August 10. 2011 | Jason Fleetwood
CPA’s and Deadlines: The Art of Chaos
One would think that in a profession built around deadlines, CPA’s would have figured out how to master them. Every year we know when they are – March 15th, April 15th, June 15th, September 15th, October 15th – and those are just a few of them!! Yet, somehow, these deadlines always seem to get the better of us.
Some of my colleagues will contend that they get everything done ahead of time and I need to be better organized. I would argue that they aren’t busy enough and need to get out to meet more new clients. Still others will insist that I need to do a better job of planning in advance. My response to that is every time we formulate a plan, something unforeseen comes up the next day and the plan is thrown out the window. We end up spending more time talking about the work that needs to be done than it actually takes to get the work done.
The truth is, I’m not sure the most organized CPA or the CPA with the best plan is able to meet each deadline without some level of headache or stress. We tell ourselves this year is going to be different (I’ve been saying it for 13 years now), but it never really does change. Thus, you have to embrace the chaos. Know that each big deadline will bring surprises, and work together to get things done. You have to communicate – with both your clients and your fellow workers. And you have to perform – don’t let your work product suffer as the deadline draws closer and the pressure mounts.
Until someone comes up with a better solution, I continue to tackle each deadline the best way I know how: by mastering the art of chaos. CPA or not, I’m sure everyone battles the same problem – too much to do in too little time!
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