Skip to main content

Resident hard-ass

If you're sitting across the table from me, and I know you're fooling around on your blackberry or on gchat because you have a big ass smile on your face while auditing, (so you're definitely not working), and you do that for a decent amount of time, and I keep pushing you every half an hour, asking how the work is coming along, would I turn into someone you hate? Probably, but it's really annoying because team members should know that if they are slow, it slows the whole team down, and it precludes us from leaving at a decent time every day. Come on people, focus a little. I don't want to be here as much as you do.


Anonymous said…
wow, "I don't want to be here as much as you do" says it all about this profession.
WestCoastAuditor said…
As a new associate, I would hope you do allow you team to take breaks every now and then and don't get on them too much if they do. Riding people is a great way to kill team morale and make everyone in the room tense - which leads to slower results and more mistakes.

I work hard and get my work done quickly, and I deserve to take 5 minutes here or there when I feel that it is needed. I recently had a new senior who was breathing down my and my teammates neck every 30 minutes and I finally told her to stop. She needed to learn what Managing by Objectives is, and (no disrespect) perhaps you might as well . . .
future audit associate said…

Thanks for your blog and the effor you make to answer questions.

What are the career options and pay working in public accounting.

With a risk to sound too materialistic. I am aware of the nature of the work. I know that it is not for everyone and it is a lot of hard work. I want to know a bit on what can I expect as $ in the long term.

Lets assume I start as a junior at one of the "Big 4" firms. I am training as a an ACA(its the UK qualification for public accounting). In the UK they start on £27k->>$42k (thanks Gordon for ruining the pound)

If I did medicine at university I would have probably expected to become a consultant 6,7 years post-graduation. They usually earn £75k post-graduation and retire at about £170-200k.

Is it realistic for an accountant at Big 4 in major city (London, NYC, Chicago) to earn that sort of money?

I am aware that public accountants are poorly paid early on in their career. I want to know if there is a long-term potential to earn decently by sticking with it or it makes perfect sense to move on and work in industry.

This is assuming that :
1.I am good at my job and in the top quartile in my peer group.
2. Have very good social, networking skills and graduate from great university.

Thanks a lot!
itauditsecurity said…
I think the best way to handle this is to be upfront and kind, and non-confrontational. Explain any expectations and discuss the issue openly. Handle it like you would want someone to approach you on the subject.

Most people used to think that it's rude to wear earbuds and answer the phone and email during conversations and meetings; most people used to think the day belonged to the employer rather than the employee.

It still is rude, even though it is more accepted, but it still isn't right or ethical.

Cell phones and smart phones sure make life easier and more fun, but they also lead us to believe that every call and email is urgent (they aren't).

Like anything else, people need to manage themselves and how they use technology--and remember that people and teamwork are most important for a number of personal and business reasons.

I feel for you.
M said…
You mentioned in a previous post that employees are coming to work with a different attitude. Not complaining and acting as if they really liked the job. Has this new work environment made breaks like these more prevalent? Is the lack of an annual raise and other economic issues a likely factor in what employees are bringing to the table.
Anonymous said…
i strongly feel that we should focus on work during working hours. that way, the partners will be able to trust that we are realy working during office hours and start to pay us OT or start to realise that more people are needed to complete a job instead of thinking that we are not being efficient enough. it's all these people who get caught logging into facebook or watching youtube videos that make partners think that we can't meet our deadlines because we waste our time on social networking websites which may not be true all the time
Anonymous said…
Partners at big 4 firms are money grabbing scum who would NEVER pay their audit staff overtime...

Leaving my big 4 firm was one of the best things I've ever done in my life!
Anonymous said…
I seriously doubt that it would be acceptable to go home at 5 pm when working for the Big4 even if the job is done (it is never done anyway, or they will set the productivity goals higher). Regardless of how efficient you are, the expectation is to just get the maximum number of hours out of you, preferably productive ones. Get used to this type of slavery. However, the reality is that the human brain is just spent after hours and hours of tedious work.
Anonymous said…
I agree with westcoastauditor on having breaks in-between but it also depends whether does the employee meet the budgeted time during the course of engagement as well.....
(In audit)When it comes to working as a team, there are slackers out there who deserve a blunt shove when they are deliberately takin their own sweet time. As much as common decency goes with a dash of soft skills, who would want to be hated for being the bossypants of the team?

Unless these few individuals really deserve a "in-yer-face" indirect nudges once in a while because hey! we are doing you a favour by saving your ass from getting a somewhat-poor evaluation during the firms' annual review.

Popular posts from this blog

career progression

"What can you tell me about the different possible tracks a person would take at the Big 4 in regards to tax vs. audit? Is there a difference in career progression among the two specialties? How about career potential? Workload?"

Loaded question. In terms of career potential, they're both pretty potent. Audit leads you to controller/accounting manager/ VP - accounting positions at companies if you choose to quit. Tax can lead to tax manager positions at various companies/ help them minimize taxes and exploit tax loopholes. It's a pretty important position in many companies...I'm not an expert on tax careers though, so you might want to ask somebody in a tax related position.
In terms of career progression, it's the same as audit...start off as a staff associate...move to senior..manager..snr mgr..partner.
In terms of workload, my friends in the tax department seem to work two busy the fall and in the spring. So I think they work more than i…


As a big four employee, lately, I've been hearing a lot about "boomerang" employees. Those who, for some reason or another, decide that leaving work when the sun is still out is not for them and alas, return back to the firm. Yes, the grass is not always greener on the other side, however, is this trending upward or about the same as it always has been? I think, also, that the firms really do a good job in highlighting those that do choose to return to make it appear more common than reality. Can you please speak about how you've seen the trend of "boomerangs" amongst the big 4? 

Good question. A boomerang, as the commenter pointed, is one who quits a big 4 Firm and then decides to return (or boomerang) back to the Firm after getting a taste of work life in the non-public accounting world.
I have seen a few return this past summer, but didn't really notice a trend until you mentioned it. It's definitely been higher than past years, but not enough to s…

auditing vs consulting

I was wondering if you could break down the career opportunities in auditing and consulting (in a big 4). I know that consulting pays more in a big 4 and has more interesting work, but it seems that auditing has extremely good exit opportunities (Financial controller, CFO etc). Any thoughts on which is better in the long run?

Well there's different consulting services offered by public accounting companies - the most popular being IT consulting and risk consulting. There are also other consulting services offered, but these two hire the most. Do they pay more? Yes, but not by much. Not enough for you to say: Shoot, the $$ is a huge reason for me to move over. Is the work more interesting than audit? Yes. You're actually looking over a company's processes and telling them what to do instead of what not to do (audit). Everyone I know who's made the switch likes it waay better than audit.
In the long run though, choosing audit vs consulting really depends on what you want t…