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Old 01-25-2010, 09:43 PM
 
72 posts, read 388,587 times
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Is it fairly normal to work 60 hours year round in public accounting, especially a smaller firm of around 10 employees? I recently started a new job and they require 55-60 hours every week. It really is more than I want to work, but in this economy I didn't have much choice. Time you work out the hours worked, I only earn around 12.00 an hour. I have my master's and undergrad in accounting, but have not taken the CPA exam yet.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:14 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,220,082 times
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A lot depends on the compensation structure and the competitiveness of other firms in your area -- a bigger city like Chicago tends to have a wide range of compensation packages, everything from straight hourly contractors to folks with a salary highly dependent on bonuses. A young accountant could probably get a crummy apartment for under $600/mo or get a roommate for even less and $35K is going to go pretty far...

Different types of employers have very different compensation and expectations. You might be able to double or triple your "effective hourly wages" by finding a employer that has 40 hour work weeks and awards employees for advanced degree. Try a government or regulatory agency...
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:23 PM
 
27 posts, read 110,347 times
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It is my understanding that this is normal in the accounting industry but I do think that your pay seems a little low. (I am in DFW)

I recently finished my undergrad in accounting and I can sit for the CPA as well. However, I can't find a job due to lack of experience. Everyone that wants to hire an accountant in the area is looking for 3+ years of experience.

Be grateful you have something right now and once you have your experience you will be able to demand much higher pay and find better opportunities.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:08 AM
 
Location: California
53 posts, read 199,695 times
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Accounting is very seasonal. It is very typical in public accounting to work 60 hours a week during tax season. But, the pay you are receiving seems to be extremely low! A secretary makes more than $12 per hour. In the corporate world an entry level accountant (without CPA) typically starts at $45,000 per year, and is not expected to work 60 hours a week. But, in this job market, I suggest you stay with the job you have, gain some experience (1-2 yrs) and then move on to greener pastures! :-)
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:19 AM
 
1,359 posts, read 4,561,939 times
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Just about all public accounting jobs at that level end up paying very little "per hour" because of all the hours worked. The goal is to get experience, get the CPA, and eventually get a better job.

60 hrs/week year round does not seem typical to me, are you doing both tax and audit? In that case, I could see it happening. I would be thankful to be working at a firm that has plenty of client work. I was at a Big 4 that has had to keep cutting people because they have lost so much client work that there just isn't enough work for most of the associates to do.

I would love to get 45k these days. I am a CPA but don't have much experience, and I am struggling to find something that pays 40k.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:03 AM
 
14,030 posts, read 20,248,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e_cuyler View Post
Just about all public accounting jobs at that level end up paying very little "per hour" because of all the hours worked. The goal is to get experience, get the CPA, and eventually get a better job.
Exactly! That's the way they do it. You are one of many college graduate geeks that are nothing more than disposable labor pools. They churn you out and burn you out. Just the nature of the game. After a few years you either become a senior or partner or you move on...best bet is to work there for a few years, pay your dues and put this on your resume, get your connections in place, and hook up with one of the accountant's clients to work in the private sector.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:25 PM
 
1,624 posts, read 4,528,319 times
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When I worked in public accounting, I averaged about 50 to 60 hours a week from January to March. It was mostly 50 hour work weeks and an occasional 70-80 week to meet a deadline. The rest of the year was 40 work weeks except for a couple a times.

I wouldn't worry about working that many hours past March or April 15 (if they have a lot of individual or non-corp. clients). No accounting firm has enough business to sustain that level throughout the year.

As for your $12 per hour salary, they are paying you a clerk's wage, probably because in this economy they can. I'd try to learn as much as you can, but spend a few minutes each day looking for a new job. If you can get one that pays a regular staff accountants wage, I'd leave without a second thought.
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Old 01-26-2010, 12:56 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
14,188 posts, read 27,009,464 times
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It's tax time. The busiest time of the year. I don't think you'll know what it's really like time wise until you've been there longer.

I know a CPA who has his own firm. This time of year, his work week is 100+ hours. Later, it calms down a lot.
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:33 PM
 
1,359 posts, read 4,561,939 times
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I don't believe the original poster is actually making $12 an hour, he is just saying that when he divides his salary by all the hours he works, it amounts to around that much. This has been the common complaint for public accounting associates, recession or no recession. Experience and connections are the main thing you get out of entry level public accounting jobs, not so much on the salary and benefits.

I just interviewed at a firm today that is predominantly tax, and they are pretty busy year round due to corporate clients. You can stay pretty busy if you have enough of those, because just about every month is someone's fiscal year end.

From what I hear, audit people have it even worse.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Moon Over Palmettos
5,978 posts, read 18,339,243 times
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Public accounting is known for very long hours but it's an excellent jumping board for a career in accounting. That and a CPA designation will open many doors for you. If you are young and the long hours and frequent travel will not impact your family life (best if you're single), then invest in it and earn your stripes for a year or so. It will pay off later on in your career.
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