When you enter the world of public accounting, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The learning curve is steep and you will encounter many roadblocks along the way – especially during the infamous “busy season.” Throughout my first busy season, I truly began to understand the magnitude of this time of year – the work got harder and the days got longer.
March 21st, 2017 is a day that I replay in my mind a lot....
I was sitting at my desk working on one of our assurance engagements when my phone rang. It was my dad. I debated sending it to voicemail because I was busy, but something made me answer the phone. On the other line, my dad began telling me that my mom was found unresponsive and had been rushed to the ICU in critical condition. Immediately, I realized I needed to catch a flight to my family’s home in Atlanta. But as I hung up the phone and started packing up, it hit me – “what am I going to do about my work?”
I recall walking into my manager’s office and telling him what happened. Asking for time off during my very first busy season made me anxious, but I knew that he would be understanding. I remember trying to come up with an answer to a question I thought he would ask: “How long will you be gone?” To my surprise, however, that never came up. Instead, while I stood in his office trying to keep myself together, he began searching for flights to Atlanta leaving that afternoon. By the time I left his office, he had presented me with several flight itineraries in an effort to get me to Atlanta as quickly as possible.
That moment, and the following weeks of “busy season” that I missed to be with my family, is when I learned how critical it is to have a cohesive group all working together to achieve the same goal.
My absence created a void that had to be filled by my peers, as projects this time of year couldn’t just be put on hold. During my absence, work that should have been done by myself was completed by others. My co-workers made their days even longer and spent more time away from their own families so that I could be with mine. And upon my return, there weren’t mounds of overdue work for me to complete. Instead, I was met with nothing but well-wishes and sympathy.
There is a general stigma surrounding public accounting that you must work your hands raw each spring just to stay afloat; that nothing matters but work during busy season. My experience this past spring demonstrated that this stigma is simply not true at B&M.
Everyone works hard here, not just for themselves and their career, but also for the good of the group. When something needs to be done, someone does it – whether it’s their responsibility or not. When you need help, someone is there to lend a hand – whether it’s convenient or not. At B&M, cohesiveness is essential to the survival of busy season. When I look back at my first year, I certainly learned a lot about debits, credits, and assurance work in general. But all of that pales in comparison to what I learned about the importance of culture, values, and teamwork within an organization.