Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Accounting firms try to balance "work and family" during tax audit season with flex time

At least one “Big 6” Accounting Firm (Ernst & Young) is trying to “socialize” overtime during the tax auditing season by having meetings to help associates coordinate time off to meet personal needs, according to a New York Times story by Steven Greenhouse Jan. 7, “Flex Time Flourishes in Accounting Industry”, link here

My own personal accounts from people who work in the tax industry sound like midnight hour horror stories, like the days I used to write term papers on my own kitchen table at 3 AM, by hand. (My own “rules” regard 3 AM is midnight [Google time], and the week begins Monday; weekends are cohesive.)

In fact, in 2008, HR Block tried to get me interested in training as a tax advisor, but I declined. I stuck to journalism. I don’t really take care of people.

And I recall the Minneapolis Skyway hikes to my post-layoff job at the Minnesota Orchestra, passing offices of all the accounting firms.

But as for the huge overtime in auditing companies, I wonder how the “families” v. “childless” battle plays out. Ask Elinor Burkett (“The Baby Boon”, 2000). There used to occur some stories about this problem getting worse, as in the Wall Street Journal, back in the 1990s. Eldercare will complicate the picture now.

Accounting professionals would have another time-cruncher during tax season: many have to travel to client sites, and flight all the First Quarter blizzards. 

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