Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Day in the Life...

…of an accountant.

People often ask, “What do you do when it’s not tax season?” Okay, maybe people don’t ask often, but it has happened a time or two. The thing is, there’s plenty to keep us busy year-round. Tax season is just all that and a bag of potato chips.

So, yesterday was a typical day in the life of an accountant and I’m about to tell you all about it. Actually, if yesterday was a “typical” day, I’d have myself committed. I would call the men in the white coats myself. Remember, I really, really prefer to work in solitude. So here we have the train wreck that was my life yesterday:

6:00 am – Rise and “shine.” Thus begins the 10-hour waking-up process. I usually hit my stride by about 4:00 pm.

7:00 am – Begin morning commute; race through congested traffic, risking life and limb, to arrive at the office just in time for first meeting. My normal 35 minute commute always turns into an hour if I leave at 7:00. I prefer to stroll in around 9:00.

8:00 am –Begin the meeting with a new client, to review and discuss his employment agreement, stock options and partnership agreement for a start-up company, making sure he understands the tax consequences and economics of the deal. End the meeting by sending him down the street to an attorney to look over the legal issues. I’m not about to begin practicing law without a license.

9:30 am – Attempt to finish up a memo for another client re: a corporate restructuring designed to save state taxes by moving to Florida…he’s waiting for this memo so he can take it to his attorneys who will draft documents to form his new Florida corporation and then he can buy the hot new car he’s got his eye on. The urgency is all about the car, I just know it. Got sidetracked researching one tax issue after another…the plan is full of land mines, but he wants assurance that it’s “bullet proof” (but doesn’t want to go to the IRS directly and ask their permission…truthfully, that’s about the only way to get “bullet proof”).

10:30 am - Rush out the door for the 15 minute drive to a nearby conference center, to teach a 2-hour case study on Choice of Entity (corporation, partnership, LLC?) to a group of our staff that is visiting from all over the country. The 2 hour class is broken up by a 1 hour lunch break. *sigh*

12:00 noon - Break for lunch and rush back to the office to try and finish my memo to email the client.

12:50 pm - Rush back to class to finish teaching (never did finish the memo).

1:50 -3:30 pm - Back to the office to meet with another new client to discuss exit strategies/succession/retirement plans for 3 unrelated but equal owners, each with different timeframes and different ideas about what constitutes retirement and who they want to succeed them in the business. Oy! We spun around in circles for a full hour and a half, staying just this side of an all-out fist fight. And now I’m charged with drawing up some “charts and graphs” to present several different options, none of which can possibly provide all that they require. Where is Ross Perot when you need him?

3:30 pm - Rush out the door again to drive across town for a meeting that started at 3:30 and it takes 30 minutes to get there. This is the annual officers’ meeting for the KC Estate Planning Society where we transition to the new slate of officers for the coming year. Whereas I was Secretary last year (and acting Treasurer after we lost our actual Treasurer), and will be Vice President next year, I am the one with most of the stuff they needed for the meeting…last year’s minutes, financial statements, program for next year, etc. Nice that I’m a half hour late (I did warn them this might happen when they insisted on scheduling it at 3:30, so really, I don’t feel too guilty, just stressed).

5:00 pm - Head back to the office (even though I’m half way home at this point) to finish the restructuring memo and prepare a budget and financial statements for the bi-monthly Jewish Art Gallery (no, I’m not Jewish, but I have difficulty saying “No” and they had difficulty finding a treasurer, so…) board meeting at 7:00 pm (yes, I could have done these much earlier, so the fact that I’m now doing them the hour before the meeting should not generate any pity).

6:55 pm - Finish financial statements and make 20 copies for meeting (let’s not talk about the difficulties I faced at the copier).

7:00 pm - Head out of the office for the last time, to meet up with the Gallery folks, which meets in an old folk’s home. First thing on the agenda is a surprise visit from the generous philanthropist who helped us set up an endowment fund. He appeared in a blue polyester jump suit (imagine a very Jewish looking Jack La Lane…pardon my stereotyping but seriously, it was a sight to behold) and talked to us about how to become independently wealthy). He tells us how to invest our endowment and promises we will earn a minimum of 20%(!) every year. With the miracle of compound interest, our measly $100,000 is to become $300,000 in just 5 years. He never even cracked a smile. We shall see. Color me skeptical. He shared his investment philosophy with us and we listened intently. Then, after he left, I shared with the board that today our $100,000 endowment fund is worth only $90,000. Then we endured the usual board discussion about upcoming shows and fundraisers and at 8:30 pm, we had a rare guest artist appearance, extending our adjournment to 9:00 pm. The artist gave a slide show presentation of his entire life work which consisted of water faucets/valves/vessels and wood vessels containing or connected to water faucets/valves/vessels. Did I mention that this is a Contemporary Art Gallery? By the end of the slide show…drip, drip, drip…I was pretty much done for the day.

9:00 pm - Begin the 35 minute commute home, only to be confronted with lots of nighttime construction that slowed things down to a crawl in several places.

10:30 pm - Arrive home exhausted after an hour and a half commute, and hungry. Fix myself some leftovers for dinner and sit down to “unwind” (reading some financials for another client who wants an answer right away about whether to buy an adjacent retail business or not).

Midnight – Bedtime! Time to rest up for the next day. And the cycle continues. Or not. I really hope not.

Lamentations 3:23 Great is his faithfulness; his loving kindess begins afresh each day.



At 9:41 AM, June 29, 2006, Blogger beth said...

Yikes! I guess I can't complain about my day now. Hope that's not an every day thing. But it sounds like less the evening board meeting it might be.

At 10:46 AM, June 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this made me tired.
i lost track of my sensibilities after just a short while and wanted to quit your job.
perhaps you can become a stock broker, that might be a little less stressful. or maybe a politician

At 3:56 PM, June 29, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Beth, complain away! If my days were all like that, I would not be doing it for long!!

i lost track of my sensibilities after just a short while and wanted to quit your job.

Susie, it's sentiments like that that really make me question my own sanity sometimes. ;-)

At 6:25 PM, June 29, 2006, Blogger Rach said...

Wow! You are one busy person... You must really enjoy your job :).

At 7:13 PM, June 29, 2006, Blogger EmmaSometimes said...

Your avatar is styling and I vote for an LLC. Can I quit your job too? Or maybe just the commute?

you did mention a bag of chips, but what kind?

At 6:41 AM, June 30, 2006, Anonymous Jennifer said...

Whew, girl! That is a too crazy day. Make sure you take your vitamins ;-)

At 8:10 AM, June 30, 2006, Blogger Lyn said...

Looks like you've "accounted" for every minute. :-)

At 12:08 PM, June 30, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Rach, yeah, right. :-\

Emma, did you see my map of Powell Books?! I was surprised to find that when I went digging through my nightstand drawer.

You are wise to vote for the LLC. That's my favorite too. ;-)

As for chips, I vote for the jalapeno flavored Kettle Cooked variety. Either that, or Cheetos Crunchy.

Jennifer, I ran out of vitamins a while back and I really have been more tired lately. Must re-stock!

Lyn, that's the part I despise most about my work (either that, or billing for every minute, it's a toss-up). But you've heard me gripe about that before. I don't mean to sound like a broken record. Thanks for stopping in. :-)

At 7:59 PM, June 30, 2006, Blogger Eric said...

Cheetos. Yum.

You know, my take on your situation is that your clients -- the paying AND the non-paying ones -- are really fortunate to have someone like you who has both the skill and the enthusiasm to help them accomplish their goals. I hope they are sufficiently appreciative.

At 11:22 PM, July 01, 2006, Anonymous Janie said...


I will whine no more about my days. May you be refreshed during this holiday weekend!

At 11:27 PM, July 04, 2006, Blogger Gwynne said...

Eric, thank you for the kind words. Perhaps you've confused "having difficulty saying no" for "enthusiasm?" ;-)

Janie, whine away. Not all of my days are this hectic. And I'm thankful to have holidays off.


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