A busy season playlist for young CPAs 

Here’s what your friends and colleagues are listening to this tax season. 
by Samiha Khanna 

A busy season playlist for young CPAsWhen the busy tax season hits, Kelly Ward’s five-day work week frequently stretches to six or seven days. But Ward and co-workers at Robinson & Associates in Fairbanks, Alaska, have devised a way to make those long hours more fun.

This spring, every time their favorite radio station cues up “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, they earn a reprieve. The jazzy dance track is this year’s designated tax season song in her office. And when it plays, it’s time to stand up, do a workplace-appropriate shimmy, and take a mental break—so long as there’s not a client in the room.

“This little ritual can instantly bring smiles, laughter, and change the rest of your day,” Ward said.

Ward and an officemate started the tradition in 2008. Every time Lady Gaga sang about her “Puh-puh-poker face,” Ward and colleagues would snap into Vogue-inspired dance moves to relieve stress.

Many young CPAs we spoke to said music enhances their focus and productivity during busy season. 

“It can motivate you to work harder,” said Joseph Mauriello, a 35-year-old CPA in Dallas. “The right songs energize the mind.”

As co-working and shared office spaces increase in popularity, a playlist can also help drown out distractions such as the delivery guy, the speaker-phone conference call down the hall, and co-workers talking about last night’s hot television program. But there are a few tips to keep in mind while listening to music at work:

  • If you’re in a shared space, wear earbuds.
  • Make sure the volume is low enough that you can still hear your phone.
  • In an office? Make sure your neighboring officemates aren’t hearing your playlist through the walls.
  • Try not to sing, hum, rap, or air-drum along—your co-workers will thank you.
  • Choose music that’s safe for work. The [Clean] edit is your friend.
  • Stop the music when a client calls or your boss stops by.
  • Find music distracting? Try classical music, singing whales, or some other sounds that can act as white noise. Just don’t nod off.

What should you listen to this year? We asked several young CPAs why they listen at work and for suggestions that we could use to assemble our very own CPA busy season playlist on Spotify. Here are their suggestions:

Joseph MaurielloJoseph Mauriello, 35
Senior Manager, Risk Advisory Services–BDO

“I listen to music throughout the day. It allows me to tune out from the day-to-day stresses of life and focus on the task at hand.”

“Take Me to Church” – Hozier
“Moneygrabber” – Fitz and the Tantrums
“Hallelujah” – The Helio Sequence

Jennifer ZerangueJennifer Zerangue, 32
‎Audit Manager–Postlethwaite & Netterville
Metairie, La.

“Music helps take away the noise of the copy machine, printer, hallway traffic, etc.”

“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“Let It Go” – Idina Menzel
“Happy” – Pharrell Williams

Martrice CaldwellMartrice Caldwell, 32
Senior ‎Accountant–YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

“I tend to like upbeat workout music. I use the same playlist for work and the gym or running.”

“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“Happy” – Pharrell Williams
“Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Bobby SchroederBobby Schroeder, 34
Tax Manager–Ericksen Krentel & LaPorte
New Orleans

“Music helps me to focus, which is so important when you are hitting that 10th, 11th, or 12th hour of the workday, or you are in the office on a weekend when you really want to be someplace else!”

“Thunderstruck” – AC/DC 
“Life Is a Highway” – Rascal Flatts
“Problem” - Ariana Grande

Kelly WardKelly Ward, 30
CPA and Principal–Robinson & Associates
Fairbanks, Alaska

“Music has a way of honing me in on what I need to be doing.”

“Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars
“Come With Me Now” – KONGOS
“Dirt Road Anthem” – Jason Aldean

Julian DozierJulian Dozier, 31
Senior Manager of Assurance Services and Forensic Accountant–Thomas Howell Ferguson
Tallahassee, Fla.

“I stream music as I drive to work each morning, which helps get me ready to go when I make it to the office. While I’m working on thought-intensive projects, I prefer quiet, but if I’m working on a repetitive task, I definitely turn it on.”

“I Turn My Camera On” – Spoon
“Remember the Name” – Fort Minor
“Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)” – Foster the People

Lindsey BrakeLindsey Brake, 30

“Music helps keep me energized throughout my day (and into the night) and can also be soothing when I’m stressed.”

“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“Pompeii” – Bastille
“Anything Could Happen” – Ellie Goulding

Want to hear the recommendations? Check some of them out on our Spotify playlist:

Want to contribute your own suggestions to the playlist? Email your recommendations to: socialmedia@aicpa.org

Samiha Khanna is a freelance writer based in Durham, N.C.

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