Tax season is not busy for all accountants

A common misconception for those unfamiliar with accounting is that all accountants do personal federal income taxes as a service.  Even some my friends and family who know I’m in private accounting ask me if things are busy around here, if I’m “ready,” or something to that effect.  That’s understandable, but it’s not true.  I’m no busier on April 15th than I am on August 15th, or any other 15th.  The only federal income tax return I prepare each year is my own.  Even my mom goes to a CPA.  (They mess hers up about every other year, but that’s another story.)  I can usually answer questions about taxes, since I’m not that far removed from completing my degree (with two tax courses), but I’m not out to make any money on the side.  At least not this year.

So, what do I do for a living?  I work for a privately-owned food distributor in Chattanooga.  We service a particular chain of restaurants throughout the South, and we have an established base of local restaurant customers.  As the staff accountant, I work with our controller to oversee the closing period for each month and for the entire fiscal year (January-December for us).  I make entries on our books, and I manage certain key accounts, like our bank account, our inventory, and certain expense accounts.  I also manage our taxes and licenses, which mostly just involves filling out simple forms on a monthly basis.  I serve as an internal auditor and financial analyst, helping to track our financial data and make sure we’re ready for our annual audit.

The busy time of year for us is the time leading up to the audit, which usually takes place toward the beginning of February.  My job is particularly busy at the very end of December, as we try to get the inventory counts together, and then the week or two leading up to the auditors’ visit, when we have a bunch of extra reporting and tracking to do.  Otherwise, I don’t have a lot of reasons to get stressed out or work late.  It is my first year on the job, so I’ve had a learning curve to overcome, but after six months I already feel quite comfortable with my responsibilities.

So, that’s the long version of why I’m not getting stressed out this spring.  Fortunately for me, I will have the chance to follow March Madness, get ready for fantasy baseball, and enjoy the improving weather (probably by playing some disc golf).  This weekend, I’m off to Memphis to hopefully watch some Harding basketball.  Even if the Bisons don’t make it to Saturday, I’ll get to have a nice weekend with my wife’s grandparents.

Hope you’ll have a good spring, too.

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