Thursday, 16 May 2013

Tax Season Through the Eyes of a First Year Accountant

This blog was written by Alexa Sibio, of North Caldwell, who is a staff accountant at Smolin Lupin who completed her first tax season this year.

April 16 is a day that will live in infamy. People who are not in the accounting industry figure April 15 is a much more significant day, but I just completed my very first tax season at Smolin Lupin and, as an accountant, I can tell you April 16 feels as if I finally crossed the finish line.
During my studies at Montclair State University, I interned at Turner Construction Company in New York City over the course of three years. My internship was very exciting and I was able to learn a lot about the profession, however, I never worked a tax season at an accounting firm.
Sure, I heard a lot about the challenges from my professors, but I never gave it too much thought. I am an extremely focused person who is unafraid of hard work, so I figured, "How bad can it be?"Needless to say, I now realize I slightly underestimated the situation.
There is no point in trying to detail the long hours, fast-paced and intense environment of an accounting agency in tax season, because the only way to fully grasp it is to experience it for yourself.Still, if I had to describe it, it felt like I started a marathon in February and then in March I had to sprint uphill until mid-April.  Yet tax season wasn’t the monotonous grind of a marathon, there were surprises as well, such as the old adage "communication is key." It is critical to keep everyone who is involved with a particular engagement updated on the status of the job.However, communication with the client is just as important as communication within the firm. At Smolin, our policy is to keep the client happy and I do whatever it takes to meet that requirement. It sounds easy, but keeping everyone informed of what you’re doing, while everyone is sprinting uphill to complete a marathon is a real challenge, especially when juggling multiple tasks at once.  
They say it takes over your life. I suppose the moment I realized my life had been completely taken over by busy season was a rare weekend afternoon when I was relaxing at home. I picked up a tabloid figuring my brain could use a little fluff and started reading a piece on "who wore it best." Midway through the article, I caught myself calculating how much of a write off these dresses would be, what tax code would apply and what I needed to be careful of in their return.I conceded defeat, threw the magazine out and decided a bowl of ice cream was the best mental relaxation.
Tax season is a really challenging experience. I learned a lot and contributed to Smolin Lupin’s clients and the firm as a whole. And dare I say I’m actually looking forward to next tax season. I’ll be working with a great group of colleagues, superb mentors and, perhaps, a recent graduate in their first tax season, uphill marathon sprint.
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