Surviving Your First Busy Season – A First Year Associate Tells the Tale

by Mary Varano
Sticker with words "Tax time" and clock on the tax form.

Spencer Helwig joined Corrigan Krause as a first year associate in September 2020. Starting his career during a pandemic was certainly a unique way to break into the accounting industry, but the pandemic wasn’t the only challenge ahead of him. Looming just after the holidays, before the first signs of spring, was his first busy season at a public accounting firm.

As tax professionals all over the United States know, tax season is year round, but the busy season starts deep in the seemingly endless cold weeks of January, only easing when the robins sing their springtime tunes and the IRS 1040 filing deadline passes.

“I wanted to go into the busy season with an open mind and just expected to work hard,” Helwig said. “I didn’t want to have too many expectations because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed from just thinking about the work I had ahead of me.”

Working as a Team – the Key to Survival

Helwig learned quickly after he started at Corrigan Krause that the staff works as a team – no matter what season it is.

“There was constant communication during busy season, whether on Slack, a phone call, or walking down the hall and talking in person,” Helwig said. “I never felt like I was alone. If I had a question, I asked my team members.”

Spencer was surprised to see how eager everyone was to help each other, even with the heavy workloads. “Everyone was busy with their own responsibilities, but never too busy to help out when needed. If one person was swamped with work, another person would help out where they could.”

This type of team culture doesn’t happen by accident. The leaders at Corrigan Krause made sure to regularly check on everyone.

“I felt comfortable as a first timer because we had weekly team meetings for about a half hour where we talked about scheduling and how certain projects were progressing, as well as any issues,” he added. “I learned a lot by simply doing a lot of work.”

Balancing Work and Life

No matter their tenure at Corrigan Krause, everyone understands the intensity of busy season. Woven into the long days are regularly scheduled perks and pick-me-ups.

“I really enjoyed the different perks of busy season,” Helwig said. “We had dinners either catered or brought in by someone when we were working late, wellness Wednesday, and power hours.”

The power hours were Spencer’s favorite. During the afternoons, Corrigan Krause team members would walk a snack and drink cart around the Westlake office. “The energy drinks helped to finish the long days,” he added.

Outside of work, Spencer leaned on his family to give some perspective on the season.

“My family lives in Cincinnati, so phone calls with them, especially my parents, helped me calm down and realize how much I enjoy what I am doing after long days,” Helwig said.

Prepping for Next Year

Overall, Spencer felt like he did more than survive his first busy season. With the help of his team, he said he learned a lot and is ready for next year.

“I am going to try to take the same approach to the next busy season: one day at a time, the sun will come up in the morning,” he said. “Although next year, I may need to take a mini vacation beforehand to prepare.”

Join Our Team

If you’re interested in starting or continuing your career at Corrigan Krause, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our Careers page for our current opportunities and check our what the culture at Corrigan Krause is like here.