and challenges my family faces. Tomorrow will be my opportunity to interact and offer my ideas to make my family more engaged in everything that we do together and apart.
4. Take personal phone calls. Just because you have a lot of work on your plate doesn’t mean that your personal life completely goes away. January through April “CPA” should be no different than May through December “CPA.” You should always be approachable. When your mom calls, don’t ignore her. If your brother wants to get together for dinner, make it a priority. Your personal relationships will be with you for a long time. Don’t let your career get in the way of those personal relationships. Your firm understands that everyone has personal needs. Take care of them, and you will find you’re more productive and focused in the office. Not to mention, your personal relationships may offer you new opportunities for exciting work.
5. Continue your (non-busy season) routine. So you are working 20, 30 or 40 more hours than your typical routine allows for? There is a way to get it all done. There will be sacrifices, but don’t throw away your routine due to your business. Work within the parameters that your routine allows. Communicate with your colleagues, family and friends on scheduling changes and stick to the changes. The people around you will appreciate it and it will reduce the conflict that you will face. And upon the completion of busy season, the people you see during those routines will appreciate that you made an effort to continue your relationships during this stressful time.
If you find yourself overwhelmed, unsure of what is going on in your community, with your clients, or your family, take some wise words from Ferris Bueller: “I've said it before and I'll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Adam Blitz, CPA, is a tax and consulting manager at Wiebe Hinton Hambalek, LLP in Fresno, Calif. Along with his CPA, Adam has a Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies from Fresno Pacific University. Adam authored a thesis entitled, "The Leading CPA—the value of the leading CPA." Adam is focused on working with his clients, colleagues, and industry professionals in enhancing the value of the CPA. For additional information, he can be contacted at Adamb@whhcpas.com or via Twitter @getblitzed.
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