Tax accountants aren't generally known for their eloquence or philosophical outlook on life. Often their reputation is as number-crunchers who sacrifice their winter and early spring to the Internal Revenue Service so the rest of us don't have to.
But maybe they should be known for their way with words and their thoughts on the bigger questions.
We asked tax accountants what tax season means to them, and their answers -- sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes as deep as Sophocles -- may surprise and entertain you.
Tax Season Is. . .
"Tax season is the Hamlet of accounting and each day has a little bit of everything: action, drama, humor, etc. And when it's over, you're a better accountant for having experienced it." -- Ryan Barron, junior accountant, Alloy, Silverstein, Shapiro, Adams, Mulford, Cicalese, Wilson & Co., a Cherry Hill, N.J.-based accounting firm.
"It's like being in a boat that is sinking as it takes in water, and I'm working as fast as possible to bail out the water, but for every gallon that I'm able to bail out, five more gallons come in, then 10, then 20 as April 15th nears. Then, all of a sudden, it stops, and the boat is dry." -- Kevin McCully, enrolled agent, San Diego Tax and Wealth Management Inc., a San Diego-based accounting firm.
"It's like being an elf during Christmas time!" -- Thomas Graney, advanced staff accountant, Herbein + Co., a Pittsburgh-based accounting firm.
"I feel as if I am in the midst of a great puzzle for a few months, every day putting more and more pieces in place." -- Joseph Burwick, tax manager, Freed, Maxick & Battaglia CPAs, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based accounting firm.
Tax season is "organized chaos…with a deadline." -- Anny Mary Kluska, manager, Belfint, Lyons & Shuman, PA, a Wilmington, Del.-based accounting firm.
"It's a huge ego trip. In virtually every conversation, someone wants my opinion." -- Tom Bakaitus, operating officer, Herbein + Co., a Pittsburgh-based accounting firm.
"Tax season is like juggling 300 balls at once." -- Mike Scholz, Wegner LLP.
"When a client gets an unexpected refund, and they get very happy and start discussing what they are going to do with it, I feel like Santa Claus." -- Gail Rosen, president, Gail Rosen CPA PA, a New Jersey-based accounting firm.
"It's like being on a speeding train: Your adrenaline is high and although [I] could be tired at times, this is what I signed up for!" -- Andrew Cohen, partner in Lake Success, N.Y., for Weiser LLP, a regional accounting firm.
"Tax season is like running the 100-yard dash into a brick wall: You go as fast as you can and, when it ends, it ends." -- Michael Karu, co-managing member, Levine, Jacobs & Co. LLC, a New Jersey-based accounting firm.
"Imagine a never-ending line, and that your job is to reach the end." -- Michael Koppel, senior tax partner, Gray, Gray & Gray, a Westwood, Mass.-based accounting firm.
Write to Jeremy Greenfield