I have just about finished my first year as a senior auditor with Kreischer Miller. The only thing I can really say about a “typical” day as a senior accountant (other than that it can be very unlike a day as a staff accountant) is that every day is different. But there are some common elements to the role that exist no matter how unique each day is. Here are my top three.
1. As a senior, I’m often the main point of contact with the client.
While every member of the engagement team plays a crucial role in completing an audit and creating the finished product for the client, it is usually the senior who initiates contact to get the information and materials required to get the job done. The senior is also often the person who spends the most time communicating with the client. I’m typically involved with planning an engagement as well as fieldwork itself, and I'm usually at the client's location from the first day of fieldwork through the last.
The senior is also the person who emails and calls the client ahead of fieldwork to confirm timing, evaluate the needs of the engagement and make preliminary requests, and gauge the client’s needs in terms of complexity of the business and when the client expects the engagement to conclude. After fieldwork, it is usually my job to follow up on open requests and ask the necessary questions to conclude the engagement.
With so much client interaction, if the client runs into a problem it can feel more natural for them to reach out to me to get answers to their questions. This two way street is a great way to gain experience and add value to the client relationship. While this requires strong problem-solving skills as well as the ability to field client questions and answer them timely and effectively, it can also be one of the more rewarding aspects of the job and help improve your career.
2. A busy day is a juggling act.
Because I am often the main point of contact for my clients, some days can get very busy, very quickly. Just last week I had an out-of-town client request a spur-of-the-moment phone call to walk through a question they had about how best to account for an expense accrual. I already had two other meetings scheduled for that morning on top of the fieldwork for the client I was scheduled on that week. I was able to schedule the call around my meetings and get everyone’s needs addressed that day, but not without significantly rearranging my schedule and what I had planned for the day. This was a particularly busy day and not necessarily the best illustration of a “typical” day as a senior, but it does a good job of illustrating how this role requires you to be flexible and shift work around when necessary in order to meet urgent client needs that may pop up at a moment’s notice.
3. A “non-busy” day is also a juggling act.
The next day, I had no meetings scheduled and was able to catch-up on the items I’d had to shift around the day before. However, I needed to plan ahead for the client I was scheduled to go to next. Even when there isn’t a lot going on in a particular moment, it’s important for me to look forward at what is coming up in order to stay on top of the next engagement.
Thankfully, Kreischer Miller offers its seniors the flexibility and autonomy to prioritize work in order to solve the unplanned “emergencies” while still getting your planned work completed. The manager and director on the client engagement are still there to help you when you need it, but they understand that things come up and trust you to know when you can complete a task versus when you need to shuffle things around in order to meet the client’s immediate need.
Being a senior often means being busy. The lifestyle of a senior typically means finding a compromise between variety and flexibility. Managing multiple client demands at once means I never get bored, and while some days I cannot always find the flexibility to meet all of these demands, the autonomy and support I receive with the job allow me to catch up and get ahead. So while I am busy in this role, I am also receiving the most valuable and comprehensive experience of my career.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for next week’s post about a day in the life of a senior accountant in our Tax Strategies group!
Ryan McCampbell is a Senior Accountant in Kriescher Miller’s Audit & Accounting group. He joined Kreischer Miller in 2016 upon graduation from Bloomsburg University. Contact Ryan at Email.
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