A Glimpse into an Accountant’s First Busy Season

by Keith Jennings

In January 2016, Snyder Cohn implemented a revolutionary change to their new hire training program. Each new hire during their first busy season was required to maintain a daily journal of their thoughts. That way, post April 18th (ugh), they will be able to enhance their learning and development by reviewing the entries.

One of the lucky staff accountants who participated in this process, Timmy O’Toole, has graciously agreed to share some of his journal entries (slight pun intended). Timmy started at Snyder Cohn on January 15, 2016 after graduating with honors from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and Competitive Origami. After graduation, Timmy backpacked across Europe for six months before he started his career. He mentioned something about trying to “find himself” during those six months.

Timmy O’Toole
01/15/16, 9:30 AM

Well this isn’t too bad. They let me show up at 9:30 AM on my first day! Everyone seemed super nice, but I forgot all their names already. I will say one thing about the University of Maryland’s Career Center, they didn’t fully prepare me for this job! They never mentioned that CPA firms now require new staff to keep a thought journal. Oh well, as a millennial, I’m sure that I will easily adapt to this change. I actually received permission from HR to use an app to keep my daily log! OK, looks like I have two weeks of training ahead of me before I get to go out to my first client. Should be simple enough.

01/30/16, 6:40 PM
What the heck just happened!!!!!! Why didn’t we learn any of this in school!! They never taught us what the heck a MD Personal Property Tax Return was!!! Ok Timmy, just breathe. Think back to all your training these last two weeks. Oh no, I don’t remember a single thing that I learned the past two weeks except how to do this stupid journal! Wait, is HR reading this entry right now? If so, please disregard all of the above entry. I was just working on my creative writing skills. You did say that we need to learn how to be better writers!

02/08/16, 8:30 PM
Well, here I am on my first audit. When I pictured this moment I was envisioning working side by side with my audit team in an expansive conference room. In reality, the five of us are sitting in the basement of the client’s office in their old boiler room. At least they removed the asbestos! So far I’m a little overwhelmed by the audit. All I hear are the experienced staff talking about their friend SALY and spouting off terms such as PFR and IMM. I wonder what they mean? Must be some obscure language they learned in order to get their CPA license. (Editor’s note – SALY means “Same as last year”, PFR is “pass on further review” and IMM is “immaterial”. The young apprentice will learn.)

03/01/16, 10:32 PM
Well it finally happened. After 20 straight days of working 13+ hours a day I fell asleep on the metro and missed my stop. Shady Grove here I come! At least I can count on the transit system of our nation’s capital to get me back to White Flint post haste…after a 25 minute wait for the next train…that is single tracking at Rockville. Serenity now!!!!!!!

03/16/16, 8:30 AM
I’m glad I’m back in the office. I’m not sure how I feel about audits at this point. But I will say one thing – I prepare a fantastic loan confirmation.

I was also surprised to see the 50 1040’s piled up on my desk when I arrived. At least it was nice of my supervisor to send me an email saying that the returns must be out the door by April 12th since these clients refuse to extend their returns. She mentioned something about the clients thinking that if they extend, there is a greater chance of being audited. Ha, that’s a good one! I’ll have to remember that funny joke.

I’m not too concerned about my workload though, after all, on my resume I listed my wonderful organizational skills as one of the great things about me…but also one of my weaknesses.

04/01/16 11:15 AM
Oh darn. I was really looking forward to being able to wear jeans in the office today. I was excited for a week since I’ve been out on audits most of busy season. Oh well, nothing you can do about a client scheduling a last minute meeting at their office to go over the results of the audit. I’m glad my manager told me about it yesterday afternoon. It was really weird though, why did they ask us to wear suits if their office was always business casual? OK, time to get ready to leave for the meeting…hey, why is my manager wearing jeans?????