Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Third Day of Work

Today seemed to move so slow. I have to use a lot of brain power at my job, so it feels really tiring in a hurry. I'm not used to having to think so much because my previous jobs didn't require too much learning. Now, however, I am attempting to absorb an ocean of knowledge about Tax, and it's really quite a challenge.

I began the day by getting set up in the office's payroll and time keeping system. Though I'm not being billed to clients yet, I still must keep good track of my time so as to acclimate myself to normal practice. I keep detailed notes about what I do, who I do, and for how long I do it. When I say "who I do," of course, I'm referring to the client whose return I am working on.

I spent some time learning how to print out blank tax forms. With the blank forms, it's easy to take a person's file and go through each document, one-by-one, and input all the important figures into the appropriate boxes. As I was doing just that this morning, I would recheck my work, and pass along what I'd done to my supervisor who would correct my few errors. After the corrections were made, I could enter all the client's return information and figures into the computer program, which then computes everything and assembles the return. This process is easy enough for simple tax returns, but unfortunately, most of the returns we do where I work are incredibly complex. I think mainly we work for people who are really good at what they do, so they make a lot of money.. but what they do isn't accounting. Ergo, they don't have either the time or know-how to accurately complete their own return.

I ate some crackers with cream cheese, and some sliced red peppers and cucumbers for lunch. Lunch flew by quickly, the only part of the day that did so. After lunch was more learning from my supervisor. We reviewed deductions and their limitations. I learned where business deductions versus personal deductions belong.

Certain figures that clients provide, like amounts of charitable contributions, we just plug into their return and both parties (the accountant and the client) share the understanding that should the IRS come knocking, the client is responsible for proving what they've claimed. I've begun to learn what types of claims by clients cannot just be filled in at a client's whim, and which we actually require documentation for. For example, we cannot fill in a client's income information without having their W-2. Seriously, we can't just take your word for it... you've got to show us.

So all this learning was taking place, and my brain was starting to ooze from my ears! I was able to finish the day with a little clerical work, which took some of the edge off... even though it was only then when I began to drink the coffee. I really feel like I'm earning my money at this job. I can see why the accounting profession is potentially very lucrative. With all the thinking that goes on, the salaries just make sense. This isn't simple math thinking, this is complex reasoning and analysis that requires a pretty intelligent brain to begin with.

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