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A Day in the Life of Brent Dorsey

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A Day In The Life Of Brent Dorsey

A Day in the Life of Brent Dorsey

A Staff Auditors' Professional Pressures

Learning Objectives

* Understand some of the pressures faced by young professionals in the workplace

* Generate and evaluate alternative courses of action to resolve a difficult workplace issue

* Understand more fully the implications of "eating time" and "premature sign-off"

* More fully appreciate the need to balance professional and personal demands

Brent Dorsey graduated eight months ago with a master's degree in accounting. After graduating, Brent began working with a large accounting firm in Portland. He is now on his second audit engagement--a company called Northwest Steel Producers. Working day-to-day with Brent on the audit are two other staff auditors, Scott Olsen and Megan Mills, along with the senior auditor, John Peters. Scott and Megan are both second-year staff accountants and are anticipating a promotion to senior in the next year.

John Peters has been with the firm for about five years and has been a senior-level auditor for almost three years. Following this busy season, the partners and managers will sit down and decide which seniors to promote to managers. The rumor around the office is that only four or five of the seven eligible seniors in the office will be promoted in the Portland office. Those not promoted in Portland will most likely be asked to transfer to other offices within the firm that need new managers. Some may even be "counseled out" of the firm. John has done a reasonably good job in the audits he's been in charge of, yet he feels he is "on the bubble" as far as the promotion in Portland goes. He has recently received several performance evaluations that have criticized him for letting his jobs get "out of control" (i.e., over budget and beyond deadline). He believes his performance on the Northwest Steel Producers audit could make a difference in his chances to stay in Portland. John and his wife are from the Portland area and neither one is ready for a transfer.

Northwest Steel is one of the office's biggest clients. The firm has been auditing Northwest for the past 13 years. Because of the client's reporting deadline, the Northwest Steel audit is notorious for tight deadlines and long hours.

An Auditor's Life

With a final click on his laptop, Brent finished his audit work associated with Northwest's largest cash account. It was 5:45 p.m. on a Friday evening, and Brent was looking forward to a much-needed day off to spend some time with his wife, Katherine, who had a demanding job as a young attorney. They both understood that the degree of tenĀ¬sion they had been feeling at home was probably due primarily to their stressful careers, and they felt a need to discuss their relationship in an attempt to "clear the air." It seemed there had been precious little time for any serious discussions these past few weeks.

Brent started saving files so he could shut down his computer when the door of the small conference room he was using as an office opened a crack. Brent's briefcase partially blocked the door. "Door's open," Brent called out. "Just push a little harder." The door opened wider and Scott Olsen poked his head in. By the expression on Scott's face, Brent had a feeling the news wasn't going to be good. "Hi Scott, what's up?" asked Brent, trying to be upbeat.

"John wants the audit team together for a meeting in 15 minutes," Scott said as he pushed his shoulders through the doorway.

Brent glanced quickly at his watch. "It's almost 6:00! What's he doing calling a meeting at this time of the day?"

"I don't know. He just called from his cell phone and said that he was on his way and that it was important that we all meet with him as soon as possible. But I have a feeling it's going to mean more work," Scott said as he pulled himself back out the doorway. "I've got to run down a couple of things before the meeting, so I'll see you there." Scott disappeared just as quickly as he had appeared.

Brent picked up the phone and called Katherine, who had just arrived home from work. "Hi Kate. John just called an emergency meeting. I'm going to be late again."

"Brent, this is getting ridiculous. Just because those people don't have a life doesn't mean we can't. I picked up a couple videos and some take-out on the way home. Just leave John a note that you had plans with your wife and come home."

"Katherine, you know I would rather be home with you than in another meeting, but at this stage in my career I don't think blowing off an urgent meeting would be the wise thing to do. I'll get home as soon as I can. Should I invite John over to watch the videos with us?"

"Very funny. Actually, maybe you should bring him along so I can try to talk some sense into him. Our lives seem so crazy. I don't know how much more of this I can take. I see the city bus driver more than I see you."

"It'll get better, Katherine. Once we get through with the Northwest audit, things will lighten up. But for now, this is a good opportunity for me to prove I'm a team player and that I can work as hard as the next guy. I've already seen how important a reputation is in this firm. I've done pretty well so far, and that's why they put me on this audit. If I can prove myself, at some point I'll have more control over my day-to-day schedule. It is just really important that I build a good foundation for my career."

"I know, but I worry that it will never stop. There will always be another client, another promotion. If we don't establish a good pattern now, when will we? Anyway, you do what you've got to do. I'll put your dinner in the fridge, and I'll tell you how the video was." A cold "click" sounded in Brent's ear.

Brent slowly put the receiver back on the hook and stared at the small picture he kept in his briefcase. The picture was taken on Brent and Katherine's wedding day almost ten months

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