Knocking off the rust

I was recently hired to assist its organization with its tax compliance. I was to amend prior year returns and to prepare its return for the current year. The client, happy with my work to this point, asked me to provided additional services and maintain its books. I gladly accepted.

The first project was to convert its file for the current year to QuickBooks, then put together an interim comparative P&L for the first two quarters. It sounds simple enough.
I opened QuickBooks. … 
I couldn’t remember where to start! When I was  working regularly, I accessed QuickBooks on nearly every engagement. I was familiar with the features. Why couldn’t I remember?
There was one factor I had not considered: I had not worked regularly since March.
Can three months of inactivity result in a significant loss of skills? At first, I thought the answer was yes. In hindsight, it was a bad idea that I asked for the client to send me the file in Quicken instead of Excel – because I did not own a copy of Quicken.
My Excel skills had apparently departed, too. For the first hour, I filled every cell manually. I needed that much time to realize that I could perform such simple tasks as drag and drop and linking to cells in other worksheets.
Due to the lack of activity, a 90-minute project took five hours to complete. At the end of this exercise, I realized that moving forward; I not only need to stay up on the accounting pronouncements through reading, I will have to stay sharp with the software programs through practice.

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Alan is a sole practitioner based in Central Ohio. He made a career change at 40 after working as a journalist for more than 15 years. Alan started his practice in May 2010 and currently focuses on not-for-profit organizations, individuals and small businesses. He has helped a number of nonprofits obtain their tax-exempt status and assisted others with their audit, compliance and tax needs. Alan has overcome many obstacles, and has spent the past 11 years primarily as an auditor. He also has worked on audits of financial institutions, closely-held businesses and began his second career as an ABL field examiner.

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