Posted by: LYF | February 12, 2009

Pacing

It sucks when you get hit with days that leave you with a million things to do.

This is the stuff that’s on my desk right now;

1 – An estate return

2 – Planning one audit/doing research on mining interests

3 – Resolving a tax return problem

4 – Planning another audit

5 – Wrapping up an audit

6 – Figure out the integration in BC (determine whether it’s better to pay a dividend or wage above and below the small business rate)

7 – Other…preparing a T5, T4, personal tax projections, wrap up a loan agreement

***

#3 – I’m doing some work for one of our personal tax client’s because I messed up her tax return.  I accidentally mistook installment payments for taxes withheld at source.  So instead of inputting the amount she paid as an installment I included it on a slip as taxes withheld.  It’s frustrating because I understand how to fix the problem, but that hasn’t made it less difficult to resolve.  I need certain back-up to hand in with my response to justify my solution and I need to get that back-up from the CRA.  People at the CRA do not move quickly.

My partner on the other hand is fast.  Terribly fast.  So managing CRA’s pace while trying to keep him satisfied is tough.

#5 I got this client’s financial statements, poured over them with another coworker and highlighted the changes they needed to make.  That was two weeks ago.  I haven’t heard anything from them.  But that was because I didn’t get an email forwarded to me that was sent last week.  Fortunately, the client made most of our corrections, but not all of them.  Few outstanding issues left, but not a lot.  These guys are going at a medium pace.  It’s a little too stop-and-go for my liking.

#’s 2&4 These are going at an average pace.  I’m not behind the 8 ball.  I’m in a decent position because we haven’t set a time for field work to begin.  I’ve got a nice little window where I can learn about each company and develop a clear and coherent audit strategy at my leisure.  This is a nice pace.

#1 I can’t finish this return because the client has investments in income trusts and I don’t know the breakdown of the distributions it received during the year.  Bell Aliant sucks and hasn’t posted the info yet.  This doesn’t even have a pace.  It’s not moving at all.

#7 These are relatively new.  Found out about them yesterday.  They don’t have a pace yet because I haven’t started them.

#6 This is a research assignment that my partner doesn’t need until March so I imagine it’s not going to be a crazy pace.  I know where to get the info and I understand how integration works.  I’m hoping I only have to figure out the provincial rates for BC and plug them into a schedule we already have.  If that’s the case, the pace will be decent, but right now I don’t know what it’s going to be.

***

It feels like I’m managing a balancing act.  One side is the pace from client to me and on the other is me to the partner.  My first goal is to get the former to conform to the latter.  And my second goal is to get the pace from client to me going faster than the pace from me to my partner.  That way I can control the flow of information to my partner and get things to them when they need it.

I like it though.  It’s a good challenge.  I call people at CRA, leave messages with senior tax agents to get back to me later.  I know dealing with them on the phone can take hours, so it’s better to let them sweat it out and come back to me with a complete answer.

If audit client’s are slow, I let them know we’re going into busy season.  It’s implied that there will be less time to work on their stuff if they keep stalling.  They usually get back to me sooner after they know this.

Since I have the time now, I’ll work extra hard on the audit plans.  I want all my excel schedules now.  I have a list of contact people at different Ministries – names, phone numbers, email addresses and extensions.  When things get crazy, I’m gonna know who to call.

For the things that aren’t moving, I keep my partners posted so they know my hands are tied.  I check daily to see if anything has come in.  But if the info isn’t available, there’s not much I can do, so I leave it.

Anything that’s new?  I pick the quickest jobs and do them first.  So my partner has something tangible asap.  If they’re easy jobs he should technically have them within a day or two.

Things that aren’t due for a while I work in when I’m waiting on everything else.  That integration report is going to fill the gaps when I hit a snag.  If I can’t work on items 1-6, I know I’ll have 7 to chip away at.  And that’s cool because I don’t have to finish it right away.

It’s intense, but I like it.

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Responses

  1. Ask jaycee about #6… or yeah, trial and error in your favourite tax prep software… 😉

  2. Yeesh, they really seem to be piling it on you. Is this how it works at major firms once you’ve gotten the UFE out of the way?

  3. I can’t really say since I’m at a very small firm – 13 staff and three partners. It isn’t that much though. It just looks like a lot because I’m working on a few different files at once.

    It’s like everything else in accounting – sink or swim. Fortunately, as you get more responsibility you’ll realize you can handle a lot more than you thought you could.

  4. I only had 4 things to worry about today, and one of them included planning a party for 100 people.

    I sometimes *really* love my job. 😉


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