Partners dropped my billable hourly rate

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    I just noticed the partners at my firm dropped my billable rate by almost $50. When I was hired last year my rate was the highest of all staff accountants, now it’s the lowest. I don’t understand the reasoning behind this, other than they clearly don’t like my output. I have a manager that nitpicks my work papers and leaves review comments telling me to change font color etc which sucks up so much time. This is annoying because I bust my a$$. Can I get some input or advice? I feel stupid


    They were probably writing down a lot of your time, and figured your new billable rate is more suited to you.

    AUD - 64, 80 Passed on 10/09/17

    BEC - 75 Passed on 12/09/17

    FAR - 69, 71, 73, 83 Passed on 06/10/18

    REG - 81 Passed on 09/10/17


    Wow sorry to hear you're in that situation. Sounds toxic that they don't even tell you about the change before it happens…You should try to leave as soon as you can and find a better place to be. For now, just take the high road and do good work for the sake of doing good work, not because you're trying to impress them. Just try your best to satisfy everyone and go out of your way to acknowledge your mistakes and show that you care about every little piece of BS they throw your way…
    You are paid $50/hour??!?!? I've never worked for a firm..what does, billable rate mean?

    “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” ― Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)

    @brightlight- no I don’t make $50 an hour, I wish I did. Generally in public you have to track your hours spent on each client. The firm bills the client based on your hourly rate. My rate was $162/hour, now it’s $115. They’re basically saying I take too long to do my work and rack up too many billable hours. I honestly don’t know how to be more efficient. I thought I was doing great.


    Oh I see, thanks. What helped me when I worked in a fast-paced environment, high workload, I'd make a list of all my mistakes or things that I missed or odd situations and how to handle them, on a post-it note, or just a sheet of paper. I'd review that list every morning and after lunch break. Hope this helps…Would they allow you to use a highlighter? I found it helped me to highlight important figures when doing working papers or whatnot…Maybe you can create more termplates for some things in excel where you can track your progress or something…I don't know…I'm just brainstorming here…OH, also, split screen is a massive productivity booster – do you have two monitors? If not, use split screen…and maybe your desk isn't right..or lighting…are you facing with your back to the doorway?I find I'm more relaxeed and focused when I'm facing the doorway…Are you close to their wifi router? That could cause some issues with me…Also, white LED lighting can give me issues too. I need the warm LED bulbs

    Also, try turning your cellphone to airplane mode to turn the radiofrequencies off…I believe my thought are more collected when its on. Serial! I'm going to be the biggest pain in a butt to my future managers when it comes to my workspace requirements

    What if you approached your manager asking how you can improve?

    OK back to studying – consolidations …

    “The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” ― Leo Tolstoy (War and Peace)

    Sorry to hear this. Have you asked your manager?

    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    NINJA CPA Review

    Sorry to hear this. Have you asked your manager?

    Jeff Elliott, CPA (KS)
    NINJA CPA Review

    So lets go back to when you were hired. Did you have more education or experience than all the other staff that your billable rate was above?
    I would also suggest you talk to your manager, or whoever made the decision.
    If you are still being paid the same then I'm not sure you should have an issue with this change, just consider it the writing on the wall and either fix your workflow, or look for other opportunities. Maybe they have a valid explanation such as it should not have been that high to begin with?

    Memento Mori - Kingston NY CPA & EA (SUNY Albany 2002)

    FAR-93 11/9/17 (10wks, 250 hrs, Roger 1800+ MCQs, Gleim TB 600+MCQs, SIMs)
    AUD-88 12/7/17 (3 wks, 85 hrs, Roger 1000 MCQs no SIMs hail mary)
    REG-96 1/18/18 (6 wks, 110 hrs, 1400 MCQs, no SIMs)
    BEC-91 2/16/18 (4wks, 90 hrs, 1240 MCQs)


    @jeff- I haven’t brought it up to my manager yet, but I’m thinking I should.

    @recked- yes my rate was initially higher than most new hires because I have some private experience and have passed the CPA exam which is why it’s pretty clear that I’m not meeting their expectations. The problem is I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. On my end I thought I was learning quickly and doing a great job. I can’t speak to the partners who I’m assuming made the decision but I’m thinking about bringing it up to my manager.


    Maybe I’m being too honest with how I charge my hours…


    I accidentally discovered by billable rate was cut by one-half by looking at the budget for an engagement. I wasn't informed and it might have to do with I was somewhat slow with completing tasks. The public accounting structure is flawed to me. They tell you to look at prior year and then try to figure it out, but there were times when prior year was wrong or confusing. Anyway, I quit my job before I had a new job because I didn't like working at the firm. And if you were not “friends” with certain people i.e. the in-charges then you didn't get as much help. I also received mixed reviews on my work because most of the reviews didn't explain on how I should or could improve my work as an auditor. It seemed like the reviews were more of things they didn't like or perceived about me.

    @cpamang I would definitely start looking for a new job and make sure you find a new job before you quit your current one. I just got fed up and I had some other life issues going on.

    AUD - 81
    BEC - 77
    FAR - 76
    REG - 80
    AUD - 81
    BEC - 70, 77
    FAR - 70, 70, 76
    REG - 70, 80
    (I used WileyCPA and Ninja-FAR only)

    It took almost two years, but I am now finished with my CPA exams.


    @2bigcpa- I hear you. I got literally no training. Not even on my first day and now I’m doing everything from planning the audit to the financial statements. Last years work papers were always complete garbage and hard to follow with no cross references. My work papers are expected to be flawless with so many cross references someone with zero accounting experience could follow. I wonder why my billable hours rack up…

    Biff TannenBiff Tannen

    It’s probably time to hit the road. Not everyone is suited for public accounting (myself included). I found an industry job with 40 hour weeks and I got a pretty big pay raise coming out of public.

    Keep your options open and have your resume polished in case you get axed.

    AUD - 78
    BEC - 84
    FAR - 79
    REG - 85
    “An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends” - Benjamin Franklin

    Yes start looking for another job. I just found out a couple of weeks ago that I am getting axed only a little more than 6 months after leaving industry.

    What’s strange to me is why they are giving me professional courtesy to find another job before I get axed. I’m not getting any work, I literally go in and do nothing because I have no more clients and I am looking for a job full time.

    But they don’t do that for most people. When your fired you are fired so I am still perplexed by this.

    Pay attention to your instincts.

    AUD - NINJA in Training
    BEC - 79
    FAR - 80
    REG - 81
    Can’t fail unless you quit.
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