I agree with a lot of the other comments that state there will be times of the year that will be busier than others. Before deadlines, it will be expected that you do not plan any personal vacations, etc. However, I work for PwC and a lot of times the assumption is that you cannot take any time off for any reason close to a deadline, and that is not the case. For example, if someone in your family is getting married, it is not expected that you miss the wedding because you need to work. This is an important life event and could be worked around. It is important that you prioritize work during the busy times but just as important that you stay engaged with your friends and family and focus on your emotional well-being. It is all about balance and communication with your team.
Overall, I have certainly experienced lifestyle changes in my field of work (tax accounting), however I think they have all helped me grow into who I wanted to be. Look forward to the lifestyle changes!
I think the lifestyle changes when starting a full-time job are very dependent on what your lifestyle is like prior to starting. Personally, I had a lot of afternoon and night classes during my last year of college, so I was used to having lots of free time in the morning while my evenings were busy with commitments. Now that I work full time, I spend all day at work and my evenings provide more free time. If you plan on taking the CPA exam, you should be prepared to devote a lot of your free time studying. I try to study for an hour before work each morning and a couple hours after work if possible. On the weekends, I like to study for at least 10 hours, so it definitely takes some planning to figure out when I can fit that into my schedule. However, I would agree with the other responses and say that communication and balance are extremely important. Have conversations with your team about their expectations and your preferred work and be prepared to be flexible. When you are first starting out, be prepared to sacrifice some free time to prioritize the CPA exam. But overall, it is not a huge adjustment and shouldn't require too many lifestyle changes.
I hope all is well! You are asking a very important question regarding work and lifestyle. When you start your first job, depending on where you work, what your schedule is like and who you work with, you might find yourself liking your job even more or wanting to get another job. I can tell you a little bit about my work and life balance as my very first year working in Public Accounting.
I have just started my first official grown up job about a year ago as an auditor and I am still adapting to my new life style and making adjustments. In general, as you are starting a new job whether it is in accounting or not, it is always a bit challenging. For example, unlike college, you cannot exactly make you own schedule but you can try to make it as flexible as you can depending on the type of workload you have and how much your team needs you.
As I was applying for my job in public accounting , I was very aware of the expectations in terms of work hours. I knew it was not going to be a regular 9-5 job. I knew that I was going to be working a bit more than I was used to. However, I was ok with that because I wanted to get a lot of experience working in that field. As for me my schedule, it is much lighter during summer time than it is during my busy season (Jan- April). During summer time I can work from 9AM-6PM and during busy season I can work from 9AM up to 11PM or even midnight sometimes. I learned to make adjustments depending on what season I am in. for example, I would make more plans with my friends and family whenever I get a chance and my workload is light so that we don't lose touch when I get too busy. I would switch the times I go to the gym depending on how busy I get. Also, when I can, I would work from home or work from a different city if I had an important event that I needed to attend.
Bottom line, you have try to be as flexible as you can so that you can do your work without necessarily missing what is important to you! The one advice that I have is that everytime you look for a job try to get as much information on the level of commitment/hours that is needed. That way, you will get a clear sense of what your lifestyle would look like and ultimately decide whether that job is a good fit for you.
If you have any more questions, please let me know. I would be happy to help!
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As others have said, some of this definitely depends on line of service and practice area. However, I think public accounting has changed a lot in the past 10 years where some of the misconceptions about work/life balance don't ring as true as they once did in the early 2000's and prior. Firms have definitely begun to focus more on retaining talent which, in turn, requires them to accommodate the well-being of employees and their desired work/life balance. I'll also add that the ability to work remotely, which has been accelerated as a result of the pandemic, has definitely allowed for greater flexibility for employees to balance their individual goals outside of the office.
Big picture, embracing a new job often will come with lifestyle changes. A career is of course, essential to most people's lives. However, each person will have their balance of work and other life pursuits such as love and wellbeing. I would encourage you to identify what your life essentials are and always maintain an internal balancing scale of these factors so you can be quicker to recognize when one has fallen into a less-than-ideal state.
I, for example, view wellbeing with equal or greater importance than work. Hence, despite the busy season hours, I maintained the willpower to continue going to the gym. Whereas most people's concern is that they will gain weight or become weaker during busy season, I lost weight and became stronger through consistency. It may be that your most important factor is something other than mine or anyone else's and you can choose to emphasize whatever it is while giving adequate attention to work.
I agree with most of the other answers - it depends! I think it depends both on the client schedule that you are on, the time of year, as well as your own life. In my own personal experience, I have had reasonable flexibility. If there has ever been a time that I wanted or needed to do something, within reason, my managers had no issues with me taking off or taking a few days off. I also believe that it is a give and take relationship and that you have ultimate power over your own life. I also believe you are your biggest advocate. If you don't keep communication open with your managers or let them know your boundaries, they won't know how to help! For example, I volunteer on Monday nights with a teen outreach organization at 7 and I have run club every Thursday night at 6:30. Because my managers know this, they respect my boundaries and aren't blind sighted when I leave before other team members.
Hope this helps!
Like Rachel said some parts of the year require additional hours because of the workload. However, my team is very flexible when is comes to time off and working arrangements. It's all about communicating your preferences and working with your team to figure out how to make that possible with the work you are expected to complete.
I think entering any profession is going to require a lifestyle change from the one a student is used to living. A day in the life of an accountant will vary greatly depending on what you end up doing in the field. If you are interested in pursuing a career in accounting, I would encourage you to shadow someone for a day and see what its like.
I have not found my line of work to require any lifestyle changes. Depending on your area of accounting you may have a busy season (i.e. tax season or a client year end of 6/30; 9/30; 12/31) which is a more demanding time of year and could possibly require heavier hours and weekend work which may impact your lifestyle.
It honestly depends on which line of service you end up in.
For example, if you work in tax you will basically have to work long hours during tax season so your work life balance will certainly be compromised for those months of the year.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in a more tech savvy group and you may be able to work from home often and increase that work life balance.
Hope this helps