After four years of memorizing tax law, formulas, thresholds and acronyms, I can finally vouch that there is no way school can prepare you for your first tax season as an accountant.
Although I can appreciate the four years of all-night study sessions and Starbucks runs, these are the things school just could not teach me:
- Regular ol’ coffee just isn’t going to cut it; give me all the expresso shots please.
- The human body does not REALLY need eight hours of sleep to function.
- In accounting, you learn something new every single day, even if you thought you knew the answer the day before.
- There is no right answer, and the words “circumstantial” and “it depends” will be in your nightmares for months after tax season.
- You and your coworkers get to know each other really well, really fast.
- Even your manager may not know the answer, and it is okay to ask even the silliest of questions. Especially when you’re the new kid.
- Just when everyone is getting the hang of tax, something will change. Always.
- When your watch beeps at you to get up and go for a walk, you should always listen. If you do not listen, you will look at the clock and it has been ten hours since you ate breakfast, went to the restroom or talked to a human. Trust me, get up and go for a quick walk.
Above all, nothing can really prepare a college graduate and soon-to-be accountant for their first tax season. There are no right answers, and public accounting is really hard. As hard as it is, the people you meet, the clients you help and the things you learn are worth it. They are definitely worth every minute of the 172,800 minutes of tax season.