A first chance to serve in a senior role by reviewing returns… thought I did a great job until it came back a sea of red.
It was early August and I was right in the middle of my 2nd summer busy season (busy season is when most of our client work is done and when we will normally work increased hours to make sure we meet the statutory filing deadlines. Unofficially, most people will base years of experience are on how many busy seasons you have gone through rather than how many years you have been with the firm) . During my annual performance review in June, I expressed a desire to my coach to aim for an early promotion to senior, so I was really looking forward to taking on more responsibility on my engagements.
Up to that point, I had mostly done associate level work on some of my smaller clients and worked directly with a manager on another small engagement. That is until I got an email from one of the managers on one of the major clients in our market saying the director on the engagement wanted me to help senior-review some of the larger partnership returns for this client.
I was ecstatic but also a bit nervous since it was such a large client and the director had asked for me specifically. But I knew this was exactly what I had been hoping for so I approached it head on, making sure to take my time and carefully review each return until I felt I had caught all of the issues. Once I was confident all of my noted changes had been fixed, I cleared out my notes and let the manager know the returns were ready for his review.
Close to a week passed before I heard back. The email I got was short and simple. “Hi Bryan, Just a few changes on these. I left a few detailed comments to help explain a few of the more technical aspects” “Ok, not too bad” I thought.
Oh, was I in for a surprise.
EVERY. SINGLE. RETURN. Had review comments that needed to be fixed. Major Fail on my part.
I have to admit I was very discouraged when I first skimmed over his comments. But as I went through I noticed that the comments were often on the same things and many of the ones that looked like I was being chewed out (due to their length) where actually him taking the time to explain certain parts of the return I got wrong in detail. Later on, he even told me that he was very happy with what he had seen. While I did make several mistakes, I made the same mistakes consistently which to him, meant I was actually taking the time to be thorough on my work and just needed some extra guidance on what may have just been new areas for me. To this day, I still have copies of those returns with the comments still on them.
They serve to remind me of two things. First, that you are going to make mistakes and people will see them, but also that mistakes are often just another chance to grow and learn.
This is a guest post from my friend Bryan Morgan. You can connect with him on Linkedin.