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Lachie Strathmore

7.30 AM

I wake up at 7:30am each day and try and get outside – whether it’s just sitting at the front of my house or going for a walk. I am in Melbourne lockdown at the moment so am currently working from home.  The weather isn’t too bad this morning so I go for a short walk.

At the beginning of lockdown I would roll out of bed at 8:25am to start work at 8:30, but I would take ages to get into the swing of things  (clearly I’m not a morning person!).  I’ve since gone back to the routine when I was going to the office, which is a 7:30am wake up which is working much better.

Lachie 1

8.30 AM

I fire up my computer and get started for the day. The first thing I do is check my emails.  This morning there are a couple of emails but nothing urgent – I read through them all then file them away into different outlook folders. I like to keep my inbox as clean as possible – this is easy when you’re an associate and only get between 10-20 emails a day. Managers often get 50+ emails a day, so I am trying to establish good habits now that will keep me in good stead years down the track.

This is my desk setup at home. I would love to have a separate study to work in, but unfortunately I’m in my bedroom. I try and keep things neat as working in a cluttered space makes me unnecessarily stressed.

Lachie 2

8.45 AM

After sorting through my emails and working out a plan for the morning, I get started on continuing a job I’ve been working on the past few days. This is some compliance work for a particular client preparing their income tax return and financial statements. There are a number of different entities in the group, so I am going through them one by one. In the process of preparing the tax returns, we have access to the client’s information on Xero, which is an online accounting software. I download this information and put it into our work-papers in Microsoft Excel – I then go through each account to determine the relevant tax treatment.

10.00 AM

I work solidly for a bit over an hour before a MS Teams catch-up. Our division has implemented a virtual ‘coffee-roulette’ where we get allocated a group of 4 for the week to have a catch-up – this being somewhat of a replacement for the regular office interactions we would have in non-lockdown life. Today’s catch up is with a partner and two senior associates – recently I have only worked with one of the senior associates in this group, so it’s good to have a chat and catch-up with the other people I would normally see in the office.

10.30 AM

I return back to the morning’s work to pick up where I left off. I’m progressing steadily and am making a list of queries as I go along. The plan is to catch up with a Senior Associate tomorrow to go through a lot of the queries at once, rather than pausing and asking a question every single time. If I get stuck, I make a note, and move on to the next thing.

12.00 NN

I usually go for lunch around 12pm or 12:30pm – there isn’t a set time when you have to take lunch which is great. It means that if I’m in a groove I can keep working and take lunch later, but if I feel like I need a break, I can go to lunch early. I’ve achieved quite a lot this morning, and am ready for a break. We get one hour for lunch – I will usually spend the first 30-40 minutes cooking and eating, then I like to spend the last bit outside. I live just one minute walk away from Smith Street in Collingwood, so I sometimes wander up there to get a bit of fresh air. The weather isn’t amazing, but it’s not raining which is a win.

Lachine 3

1.00 PM

After lunch I have a client meeting which is also attended by a partner and a director.  We are helping to facilitate the sale of this client’s business, and I have been doing some work and analysis on the cash flow of the business each week through the month. The point of this is that when the business is eventually sold, we can ensure that the business will have enough money to continue operating as normal for the first few weeks – in particular, they need enough cash on hand to pay their employees’ salaries which always occurs in week 2 of the month.

2.00 PM

After the meeting, I get a call from the Senior Associate who is part of the engagement team for the client I was working on this morning. He asks me to leave that work for the moment as he needs some help preparing a Business Activity Statement for another client. I prepared this for the June quarter a few months ago, so I can just follow the processes I did then with the new information for the September quarter. It doesn’t take too long to prepare, and I send it back to him for review within the hour.

3.00 PM

The best part of the day! Each day at 3pm – just when everyone starts hitting the afternoon slump – I have a 15-20 minute Teams call with the other associates in my team. There are 5 of us who started at the same time, and we are all very close which is amazing. When we were in the office, there would usually be an afternoon ‘kitchen run’ where people would have a quick break and grab a coffee. Obviously in lockdown this isn’t possible, so I started a virtual ‘kitchen run’ instead. It is great to catch up with the gang, and hear what everyone is up to. Today we are anxiously awaiting our exam results from our most recent Certified Tax Advisory exam, this being further study which GT sponsors us to complete.  We were told that results would be released sometime this week, so there is a little rush every time we get an email in case it’s our results.

Lachie 4

3.30 PM

I now jump into another Teams call with a Director who is the head of the training committee to finalize a training session I am presenting tomorrow morning. I have spent a fair few hours researching and putting together some slides for the topic, and we are now putting the finishing touches on.  The session is designed for Associates and Senior Associates – essentially everyone within their first ~4 years of work. This particular session is on Division 7A, a very complicated area of tax legislation. Why am I presenting it? I’ve only been here 7 months! I’m presenting because I actually requested that this topic be covered in a training session – the Director then asked for my assistance, as he said the best way to learn it is to know it well enough so that you can present on it. He is definitely correct – I have done a bunch of research and feel much more confident with the content, and am excited to present tomorrow.

4.00 PM

The afternoon has been a bit of everything, but I now return to the work I was doing this morning. I work solidly for another hour or so.

5.30 PM

After doing a final clear of emails to keep my inbox up-to-date, I log off for the day. I have done mostly chargeable work for the day which is ideal and feel like I have been very productive. I like going for another walk or run after finishing work to get outside, and after sitting down for most of the day, my body is itching to do some activity.

7.00 PM

After my run, I sit with my housemate whilst she cooks dinner. I live with 3 other people, and we take it in turns to cook.

8.00 PM

After a long day, the last thing I want to do is more study. Fortunately, I am in between modules in my Certified Tax Advisory course, and there is a few more weeks until the next module starts. This means no study for tonight! My housemates and I end up watching a movie instead!

10.00 PM

I am usually in bed by 10pm – I often read a little bit before going to sleep, and have just started a book called ‘Red Notice’ which a friend gave to me as a gift.

10.30 PM

Lights out, sleep, and get ready to fire up again tomorrow!