The New Normal: TXCPA-SA Member Kathleen Dvorak, CPA

The New Normal: TXCPA-SA Member Kathleen Dvorak, CPA

Kathleen’s WFH* office buddy

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 member Kathleen Dvorak, CPA, Shareholder, Ridout Barrett & Co. PC, offered the following information about her new normal.

Are you currently working from home, in your office solo or in the normal pre-COVID-19 arrangement? Working from home 2 days per week and in the office 4 or 5 days per week, depending on whether or not I’m working on Saturday.

How many people do you work with normally? Prior to COVID-19, we had between 35 and 40 people in the office on a typical work day.

What was a typical day like before “Stay Home, Work Safe”? Frequent phone calls, many e-mails and IM’s, frequent conversations with management and staff, lots and lots of meetings.

What is your typical day like now? About the same number of  phone calls, lots more e-mails, many more IM’s with staff, fewer meetings and those that we have are through Zoom or Teams.  About 90% of our staff work from home every day, and the rest of us rotate to minimize the number of people in our building at any given time. 

I wear jeans to work every day now (whether working from home or in the SA office).  Wearing a mask in the office is annoying but necessary.  When I’m at home I have to deal with the two cats laying on my paperwork and walking across my keyboard.  And, I have to remember to shut the doors to my home office before making calls because our parrot, Captain Jack, screams like a woman being slaughtered whenever I get on the phone. 

Can you share a small or big success story or silver lining that you didn’t expect? Our big success story is the leadership from Melanie Geist, our Managing Partner, with assistance from several others to get everyone working remotely and safely from home.  No small task.

Has there been a small or big not-so-successful happening? That would have to be my ongoing challenge with learning to hook up with the virtual meetings.  Sometimes I can get the audio, sometimes I can get the video, sometimes I can’t get either.

Any words of wisdom for your fellow accounting types? Stick to your routine from prior to working remotely.  Get up, get dressed, put your makeup on and start your day just as you would if you were going into the office.  And I highly recommend that you not acquire a parrot!

What do you miss the most? I miss the close family atmosphere we’ve always aspired for at our offices.

What are you most grateful for? I am grateful that we are an essential business with the ability to work remotely and that we are all safe and healthy (sorry, that’s three things).

But who’s counting, Kathleen? And no parrot on Zoom calls — good advice!

*work from home