insight magazine

GEN NEXT: The Art of Balance

There’s more to being an accountant than surviving busy season. By Christine Pearce | Winter 2017

Christine Pearce-800

My slightly non-traditional dual degrees in art history and accounting may seem like a haphazard pairing, but it was my way of indulging my analytical and creative sides. Looking back, I now notice a simple concept that applies to both art and accounting—balance.

I know that I am not alone in this feeling; my first tax season was demanding and overwhelming. In our profession, it is easy to get bogged down by busy seasons and even minor tasks such as bank reconciliations and payroll returns. Staff burnout is prevalent, and it is a challenge that many young (and experienced) professionals and firms of all sizes face.

So, as I grow in my career, I am becoming increasingly concerned about finding balance and looking beyond just being an accountant to make connections within the community and give back to the people who provide the foundation for our business.

For me, this means volunteering and serving on the board of a local art center, which allows me to offer my professional expertise while participating in activities that feed my creative interests. At the same time, I am fortunate to be exposed to a diverse set of clients that are dedicated to working tirelessly for what they believe in. Acting as an advisor and helping them reach their goals is an extremely gratifying way for me to incorporate innovation and creative thinking into my everyday job.

I have also learned that every client has a unique tale about how they got to where they are. More and more, I find myself connecting with them when our conversations turn away from the books and toward their personal and business goals. By simply asking what the client does and why, I have found many unexpected commonalities and have become more inspired to dedicate time to my own personal development.

I realize now that I do not have to choose between being an accountant and exploring other interests. It is important to not get lost in the minor details of the everyday job. Take a step back to think about the bigger picture, and imagine what we could create if we all found balance, not just as accountants but also as members of the community.

Illinois CPA Society member Christine Pearce is a staff accountant at Porte Brown, a full-service accounting and advisory firm in Evanston, Ill.