It’s Planning Day- A Day In the Life of an Accountant

By PRETTY BOOKS ON March 16, 2021
DAY IN THE LIFE is a snapshot of the life of an accountant, taken one day at a time. If you ask an accountant what they do, they will probably tell you “it depends on the day.” Because an accountant’s scope of responsibilities is vast and integrated into the decision making and operations of a business, it frequently shifts depending on the time of month, day of the year, and the needs of their clients. While you can’t pinpoint a typical day for an accountant, there are some days that pay out similarly throughout the year.

Today is Planning day. Like ocean tides, accountant work in a cycle. At the beginning of each month, the tide comes in with a tropical storm of reconciliations and mathematics while they work on month end close. At the end of the month, the tide goes back out and leaves accountants with time to catch up on projects and prepare for the next incoming tide.

7:00 AM: I wake up a little anxious. I can’t believe it’s been a month already. Time really flies. I spent all last week onboarding new clients and finishing up some projections, now it’s already the end of the month. Today I’ll be meeting with a few of my team members to lay out our work for the next few weeks.

8:00 AM: I hop on the bus making a mental note of all my clients and when their due dates are for month end close. There’s so much to do, and so little time to get it done!

9:00 AM: I walk into the office, grab a coffee, and head straight to my desk. I have a little time before my first meeting, so I jump in and take a look at how many outstanding transactions there are. We try to stay ahead by recording transactions as we go, but there are always some uncategorized things to take a look at at the end of the month.

10:30 AM: I grab my laptop and head into a meeting with my teammate. In our firm there is typically more than one person assigned to a client. One of us is usually in charge of the general ledger and the other is in charge of the books. During this meeting we talk timeline, set due dates, and discuss our strategy for getting everything done for these clients. All financial statements are due to the client by the 15th of each month or earlier, so we aren’t looking at a lot of time.

10:55 AM: I pull up my notes from recent client meetings to dive in and get a feel of what close will look like this month. “How did last month’s close go? Where are we with their transactions? How is the bookkeeping? Did they have any weird transactions? Do they have any special requests?”

11:15 AM: So far, so good. There are a few things to check in a bout here and a few things to look over there, but overall it’ll be a pretty normal close for our established clients. Now I pull up the notes on clients we just onboarded. Sometimes they can be a little trickier.

11:23 PM: Ooh, here’s a tricky one. This client is brand new to us, which means they’ll take some extra work. It seems like whomever did the books for them previously wasn’t very clean. In order to get these clients up and rolling in time, we’re gonna need to dive into their numbers for the entire year…. not just the month!

11:35 AM: Now that we know what’s required for each client, it’s time to establish a timeline. These five clients need their financials early, so their work needs to be done first. “For this client, can you reconcile all bank’s accounts by the 7th? That would give me enough time to review the general ledger on the 8th, have our senior accountant check it, and have the financials ready by the 14th.”

12:00 PM: Whew! That is a solid chunk of clients planned for. I still have a few more clients with another teammate that I need to work on scheduling with later, but for right now I feel good. I can pinpoint down to the day when I need to start working on each client’s general ledgers and can let my senior accountant know later when she should expect them to be finished.

12:15 PM: I take a look at my month end close trackers and make sure that they are up to date and ready for this month’s work. Every task I need to complete is on the checklist so I can mark it off as I go. That way I won’t miss a single thing in the whirlwind of work coming my way in the next two weeks! I make some edits here, add a few tasks here, and start to feel a little more confident in my month end close plan.

1:00 PM: I meet with another teammate to go over our clients. These clients are all well established, so it should be a breeze to plan.

1:20 PM: Well hello, there! This client has some weird looking transactions in their bank account. There are some major purchases that neither my teammate nor I have any notes on. Our clients never mentioned these. We better reach out to check in.

1:35 PM: While we’re at it, let’s send out an email to a few clients about some of the uncategorized purchases. That will be one less step we have to do during close!

2:00 PM: I finish this meeting and update my month end close trackers. I send a quick email to my client about those transactions. It looks like I have some time left before my next meeting. I think I’m going to go grab lunch and go for a walk! I almost never have time to go out! I wonder if that little sandwich shop is still open…

3:15 PM: I have a meeting with my senior to brainstorm our work and assess our alignment with some of our client’s long term goals. It’s common to get lost in the weeds when there’s this much work to do, so we like to check in every now and again to make sure we haven’t lost sight of the top level goal. We talk about our latest financial trend meeting with the client and any new work they would like us to start on.

4:00 PM: There’s just one meeting left! I head into the conference room with a teammate to exchange feedback and get her technical perspective on projects I’ve been working on. I’m still trying to connect the dots with a projection I’m working on, but I’m just not quite sure where to go next.

5:00 PM: I leave the office with a little pep in my step. I know exactly what needs to be done when, and I know exactly how month end close will pan out (except for the few inevitable speedbumps, but I scheduled some time in for those, too!). It’s overwhelming the amount of things you have to do, but once you break them down into bite-sized pieces and get them on your calendar, you realize it’s nothing you can’t handle.

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The information provided in this post is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Consult your financial, business, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Pretty Books assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon this information.
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