The New Normal: TXCPA-SA Candidate Member Michael Pedraza

The New Normal: TXCPA-SA Candidate Member Michael Pedraza

“Lockdown Mike” Pedraza

Your TXCPA-SA Chapter is reaching out to your colleagues – CPAs, CPA candidates, student members and affiliates – to learn how you all are coping with the new normal brought on by COVID-19.

TXCPA-SA CPA candidate member Michael Pedraza, Tax Associate with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, offered the following information about his new normal.

Are you working from home, in your office solo or in the normal pre-COVID-19 arrangement?  I actually had to start working remotely a week before our office decided to recommend it. My kids were on spring break, and I had to take care of them while working from home.

How many people do you work with normally?  Each day is different, but I’d say on average I would work with about 5-8 different people.

What was a typical day like before Stay Home/Work Safe?  See, that’s the fun of public accounting: there’s not really a typical day! Of course busy season would have my attention focused on working through tax returns but special projects, recruiting, and unique issues play their part in keeping things interesting. I would start my day with a cup of coffee at 9:00 AM and start rolling though the list of things I wanted to get done for the day. Sometimes I’d stay in the office late and other days I’d bring the fun home to chip away at after the kids fell asleep.

What is your typical day like now?  My schedule is a mess now. I get my kids going with their school work and take them to pick up their lunch from the local elementary. Try to get some work in throughout the day, but I now do most of my work at night due to constant questions from the kiddos about their school work. I always said I wanted to be a professor someday BUT I know now without a doubt that I never want to teach school age kids.

What is a success story you have had since COVID-19 changed how we work/study? It’s been great bonding with my kids. For the last 5+ years, school and work have kept me from spending a lot of time at home. I would say this is the best quality time I’ve been able to spend with them in a long time.

How about something that hasn’t worked out quite as well as you’d hoped? My sleep schedule is out of control! I find myself staying up until 4 AM some nights but I’ve started taking measures to correct this, such as scheduling my day better and light exercising.

What do you miss the most?  My tree with its plastic bag. So I work on the third floor in front of a big window (I’ve got the best spot in the office if I do say so myself), and there’s a good size tree right in front of my window. I like to watch the squirrels and birds play in it but I mostly watch the tangled H-E-B bag that’s stuck at the top for as long as I’ve sat there as it flaps around like a flag. It’s the little things, I guess.

What are you most grateful for?  I’m grateful that I finished school last semester and don’t have to also worry about that during this pandemic. To all my student friends: hang in there and don’t give up.

Any words of wisdom for your fellow accounting types?  Do what you can and stay healthy. I beat myself up over not hitting my charge goals and feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. It took many of my mentors encouraging me to realize that we truly are in this together and your best is all you can ever give.

When I say stay healthy, I don’t just mean physically – try to remember to focus on your mental health too. These are challenging times and even us introverted accountants are meant to have some sort of social life to be healthy. There are many ways to stay connected to those important to you and if you are feeling low, open up and share that too.