- This topic has 56 replies, 25 voices, and was last updated 6 years, 1 month ago by Anonymous.
April 7, 2014 at 4:10 am #559729AnonymousInactive
Anyone who ever brags or feels proud that they have worked 70+ hours needs to look in the mirror , pour some baby powder on their hands then pimp slap themselves .
There is nothing glorious about working like a slave for your slave master … I mean partnerApril 7, 2014 at 4:19 am #559730AnonymousInactive
I don't plan to spend more than 3-4 years working for the Big 4 (Risk Advisory). I'll put in the time while i'm young and physically able to perform the grueling, mundane tasks for a ridiculous amount of hours every week. After that its on to industry or MBA where hopefully i'll have a life again! That's not too naive…is it?April 7, 2014 at 4:40 am #559731
It's only for 3.5/4 months of the year for tax right? Or do the tax guys work a lot over 40 hours the rest of the year? Because if they don't maybe the average work week would just be over 50 hours for the year.April 7, 2014 at 11:11 am #559732AnonymousInactive
When I worked tax, we'd work a bit of OT through the Sept and Oct deadlines, but pretty much it was “just” 3.5 months of the year. However, for me, at the age of 22, 6 long days a week for 3.5 months was more than I could physically or mentally keep up with. Besides, in 3.5 months, a LOT can happen. My boss's mom got aggressive cancer near the start of tax season; she passed away a couple days after tax season; guess who was the only kid that wasn't able to spend much time with her in those last days? He was a sole proprietor at the time, so that changes things some (maybe in a larger firm he could have gotten time off to be with her…?), but it just illustrates that 3.5 months of being a slave to work can be enough to miss things in life!April 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm #559733
With a tax background was it easy or hard to transition to private accounting?
side note: I would just tell my job that I need a leave to take care of my mom and they could fire me if they need to. Being a sole proprietor is most likely different, but even then I would probably outsource some of the work.April 7, 2014 at 7:23 pm #559734Doc_ShadesMember
@KBinMN I think my “moment of clarity” was talking to my buddy who works at WB Mason, and finding out he makes like 65k a year driving the truck around and delivering boxes of paper. Or the fact that a full time cashier at costco makes 49k a year with benefits… plenty of examples like that. Becoming a CPA is one hell of an accomplishment, and I will be ecstatic if I ever finish the exam. It just doesn't seem like the juice is worth the squeeze in the grand scheme of things.April 7, 2014 at 8:03 pm #559735KBinMNMember
I'll be honest I work at a smaller firm and make $54k before YE bonus (401k and HSA also). But this is my 8th tax season. I've looked around a little but it seems like the bigger money is downtown working 70 hr weeks during busy season.
A bunch of buddies work at the same company none graduated college. They all make more than me and get a vehicle to drive around in basically for free (for personal use as well). Their stress level is nearly non-existent, while I have deadlines and projects that have to be worked on right now.
I do some tax and some audit so I've met a few people and see their pay. One controller makes $80k. Nice right? Yeah guy works 7 days a week year round.
I need to find a way out.April 7, 2014 at 9:14 pm #559736Doc_ShadesMember
“Yeah guy works 7 days a week year round.”
Ouch. Anyway I hear ya on a way out, I've barely started and I'm already exploring my options. I took a large muni police department's exam not too long ago, and have been researching various fields if I end up wanting to go back to school after getting some money in the bank. I don't want to end up stuck in a grueling 7 days a week/get off of work in the wee hours type of job but with a family to support and no other options… anyway, sorry for straying off topic. Good luck KB.April 7, 2014 at 9:39 pm #559737acampParticipant
I think its easy to get lost in the up front amount some of these jobs pay without consideration of the actual job and maximum potential. The cashier at Costco is dealing with random people of the public every minute of every day, no thank you. The UPS drivers often have forced overtime (yeah pay is nice) but schlepping boxes 60 hours a week isn't exactly a great time. Neither have significant upward mobility.
So yes, its easy to say, what the hell is the end game of working like a slave for relatively crappy pay?! The end game to me is that our industry values experience. I've been on plenty of clients where former big4 auditors are making very comfortable wages while working very comfortable hours.
(all that said, I think there should be some jobshare where I can operate a jackhammer 10 hours per week and the jackhammer guy can do accounting 10 hours per week)April 7, 2014 at 10:05 pm #559738
I agree with acamp. The stress of a fast paced retail environment can be as emotionally draining than working at a public accounting firm. Imagine really dumb people talking down to you all day. The Costco guy making 54k most likely has been there for 10 years or more, since most retail jobs start at around 8 to 10 dollar an hour and give you 3% to 5% increases each year. Unlike in accounting, when you leave a retail job for another retail job your pay shoots back down to starting retail pay regardless of your “years of experience”.April 11, 2014 at 11:15 pm #559740AnonymousInactive
@StudyMonk – It wasn't hard, but at the same time, there was virtually nothing that overlapped. Like…I understand the basic concepts of sales tax since my tax office prepared sales tax returns, but my private accounting office mostly works with other state's sales tax, so my KY sales tax knowledge hasn't been useful yet! So, it's not that taxes made private accounting hard, but it didn't help much either. The non-taxes things that our office did (bookkeeping, invoicing, etc.) was more useful than the taxes, but even that wasn't too useful.April 16, 2014 at 5:32 pm #559741
I feel the same way you do!!! We went to school for 5-6 years , had to double major or get a masters degree, paid alot of money for school and/or got in debt, andstill have to pass one of the hardest exams known to mankind only to be working 60-100 hrs a week making 53k.
I dont care how you put it that is not WORTH IT.
My friends on the contrary went to school for 4 years, didnt have to get masters or get anohter major, didnt have to pass CPA and are starting off right away 60k a year as CS majors. They complain when they have tow work 5-10 hrs past their regular 40 hour mark.
See it would help to know that if you work hard and make manager/partner that your pay would increase and your hours would decrease but it seems like if you do make manager and partner you will be making that money 100k-200k and YOU WILL HAVE TO PRACTICALLY LIVE IN THE OFFICE SOOO what is the point?
Time is the most precious thing we have on this earth… at the end of the day what is the point in making all that money if you are working 80-100 hours a week. You are wasting your life away in a cubicle.
Also its not like the job is interesting or has a huge impact on society. You are not a doctor saving lives here… you are a bean counter.April 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm #559742KBinMNMember
^ not just in a cubical. The partner's at my firm check emails at home and bring work home.
And the most I work is 70 hours but I still don't think it's worth it. In some job searches the money isn't much better elsewhere either. I looked at an “accounting manager” in private and the salary range was 40-45k. So they want someone in a manager-type roll but don't value the position enough to actually pay someone?
About the only redeeming quality of accounting is that you can do it until you're 90. And apparently you might have to since the pay is so low.
I really wish I would've picked up a few trades instead. Plumbing, carpentry, HVAC, electric.April 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm #559743
@KBinMN, you have to be careful with titles nowadays. It seems everyone is trying to inflate the importance of the role. In what area of the country do you live?
45k for a Accting Manager role is the exception and not the rule IMO.April 16, 2014 at 9:06 pm #559744
I don't get you man. On the one hand you say this about accounting work (I'm assuming Public Accounting):
“I dont care how you put it that is not WORTH IT.”…”YOU WILL HAVE TO PRACTICALLY LIVE IN THE OFFICE SOOO what is the point?”
And then I see this in other threads….
“I am considering if i should do tax for the big 4. I have already ruled out that i do not want to do audit and am leaning toward tax so please answer these questions for me.”
How can you possibly be interested in a Big 4 position if you think it's not worth it? I made less than $55k my first year AND I worked 70-80 hours a week during busy season in Big 4 Audit. A friend of mine in Big 4 Tax worked 60 hours a week from February to July without a break.
“I agree with most here , with your experience and almost being done with CPA you should have no trouble finding work with proper salary and working environment.”
Proper salary? Proper working environment? Go figure. I thought you'd advise him/her that no matter what he/she does he/she's basically going to be in a bad situation.
Not trying to flame. It just seems like a very bipolar way of expressing your opinion and I'm curious how you reconcile the two.April 16, 2014 at 9:32 pm #559746AnonymousInactive
I work as a tax auditor and my busy season is 45 hours a week instead of the usual 37.5.
I get extra compensation and more time off from working extra hours.April 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm #559747
Thanks Lilla for your time:)
@Mayo I can't speak for GSU, but I tend to flip flop quite a bit as well. I think the public accounting career is more exciting hour per hour compared with the private accounting career. The problem is the excess hours you have to work. I understand the March/April 15th deadlines and SEC deadlines justify it to some extent, but most public accounting firms don't offer additional benefits for the larger hours. How much easier would our lives be if the IRS and SEC decided to assign company's different filing deadlines based on a random assignment; thereby distributing the workload evenly through out the year? If working in the public accounting industry came with a standard two month paid vacation I would sign a 20 year contract today.
@GSU It's easy to get frustrated at the career choice we made, but we also have the freedom to go back to school for the computer science majors whenever we want. Also many computer related jobs do require multiple certifications, many of which need to be updated yearly. At least we have the luxury of never having to get certified again 🙂April 16, 2014 at 10:53 pm #559748
” I understand the March/April 15th deadlines and SEC deadlines justify it to some extent, but most public accounting firms don't offer additional benefits for the larger hours. “
The additional benefit doesn't show up in your paycheck or in your vacation time. It shows up in the skills you acquire, the breadth of experience, the amount of exit opportunities available to you, and the accelerated timeline for promotion.
Working in public is not the cat's meow all the time and it's also not everyone's cup of tea. But it's hard to argue there are no additional benefits.
However, what it seems you and GSU-CPA are describing is a conflict between having a high paced entry level career and sine semblance of a personal life. I'd argue that kind of setup is hard to find.
I mean think about these careers and then consider that all of them work a lot of hours in order to have a nice lifestyle:
Junior Investment Banker
Video Game Designer or Video Game coder
Professor (not the same as a lecturer)
These are all considered great careers for one reason or another, but they also entail working long long hours. Many of which are much more than what people in Public Accounting work in. But all of these can be leveraged into something that pays well in the future and with more of a work/life balance. Except for Surgeon…screw that.April 16, 2014 at 11:55 pm #559749
That is a very good point. I often think of Lawyers at good law firms who work busy season hours all year long. What makes public accounting a little bit different from those careers is that candidates have access to private and government accounting jobs which offer similar pay and better work/life balance. I agree with you that many people don't think about all of the experience they gain in those long hours. I also agree that public accounting can definitely open doors down the road.April 17, 2014 at 10:53 am #559750
Im not flipflopping anything. I have come this far and im not gonna give up without even trying it out. If I had to do it all over again knowing all I know now would I……heck no. Yes I plan on trying to do big 4 tax and I dont mind doing it fo 3 or 4 years to learn the job and then either moving on somewhere where I can work 40 hrs with nice 60 70k pay or opening my own tax office.
The person in that post was making 43K had 10 years experience was getting more and more work piled on and they refused to give a raise. On top of that they mentioned that average pay for that area was 58k a uear.
Even by shitty accounting standards nobody should be making 43k w 10 year experience and working with boss that is refusing to give you a raise. I told that she should have no problem finding a job with proper working condition meanining a job that pays atleast 58k which they mentioned was the average. Also a boss and coworkers whocare not complete assholes.April 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm #559751
Points taken. In retrospect your post about that other person's chances was a bit off subject for me to bring up. since it wasn't specifically public accounting.
Edit: Deleted long ass post, since it sounded like I was just rambling. I might start another thread later that is more coherent.
GSU-CPA, I take it then that you're saying that you'll go this route if you have to, but if you had to do it all over again there are easier/better ways?April 17, 2014 at 6:50 pm #559752
What i am saying is that if i had to do it again i would not go into accounting period.
I would either do engineering or computer science.April 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm #559753
Lol at the engineering part. I was actually an engineering major before I switched to accounting.May 6, 2014 at 4:20 pm #559754pjypjy8520Member
Regional Firm: Just completed my second busy season and ranged between 55-60 starting in January through March. No Sundays and mandatory Saturdays but you come in whenever and leave when your work is done. However, our seniors have put on significantly more time. I think the Seniors in my office ranged from 58-65. Maybe @WannabeCPA123 is onto something. I do feel somewhat overpaid for what I have done in the first busy season. They also gave me a raise bigger than anticipated for 2014. But I think a lot of that gets evened out when you make Senior. You have to manage staff (however many you have with you) and get your work done, then detail review the staff work, who may or may not know what they are doing. That's a stressful job and in my opinion, no senior at any level (Big 4 or otherwise) gets compensated fairly. Yes it's a big jump from staff, but at the end of the day, probably not enough. Just my humble opinion.
@GSU-CPA: My friend works as a field engineer in Texas. Definitely gets compensated well. Gets bonus every time project gets done either on time or on budget. He has to work in the sun ALL the time. Sun up until sun down. He looked like a kid from Scandinavia region when he first started. Now he looks like he's from Bombay, India. He's ACTUALLY building stuff so he can realize his accomplishment and progress better than I can, but I also don't like to be baking 10 hours a day.
One thing I will say though, like others, I like accounting a lot and I do feel right at home doing the work. I also thought I'd be making it rain with dough. I guess I should have had modest expectations but when you're 19, what is modest to you? you know? I figured CPA = CFO. But that is not the norm but result of really hard work for a very long time. It also takes the right connection. That's what Big 4 provides their employees I think (I have no Big 4 background). Whether having Big 4 on your resume defines your intelligence and competence is another question. I have met Big 4 people who couldn't do simply could not accrue expenses correctly and I also met Big 4 people who blew my mind with their knowledge and expertise (more latter than former) However, I think it justifies all your hard work to have those exit opportunities like @Mayo has mentioned. If it is 70 hours a week, 80 hours a week, or even 90+ hours a week, hopefully the more you have put into the Big 4, more doors open up for you. That's what I am hoping for if I get an opportunity at Big 4. I know what I am working for, I know what it will mean for me and what I want to get out of it. In return, I will do whatever is asked of me.May 31, 2014 at 4:35 am #559755lancebvsMember
Just curious, anyone here can comment how the hours are at a large national firm, such as Grant Thornton?May 31, 2014 at 11:28 pm #559756AnonymousInactive
My last YE provision busy season (Jan-Feb) was about 55-60 hours for the first few weeks, and then the last few weeks was about 85-90 hours/week.
I had another compliance busy season (Mar-Apr) hitting about 60-70 hours/wk.
Off-season you're hitting 40 hours or less.
I imagine my next busy season come July will be consistent 60+ and hitting high 70's-80's come deadline weeks.
@lancebvs, I would imagine a mid-tier like GT will have similar hours at a big 4. We all do the same thing.June 1, 2014 at 1:05 am #559757AnonymousInactive
When I was still in public accounting my busy season was like such:
January: 55 – 70 hours a week (prob usually in the mid-60s)
February: 75 – 85 hours a week (easily was the worst month for me)
March: 55-60 hours a week
April & May: 50-75 hours a week (I was on a march year end, but usually only as we got closer to the filing date did it get real busy – so except for a couple of weeks, usually around 55 hours was the norm)
What some new hires don't realize is that you can have multiple busy seasons depending on your client's year ends. For example, someone who gets put on two December year end clients is not going to be nearly as busy as someone on a December, march, and September year end. With that said, December year ends are almost always the most difficult because the office's staff are stretched thin across a lot of engagements that time of year (compared to off-calendar year ends). With that said, I've known certain off-calendar year (esp. in March) where the audit teams consistently work like dogs in April and May – which sucks.
Public accounting (particularly big 4 public accounting) can be a drag. You don't get nearly well paid enough for either the stress or the hours; much less both.