One of the most important life lessons a partner at a 'Big 4' accounting firm teaches his team is bigger than work

LawrenceballardfamilyCourtesy of PwCLawrence Ballard spending time with his wife and two daughters, Alexis (right) and Ava.

Lawrence Ballard, 43, has been with PriceWaterhouse Coopers for 21 years.

He works at least 50 hours a week, and still prioritises being an involved father to his two school-age daughters.

That’s a value he tries to get his team to adopt as well.

“I believe it’s important to balance family life and work, and I tell all my associates that,” Ballard told Business Insider.

The partner for the ‘Big four’ accounting firm has core responsibilities of managing 19 personal clients and about 80 staff members. A typical week for him means working over 50 hours, and even more during tax season.

His day usually starts around 4:30 a.m.. He tries to squeeze in at least 45 minutes of exercise every morning before going on to wake his kids, Alexis, 12, and Ava, 8, up for school. He commutes by car or by train from his home in central New Jersey to the office in Manhattan and around 7:45 a.m., he’s at his desk. He tries to FaceTime his kids before they go to school and before he gets swept away by the workday.

Later in the day, he’s back in touch with his family. “5 p.m. is FaceTime with my kids to see how their day was and to answer any maths homework questions,” he said. “My wife covers homework when she gets home, but hates maths!”

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays he tries to leave the office by 7 p.m. so he can pick his daughter Ava from gymnastics practice, and maybe even watch the last 45 minutes.

During “busy season,” however, Ballard might find himself staying in the office, working late until 8 p.m., and might not get home until 9:30 p.m. “My wife and I agreed that if I have work, she would much rather I stay at work than bring it home, because even if I’m physically there, I’m not actually there,” Ballard explained.

Even at 10 p.m. he finds himself checking emails and getting in touch with staff to answer questions they might have. “I like to give myself a great level of access and availability, so I make myself available to chat and email in the evening,” Ballard told Business Insider.

“I try it balance it all because the days of ignoring personal life can be unhealthy,” he said.

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