This is the busiest time of the year for many accountants, especially those who offer tax services or work in corporate tax departments. You’ve got your sights set on April 18th filing deadline this year, and you’re probably working insane hours. But are you getting tired of those pizza-fueled workdays that stretch late into the night? How do you stay positive and get through that mountain of work?
Some organizations, like the Minnesota Society of CPAs, recommend putting together a busy season survival kit, including stress-relieving games, gift certificates, massages, and food. Food? That got us thinking. During the busy season, what kind of food keeps those Excel tables pivoting and tax forms moving?
www.EZCater.com, a national catering provider that partners with local restaurants and caterers, took a look at its nationwide ordering data to find out how finance professionals cope with the season’s work overload.
Goodbye Salad, Hello BBQ
What really fuels tax season? It’s smoky, it’s meat-centric—it’s decidedly not salad. If you want to make working late better, the people have spoken: the answer is barbecue.
Though finance industry professionals tend to order salads and lighter Mediterranean food throughout the year, all that goes out the window during busy season. Barbecue, which makes up only 3% of total orders throughout the year, is ordered twice as often during tax season. On the other hand, the more pedestrian soup and salad order takes a giant nosedive. These dishes are ordered a quarter as often as they are throughout the year.
What accounts for this? Perhaps taking a “treat yourself” mentality can help you stay sane. Rick Telberg, the CEO of CPA Trendlines Research, recommends “iced lattes … lots and lots of iced lattes” on his long list of tips for surviving busy season. Getting plenty of sleep is another important tip Telberg offers, to which we’d add this: dreaming of ribs.
A Changing Appetite
As the work picks up, when (and where, and how) the industry eats changes. Firms bring in lunch slightly less often, but order dinner for the office at almost four times the average annual rate.
How and why people eat during the day changes, too. Across industries, businesspeople take a more utilitarian approach to eating when they’re especially busy. “When I’m not in busy season, I try to go out to lunch with people as much as possible, but during busy season I find it’s more worthwhile to have the quickest lunch that I can,” says Kevin Koven, CPA on the American Institute of CPAs website. The appetite for treats—celebratory cupcakes, for example—falls by 45% this time of year. The goal, one might hypothesize, is to put gas in the tank, and comfort food like Italian, Southern, and BBQ does that.
Image via D.B.A. Barbecue/Facebook