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Members share tips to stay balanced

January 27, 2022

The OSCPA offers resources that help support Oklahoma CPAs with the healthy mindset needed to stay balanced throughout the year, but work-life balance looks differently for everyone. 

Work-life balance: A juggling act

Five fellow OSCPA members share their personal experiences of how they shuffle between work responsibilities and life after hours. Read more about their successes and struggles for staying balanced with a career in accounting. 


Casey PierceCasey Pierce, CPA—Klingenberg and Associates, P.C.

"I love what I do. I am proud of what I do. I immensely enjoy helping clients. It’s a very rewarding part of my life. However, I don’t define myself by what I do.

Dolly Parton says, 'Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.' This quote is something that I come back to time and time again when struggling with prioritizing my life, while considering advances in my career, starting a family, etc. I realized that I had chosen to go to college and pursue my career as a way to lay a good foundation for myself outside of work, not for it to become the largest part of my life. At that point, I had to set boundaries.

The public accounting industry is very overtime oriented. I had to figure out what those boundaries meant for my career. For my particular values and priorities, I found myself needing to leave the traditional public accounting realm. It was scary. Now, with my first baby on the way, I could not be happier or more relieved to know that my career has done exactly what I wanted it to: Provide a fulfilling and rewarding way for me to support my life away from work."


Austin FoustAustin Foust, CPA—HoganTaylor LLP

"A work-life balance implies an appropriate equilibrium between work and home obligations, but that’s not always enough for a busy parent. Work-life harmony refers to a situation where both one’s personal and career goals can be achieved. I’m lucky to work for a firm that understands the importance of this harmony and how it benefits both your personal and professional life.

I spent a lot of time early in my career trying to balance busy season workloads and find the right time to “turn on” and “turn off” for work – now I understand that a Saturday is just that, a Saturday. It’s not a workday, it’s not a day off, it’s just a Saturday, and I do whatever needs to be done that day. Sometimes that’s a day of work, sometimes it’s Lego building, but often it’s both. I never feel like I must turn on for work or turn off to go home. My personal and professional goals are aligned, and I can easily work towards both at the same time. Sure, there are times were work gets crazy, and I can’t devote as much time as I want here or there, but I now understand it’s a long game to play. As long as I keep those long term goals in sight and in harmony, it makes it easy to get through those busy times."


Amanda Halverson headshot

Amanda Halverson, CPA—Eide Bailly LLP

"Work-life balance is being successful in my career, healthy mentally and physically, as well as present in my home life. My biggest struggle has been learning to say 'no' to things that don’t accomplish my goals. The best way to get close to balance is to evaluate where you are at least twice a year and make tweaks to accomplish more balance in areas you feel you aren’t getting enough."


Kristen ElderKristen Elder, CPA—Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores

"Work-life balance is different for everyone, based on their priorities and their stage of life. With a three-and-a-half-year-old and a six-month-old, balance means sometimes work has to be set aside when things with the kids are more urgent. Sometimes, things with the kids are easy, and I can knock out a lot of work and not have other distractions on my mind. And then, other times, it means calling in the reinforcements of grandparents to help us with the kids. 

We’re super fortunate to have jobs that allow us some flexibility, which has been amplified over the last two years as people have gotten more comfortable with working remotely. The ability to work from home, even if it means odd hours because kids are home or sick, has been a huge blessing for us.

I remember reading an analogy about glass balls versus rubber balls, specifically in thinking that each task you have in life is either a glass ball or a rubber ball, and you need to prioritize all of them. I read it about three years ago, and it made a lot of sense to me as a new mom. Sometimes there are work-related glass balls that cannot be dropped, and you have to let a non-critical, family-related rubber ball drop and bounce. Other times, you have a family-related glass ball and work ones must fall and bounce. That helped me manage my time commitments and focus on what was important.

I’ve gotten stricter about being in the moment and spending my time doing what I need to be doing for where I’m at. My Monday through Friday normal work hours are kept as focused and distraction-free as possible. Then, my time at home with my family in the evenings and on the weekends is focused on them."  


Josh Elder headshotJosh Elder, CPA—Peters & Chandler, P.C.

"To me, the most important part of balance is knowing what makes you whole.

If you are not honest with yourself and those in your life about your happiness, it will be a struggle to spend the time necessary and manage all facets.

Since our time is finite, we are constantly choosing how to spend it, which causes the natural sacrifice between all the outside variables requesting your time. As we progress in our lives, outside forces demand our time, and it's up to us how to balance these demands and requests.

So, balance as it relates to my identity as a husband, and recently as a father, is a huge adjustment. That transition has been tough as it relates to always saying 'yes' to the happy hour/networking events and the intramural/team sports leagues, while making sure I’m still available for bath and bedtime routines. I still struggle with the balance between what are 'Mommy’s things' and 'Daddy’s things,' and making sure we are still able to help each other out equitably.

I think the biggest strategy is to make sure I’m available to both my work family and my home family. I am energized by both, so I tend to do work each day and family duties as well. For instance, Saturdays may be spent reading through some emails, brainstorming a new staffing model or reading about firm structures for one to two hours in the morning, and spending the rest of the day making sure the kids are laughing or smiling as much as possible."