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Accelerated aging

It's amazing how fast this job accelerates your aging. A majority of the senior managers and partners either  have white hair or no hair. People with joyful personalities at 22 turn into numbed zombies after 5 years at the Firm. People who wanted to hang out with co-workers all the time now shudder at the thought of sharing quality time outside of work with their teams. People who used to smile naturally now force smiles or avoid eye contact when bumping into others. How many personalities have changed significantly from when they started? This job can really suck some of the life out of you. But hey, hopefully it's worth it (I hope).

Comments

Anonymous said…
I'm not sure if this is the right way to ask a question, but I can't really find another spot for it, but anyway...

Can you speak to the differences between larger offices and smaller ones? I've heard that sometimes smaller offices, while they have fewer clients, also have fewer workers on those clients, and therefore you can be on multiple clients, with multiple year ends and essentially, multiple busy seasons/more hours throughout the year. On the other hand, even though bigger offices in bigger markets (Chicago for example) have more clients, they have enough staff that you are generally on one client, and therefore have a more set schedule, less hours, typical "70 during busy season, 40 rest of the year" format, etc.

Do you have any knowledge on this topic?

Thanks
Redfield said…
interesting post! I have worked in one of the big 4 audit firms before and i do notice this issue, when people slowly stop doing things that they used to like (ie hanging out, as you pointed out); personally i feel is the passion being slowly sucked out. Is really finding a high pay passion depleting job > than lower pay fulfilling job? An question that i am still finding an answer to.
notfordisplay said…
Touched on this topic in an earlier blog post, see:

http://lifeofanauditor.blogspot.com/2011/09/can-you-talk-about-working-at-big_06.html
Anonymous said…
sad. I have only been working in public accounting for a year. I came in just as you say, smiling, happy, wanting to hang out. Now, I want nothing to do with many of my coworkers and generally have no passion for what I do. I think I would take a lower paying job if it offered more fulfillment, but it is difficult to do once you have been getting a larger paycheck.

Can you speak to this: The amount of documentation required during audits seems outrageous to me. I must spend half of my time tidying up documents, making them look perfect, and get called out if one little item is not formatted properly. And so much of it seems redundant. Especially for workpapers that really go nowhere. Maybe it is just my organization, but can you touch on audit workpaper documentation? Thanks.
TiffanyMarie said…
I see that SOMETIMES, but those people are about to be out the door. I'm starting my 3rd year as an auditor with EY and I would say in general, most of the people I work with & deal with in the office like what they do. Are they workaholics??? Some of them very much so. Are they stresses??? Some people manage their stress better than others & some keep the balance between work & life better than others, but overall they still enjoy what they do.

As far as office sizes;
I work in a smaller office and I do have I guess 2 busy seasons (one ends March 1st, the other April 1st) but that's not because of lack of staff, but instead because in your smaller towns, which lend themselves to smaller offices, you have fewer of your giant public clients (e.g. AT&T) and more smaller public and large private clients, which are not forced to the SEC deadline for their 10-K and can push their Year end audit work out after the public companies file.
Anonymous said…
I've got a question about the teams and who they audit. Does the size of the client you have audited make a large difference in future career prospects? And if so is is just a select group that gets to work with relatively large corporations? I mean, is it likely you'll end up with a team working on small accounts and never really advance into the higher levels of a career? Or well basically, how much of an impact does client size have on job prospects outside of the Big 4?
Anonymous said…
Great blog. I have one question though, out of curiosity, would it be out of line if I currently work for a private company to ask one of our Big 4 auditors if they are hiring?
Anonymous said…
Hello,

I am a big fan of your blog and have learned a lot from it already.

I recently landed interview with a large (non-Big4) firm for an audit position and sadly did not receive an offer. I felt that the conversations and interviews were flawless and smooth. I believe one of the main reasons I did not get the offer is due to the fact that the other people interviewing for the job were enrolled in a masters of accounting this year, while I was just taking extra accounting classes at a community college (to reach the accounting units for the CPA as I graduated with a BA in Econ in Spring '12).

Would you think I would have a better chance next hiring season if I enroll in a Master of accounting program for the Fall and try again next years hiring season or continue taking community college classes?

Thank you,
A hopeful auditor
Mi said…
I second what Anonymous #2 said. I am growing more and more disgusted by the tremendous amount of time spent DOCUMENTING and going back and forth on ridiculously picky coaching notes. While I have gotten used to the strict documentation standards, I am still amazed by the waste of brainpower it all constitutes. I spend more time trying to figure how to best dodge expected coaching notes than I do thinking about the actual accounting. It's sad, frustrating and fruitless.
Anonymous said…
I really appreciate your blog as I know it's not easy to find time to post your opinions with crazy work schedules.

I did have a question regarding applying for Big 4 as an experienced CPA. I've heard from a few sources that Big 4 are hurting for seniors, but how long is the turn around for hiring people from the outside to take their places? Better yet, how long in advance should a person apply to a senior position. 1 week? 1 month? 6 months>?
Anonymous said…
I have a question about new hires. If an individual is hired into audit can they select the sector they wish to work in? Or are you assigned a certain sector? I personally would love to audit either manufacturing, or oil and gas.
Anonymous said…
Hi there, by any chance is it possible if I could interview you for a school project? Do you have any details I can contact you further? Your assistance is much appreciated. You may contact me at Sarah.lim@hotmail.sg
Anonymous said…
Happy Busy season ya'll ! Your Saturdays are now up for grabs. You hope it's going to get better. Sweetheart let me tell you this. Better does not exist in the audit world, it keeps on getting worse.
Anonymous said…
LOVE this blog. Just found it the other day. I went back and read everything. Lots of great info and made me laugh a lot.

THANKS!!
Anonymous said…
I have to agree with most of the things you have blogged about. I've read these over the past few months when I'm sick and tired of the spreadsheets. I'm in PwC Hong Kong and most of your experiences reflect what I observe here day in and day out.

This is a great blog for both prospective, current, and ex public auditors. Keep it up
Anonymous said…
that's crazy-i'm trying to do everything to SLOW aging. a traumatizing thing for me to find out

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