Why “Ask the Client” may be one of the worst things an auditor can hear

At the end of the day, an audit firm’s clients do not like us.  They tolerate us as a necessary evil, but in their defense, not many people would be able to tolerate us.  For those not in the profession, imagine this: a team of professionals questioning how you do your job, pointing out all the errors that you have made and going through all of your documents.  However, we auditors do not like our clients because they get annoyed by us pointing out their errors and demanding documents and explanations.  For those of you who would like to defuse some of the tension with your loyal clientele, I would refer you to a fellow bloggers’ post on how to get along with clients.  Could come in handy!  As for me, I will continue the cold war that has persisted for generations with our clients, only because it gives my day the occasional uptick in genuine humor. 

I’m back in business…

I have returned, wiser, with somewhat grayer hair and plenty of stories from the front lines of the accounting world to regale my readers.  Any of you who are currently at a Big 4 firm are probably in the midst of your own personal Dante’s Inferno, a.k.a. busy season.  To those of you who are still enduring, I salute you.  To those who have moved on to bigger and better things by leaving, I say congratulations!  While I plan on discussing, as always, the pros and cons (unfortunately, the cons seem to always beat out the pros!) of the Big 4 world, I will also be talking about the exit opportunities that I have seen presented to my coworkers over the last few years. 

27 Hours and Counting…

In the last two days, I have charged nearly 27 hours, meaning I actually was at work closer to 30. No time to study. Barely enough time to sleep. It really takes its toll on you. I have also just been told that for the next 2 weeks, I will be on a massive client’s audit, and to expect to work 8-9PM for 7 days this week. My suggestion to everyone who has to do school while working: avoid public companies, especially complex ones such as insurance and banks like the plague. They will occupy your every waking moment. In truth, at the early level, I don’t think you will learn more doing the cash sections on a bank audit than on working on the many sections of a smaller client. In fact, the inverse may be true, plus you’ll actually have a life!

Holy Crap, This Really Sucks

Some may have been wondering where I have been. Lately, I have been somewhat too disillusioned by the accounting profession to bring myself to right about it. Two months in, and I really HATE public accounting. I started off with a positive, “gotta pay your dues” attitude. Everyone does. But it wears thin not long after your training. First, you begin to realize that all of the other associates and senior associates also dislike their jobs, yet they keep doing them irregardless of this fact. You especially begin to notice that the senior associates have arguably the hardest, most time consuming job which they must do for very little pay. I must say, they are troopers and so far my seniors have been very supportive, but it gives you little to look forward to with that “paying your dues” attitude. After all, if what I have to look forward to is 60-70 hr weeks planning and supervising audits for what DEFINITELY is the LOWEST salary for someone putting in those kind of hrs, then hope feeds quite quickly. One senior told me everyone starts off thinking that they will do their 5-6 yrs, get to the Manager level and then leave. This too fades, and you begin to understand why so many leave after getting their designation.

To be continued…

Is Anyone Else Bored?

Most of the time, I enjoy my job. But after spending a good 9 hours tagging a trial balance to a P+L, I gotta say, a lot of this work is pretty damn boring. Anyone else bored at work? I try keeping a positive mindset, telling myself that it will all be worth it in the end. But sometimes, it really makes you wonder why you’re doing this. How do you get through it? Let me know!

Will I Get Time Off?

It is now October. I have been at this for weeks and have decided that I will take up a friend’s offer and go away for a week between Christmas and New Year’s. The question is will I get the time off? From what I have heard, we first year’s are considered “on call” during that time for wonderful year end inventory counts. Also, after hearing one of our lead partners lecture us on the need to bill as many hours as possible, will this partner approve my request for 3 days off (I’d be using statutory holidays to make up the rest of the time)? Well, I’m putting in the request tomorrow, so we shall see, but I have to say, I do not have high hopes.

Too Busy to Blog

One sign that you are a new Big 4 accountant in an industry group with lofty utilization goals is that you no longer have the time to blog about your experiences. Perhaps that is why there are so little accounts of Big 4 auditors online. They don’t have the time to write them! Have no fear though, while my posting has been thin as of late, I will be getting back into it as soon as I get into the groove of work. There is an adjustment period, I am told, in which you essentially must learn to operate with less free time/sleep. As soon as I learn not to sleep, I’ll be back to 100%.

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