I was doing a phone interview today for an accounting magazine. The interviewer was asking a wide variety of questions about the business of accounting - what were the biggest challenges, what would you differently, etc. At one point I stopped him and asked him if I could tell him what my biggest disappointment was. I don't know if he is going to use it, but this is what I told him:
"My kids will never consider going into public accounting. That is my biggest disappointment."
I don't think they would find the subject interesting. But that isn't the reason.
They don't see me from early January to about the middle of April. That's the reason.
I generally blame the U.S. Congress for this, but the accounting profession bears some blame too. I blame Congress because pretty much all S Corporations, Limited Liability Companies and partnerships have to have December 31 as their year end; C Corporations can have any year end but there aren't nearly as many C Corporations out there. This pushes vast amounts of work into a tiny window of time. I always joke that at least it happens during the winter but still.
The balance of the blame goes to the accounting profession. Many CPA Firms fan the flame of the fear of the extension. Or they will say "Why are you going on extension? I can do it on time." Sometimes it doesn't matter how good of a job you have done. They fear the extension raises their audit risk (it doesn't) and they jump ship.
I really enjoy the vast majority of the work I do; I'm aiming to get that percentage to 100%. There is a tremendous amount of mental stimulation in the work. I work with wonderful people, both in my Firm and at our wonderful clients.
It is just unfortunate that we don't get to see our families for about 3 1/2 months. And it is unfortunate to think of the all the people who never consider public accounting because of that.