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Overtime (continued)

On a roll, and spewing words while I'm at it...
a question that's on my mind...I had to "eat" a ton of hours on clients, and I'm sure quite a few employees out there have. By "eating" hours, I mean working more hours than I actually charged so as not to go over budget too much, and end up getting reprimanded by the powers that be.

So, in this case, if the firms do lose this overtime lawsuit, I lose out on the hours I did not charge, and thus not get compensated for it? And I'm sure I'm not alone. Oh well, another win for the audit machine.


Anonymous said…
Well....considering that you're supposed to charge all time spent working on clients, I'd say that it'd be your fault. I read the article about overtime, but I didn't see it refer to professionals specifically. What if they're only referring to admins, etc. in the article??
notfordisplay said…
They're not referring to admins...believe me, admins do not work past 40 hours in these firms.
And as far as it being my fault goes, the firms official policy is that that we should charge all hours to clients. Partners mention it during trainings, but that's about it.
When it comes down to budget time, we get quite a lot of unwritten flak for going over budget, I kid you not. It's spread firm-wide, and this is a pretty known fact across the firm.
Anonymous said…
Isn't it a violation of professional code of conduct to eat time on an audit engagement? It is in Canada.
notfordisplay said…
Violation of professional code of conduct? Sure, why not. Again, we are told not to eat hours at the higher level, but it happens when it comes down to specific clients. And you will not hear the higher-ups tell you explicitly to eat hours. It is implicit, very implicit.
Anonymous said…
I totally agree with notfordisplay. IMPLICIT OH YEAH. It's like a secret world. Once you first start, it's all about don't eat your time don't eat your time. but as you get higher and higher up the chain, you get more responsibility for your budget and your WIP and it is definetely implicityly implied to eat time. i hate audit so much.
Krupo said…
Managers have to plan to set up their jobs with the right amount of hours.

If they get it wrong, and you eat hours instead of making it obvious, you're not doing anyone any favours.

The only nuance is whether you're charging your time to the client or a non-client code. The latter is used in situations where your firm's policy is to not charge time (repairing your audit equipment, i.e. laptop, traveling during off-hours, etc.).

You have to ask yourself, was the work I did valuable to the client? If I had to explain what I spent 20 hours on that I charged time for, would I be able to go up to the client and say so?

If the answer is yes, you should be charging that time.

At the risk of saying this a third time, #1 anon was actually 100% correct about the article and the reference to admins, or to be more specific "technicians".
"The lead plaintiff is Toronto resident Alison Corless, who was employed as a "technician" at KPMG from 2000 to 2004. She alleges she is owed $87,000 in overtime for that period."
notfordisplay said…
As Krupo pointed out, I guess I was wrong about the case. But as far as eating hours ago, the main reason it happens is because managers set budgets wrong and then assume that we should have stayed within budget. From what I've gathered, and I've tried hard by talking at town hall meetings, HR, and to managers and senior managers, the more we go over budget, the more we eat into a partner's "reserve", thus killing individual profits. This leads to a trickle-down effect - partners blaming mgrs blaming snrs blaming staff.
Anonymous said…
PricewaterhouseCoopers is not the only big four accounting firm facing an unpaid overtime lawsuit. In fact, PwC's competitors, Ernst & Young (E&Y)( and, Deloitte & Touche (D&T)(, and KPMG are all facing overtime lawsuits in California.

In fact, the business media has already covered these overtime lawsuits against the big four accounting firms. For example, see (stating "If someone with an accounting degree is exercising his judgment as a CPA, the professional exemption [from overtime law] applies. But a worker who simply gathers audit data and enters it in a spreadsheet can't--licensed or not--be classified as a professional. Litigation pending against Ernst & Young makes overtime claims on behalf of E&Y staff [who were paid a flat salary], including some with professional degrees.")

As to eating hours, according to the last paragraph of, it does not matter that some hours may have been eaten. In other words, the hours that were previously recorded serve only as a starting point. Employees may make a good faith estimate of how much time they have "eaten."

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