We asked three accountants how they get through crunch time

Every accountant has busy periods. Here’s how three professionals stay on track when the pressure’s on.

W. Doug Wylie, CMA, ICD.D

Assistant auditor general, auditor general of Alberta

W. Doug Wylie "Our office audits the financial statements of government departments and provincial agencies, boards and commissions. We issue about 150 audit opinions between April and June. When it’s busy, we bring in extra staff and strategically use agents so we can redeploy our audit specialists. We also prepare public reports three times a year for value-for-money audits, or system audits. I also assist the auditor general when he’s asked to testify for the Public Accounts Committee. We focus on the three Rs: relevant, reliable work at reasonable cost. Prioritizing issues and risks that come up is key and we need to ensure engagement leaders have the right project managers."


Josée O’Toole, CPA, CGA, MFA

Principal, Josée O’Toole Professional Corp.
Oakville, Ont.

Josee O'Toole "I’ve been in public accounting for 29 years. I started my own practice in 2013, offering nonassurance services, income taxes and business advisory services. January to June is busiest: there’s a lot of work due then, such as employees’ T4s and tax planning. The biggest thing that helps is that I don’t take time off! I show up really early and I work weekends. I bring in contract workers when needed. I have processes, including daily task lists and a tracking sheet for tax returns, and I organize information the same way for every client. I use Outlook for tasking and the calendar for deadlines and appointments. I also send clients a tax questionnaire each year, so they know what to accumulate. When I start the work, I want to have all the information in hand."

Luzita Kennedy, CPA, CA

Partner, Accounting Advisory Services, KPMG LLP

Luzita Kennedy "Advisory services doesn’t have predictable busy periods. You’re there to serve a client. When audit season’s over, clients look at other things like systems upgrades, and that’s when we come in. It can be busy year-round, a week at a time or years at a time. Managing an unpredictable life, doing personal things with family and friends, is an art form. I’m also involved in the community; if you engage in stuff that matters to you and understand the time commitment, you can make it work. I also teach ashtanga yoga. The combination of breath and movement translates into active meditation. If I practise yoga in the morning, it sets the day. I’m calm and centred while knowing that everything around me is constantly changing."

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