Want to know what it’s like to be a Tax Associate at Peterson Sullivan? Read below to learn about what a typical day looks like at PS from the perspective of Tax Associate Cynthia Anker!

 A variety of tasks can fill up a normal day at PS:

  • Preparing individual, partnership, S-corp, corporate, trust, gift, and estate returns. Be sure to let the Resource Manager know if there’s a kind of return you prefer, and she’ll do her best to make sure you get to work on them!
  • Update fixed asset schedules and create depreciation reports.
  • Research unique tax issues affecting clients – especially with the introduction of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, there’s plenty of research to be done.
  • Attend relevant CPE training courses. We have 40+ hours of CPE offered in-house every year through webinars and courses taught by internal/external instructors.
  • Prepare bank reconciliations.
  • Prepare Form 2848s (Power of Attorney).


  • Arrive at the office
  • Grab breakfast from the cereal bar, a piece of fruit, or oatmeal
  • Grab coffee from the espresso machine or drip coffee from the kitchen – or, treat yourself to a coffee downstairs from Starbucks or Cortina Café!
  • Catch up on emails about returns I am currently working on and updates regarding the firm
  • Make a to-do list, then prioritize returns and tasks
  • Reach out to the Resource Manager or Tax Managers if workload is low


  • Start preparing tax returns by organizing workpapers provided by client and entering applicable information into the tax software.
  • Create a list of questions throughout preparing the return instead of constantly pinging the AIC (Accountant in Charge) on the return for each one. Spin your wheels a bit and think of possible solutions to your questions before reaching out to the AIC.
  • Once at a stopping point in the return, reach out to the AIC with your list of questions and possible solutions.
  • If no questions (unlikely!), then print a draft of the return, complete a self-review and send to the AIC for review
  • Provide AICs regular updates on the progress of returns. You never want to be the associate who has an AIC asking them, “What’s going on with this return?” Communication is the key to success at PS!


  • Eat lunch in the office lunchroom or grab food from a restaurant in the building or downtown. Your lunch hour(ish) is great time to catch up with coworkers, stretch your legs, and/or explore downtown Seattle!

 1:00pm-4:00pm (Busy Season 1:00pm-5:30pm)

  • Check for updates on current returns or projects.
  • Go through review points received on returns and clarify any further questions/points with the AIC (or your buddy!).
  • Update return with changes from the review points, create a second draft, conduct a thorough self-review and send back to the AIC for a second review.
  • Continue working on a current return, update a return with new information, or start a new return.

4:00pm-4:30pm (Busy Season: 5:30pm-6pm)

  • Finish current work or find a good stopping point.
  • Enter daily time broken out between billable and non-billable hours by task.
  • Check on the status of remaining returns and projects.
  • Go home and enjoy the sun (or rain)!

Other After-Hours PS Activities –

  • Study for CPA exam whenever possible – sad, but true. It doesn’t feel quite as terrible when all the Associates in the office are going through the same thing.
  • Hangout with coworkers at happy hours (both in-house and out of office)
  • Attend work-sponsored events, such as WSCPA, AICPA, or YPN networking events
  • Volunteer at one of the firm-sponsored community service events
  • Participate in campus recruiting events at one of PS’ partner campuses, such as presenting at an on-campus Beta Alpha Psi meeting or attending a Meet the Firms event, banquet, or panel
  • Play on one of the many PS sports teams – we have soccer, beach volleyball, kickball, and two softball teams!

This is only a quick snapshot of my normal day, but there is so much more to being a Tax Associate at PS! If you are interested in learning more, please reach out to me at canker@pscpa.com.