Where have all the accountants gone?

Where have all the accountants gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the accountants gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the accountants gone?
They left the Big Four every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

So continuing with our series on options for accountants who are leaving the Big Four, here are a few possibilities (click on the links for more info):

1. Start counting old coins and jewelry; become a Professional Metal Detector

Sometimes, there is no other way out . . .

Sometimes, when we don't see any way out, we just have to break through the wall. (Think Kool-Aid man.) Sometimes that applies to those with an accounting job that hate every day of their lives, and sometimes that applies to those who have lost their accounting job and hate every day of their lives looking for another accounting job.

Below is an excerpt from an email a reader recently sent to us. To this reader, and others who may be in the same position, we say, maybe it is time to break through the wall and escape. That doesn't mean burning bridges and torching the accounting profession on your way out. It means breaking down the wall between you and happiness. You can be an accountant and be happy; you can even work at the Big Four and be happy; and you can even be unemployed and be happy, so long as you've broken through whatever mental wall separates you from happiness.

Of course, sometimes you do need to get out of the accounting profession. A true conversation between a wise father and a son went like this (substituting "accounting" for the profession the son had initially pursued):

Father: “When you walk down the street, when you’re in the shower, when you don’t have to be thinking about anything else, isn’t [accounting] what you think about?”

Son: “No.”

Son recollects: “My father paused. It was really a very tender and poignant moment, because I knew how much he loved me and how much he wanted me to be a [an accountant]."

Father: "[Son], I think you’d better get out of [accounting]. You ought to find something that you love so much that when you don’t have to think about anything, that’s what you think about.’ ”

Son followed his father's advice, switched his profession and became happy. This is a true story.

Now, for the email from our reader:

Hi there,

Love the website, thought I was alone in my misery till I discovered after I put "unhappy accountant" into the magnificent search engine google.

Well where do I start? The traineeship, the graduate program or the stint at 2 local accounting firms? All have squashed all my ambitions that I had as a stary eyed 1st year university student.

Through it all after completing my degree, then my CPA I am now unemployed. How is that for a pathway to success?

As you can imagine I have been stripped of any confidence in my abilities and am left scavaging for jobs in competition with those wonderful people holding a supreme qualification called Cert IV in business. Well, I have given up, how can I compete with those with no theoretical knowledge but stacks of hands on?

Thanks for listening to my squaller, please pray for me to God the Almighty that he may shine some good luck my way as well as all those others in my shoes.

Good website!


Arnold Schwarzenegger in . . . The Accountant

The following is a great late-night video to watch after a short potty/vending machine break from crunching numbers. The questions is -- did these Angry Accountants make this video at 3 AM after their brains ceased to function from being overworked, or is this the under-utilized group with too much time on their hands during the un-busy season?

Uncle Sam Wants YOU to Be His Accountant

Ever think of leaving the Big Four to go work for Uncle Sam? He already has like a billion accountants working for him.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that government accountants and auditors averaged the following yearly salaries in 2008:

Federal executive branch: $84,520
Local government: $56,160
State government: $52,560

The starting salary of junior accountants and auditors with the federal government was $28,862 in 2007. Those who performed well in school were sometimes paid $35,752, while new hires with a master's degree or two years of professional experience usually began at $43,731. In regions where salaries are generally higher, the government sometimes pays more.

Life working as an accountant at the IRS is no mystery -- just watch Stranger Than Fiction, and if you are interested in the job, try here:

But what about non-IRS jobs? Currently, there are 220 accountant jobs posted on the federal government's job website. Check 'em out here.

To give you a sample, how would you like to be an accountant for the American Battle Monuments Commission? Here is the job announcement:

Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission

Sub Agency: Headquarters Job

Announcement Number:DEU-09-01

Job Title: ACCOUNTANT, GS-0510-11

Salary Range: 60,989.00 - 79,280.00 USD /year

Series & Grade: GS-0510-11/11

Open Period: Wednesday, September 02, 2009 to Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Position Information: Full-Time Permanent

Duty Locations: 1 vacancy - Alexandria, Arlington & Falls Church, VA

Who May Be Considered: Applications will be accepted from United States citizens and nationals.

Job Summary: The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is a small Executive Branch agency. We administer, operate, and maintain 24 permanent U.S. military cemeteries and 27 memorials, monuments, and markers in 15 countries around the world. Our cemeteries and monuments are considered the best designed and maintained in the world. We are looking for an Accountant that can help us provide financial support to our world-wide operation from our headquarters office in Arlington. Please see our website at for more information about the ABMC.

Key Requirements: U.S. Citizenship or National
Accounting Degree or a degree with 24 semester hours in accounting (See Qualifications)
At least one year of professional accounting experience equivalent to the GS-9 level in the Federal service.
You will focus primarily on accounting for monies received and disbursed through the three ABMC managed trust funds. Your duties will include:

Analyze and reconcile accounts and prepare balance sheets. Assure that trust fund money is properly invested in the U.S. Treasury accounts. Analyze cost accounting reports, status of fund reports, and other financial reports in order to prepare summary statements. Analyze operating procedures affecting the flow of costs through accounting systems and recommend changes. Work closely with program officials to ensure effective accounting and compliance with standards.

Or maybe you want to work for NASA:

Department: US National Aeronautics & Space Administration

Agency: NASA Inspector General

Sub Agency: Office of Audits, Financial and Institutional Management Directorate Job

Announcement Number: IG09B0061

Job Title: Supervisory Auditor

Salary Range: 98,599.00 - 128,184.00 USD /year

Series & Grade: GS-0511-14

Open Period: Monday, August 31, 2009 to Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Position Information: Full-Time Permanent appointment

Duty Locations: Cleveland Metro area

Job Summary: The NASA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) serves as an independent audit and investigative organization. We conduct objective oversight of NASA programs and operations and independently report to the Administrator, Congress, and the public to further the Agency's accomplishment of its mission. The OIG consists of approximately 200 auditors, analysts, specialists, investigators, attorneys and support staff at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, and NASA Centers throughout the U.S.

Key Requirements: Position subject to pre-employment background investigation
Occasional travel may be required
Selectee must complete a financial disclosure statement
A one-year probationary period may be required
Selectee must be able to obtain and maintain SECRET security clearance.

Major Duties: Incumbent will serve as a project manager with responsibility of planning, developing, and directing broad and complex nationwide audits, reviews or surveys that have special impact on programs of national significance to NASA and other Federal government agencies, such as directing quality assessment reviews or studies that address the development, acquisition, and deployment of major systems. Manages special assignments, such as management or program reviews of unusual complexity, sensitivity, or significant national interest. Develops audit programs and plans, including functional responsibilities; specific project assignments; and audit objectives and requirements. Assesses matters such as overall effectiveness and efficiency; compliance with established policies, procedures, and government standards; and accomplishment of intended goals and objectives. Performs comprehensive analyses of overall operations in situations where decisions are complicated by the diversity of functional programs and operations, and conflicting requirements. Evaluates the quality of written documents such as audit reports and supporting working papers. Provides assistance during audit follow-up to monitor the resolution of audit recommendations. As a supervisor, incumbent will be responsible for providing technical requirements and descriptions of work to be accomplished; plan and establish the work schedules, deadlines, and standards for acceptable work; track progress and quality of performance and arrange for subordinates to conduct required inspections and decide the acceptability, rejection, or correction of work performed.; responsible for planning, assigning, and evaluating work to be accomplished; advice, counsel and or instruct the subordinate on both work and administrative matters; and hear and resolve complaints, effect minor disciplinary measures and identify developmental and training needs. The incumbent is responsible for furthering the goals of equal employment opportunity and diversity by taking positive steps to support the accomplishment of affirmative action objectives and by adhering to nondiscriminatory employment practices in all areas under his/her supervision.

The point is -- there are tons of accountant jobs with various federal and state government agencies. The perks usually include regular working hours and federal holidays. As with any government job, the down side is low pay unless you are one of the talented few who move up the slim ranks to the upper echelon of government accountants.
If you work for the government, please tell us about it.


I think I Will Leave My Job at the Big Four to Go Work for a Small Firm

Another avenue of escape from the Big Four is to go work for a small shop with two or three principals and a handful of associate accountants.

This is an attractive option for those who don't like being a small fish in a big pond:

And would rather be a big fish in a small pond:

But before you jump ponds, be aware of what you are getting into. Talk to people who have done it recently -- especially those at the firm you are going to. We know one guy who jumped from big pond to little pond and about drowned in the middle of the first busy season. Here are the lessons we learned:

Big Four Big Pond v. Little Firm Little Pond

1. Pay curve. Until you become the biggest fish in the little pond, you are not going to eat very well. The salary curve for little ponds starts lower and has a very flat slope for several years, and a high risk of the curve never getting any steeper. On the other hand, for the aggressive fish in the little pond, if you can build up your own book of business you can surpass your big pond fish in salary in not too many years. As always, lots of variables. Investigate your little pond carefully before making the jump. Look at when the principals will most likely retire and how easy it would be for you to take over their book of business.

2. Hours Control. While not always true, you generally have more control over your hours in a Big Pond because there are more fish who can help you out in a squeeze and better time management tools. If you are one of the only fish in the little pond, however, you can easily find yourself underwater and unable to turn down work. The fish we know that jumped into a little pond got killed his first busy season and was working far more hours than he had been the previous season when he was a senior at KPMG. But the advantage with little ponds is that you can sometimes work out an agreement with the principals for a fixed number of hours -- not always the case, but more likely than at the big ponds.

3. Cool Clients. One of the bonuses of being in a Big Pond are the Big clients. While the work is not glamorous, it sure sounds glamorous to your friends when you tell them the names of the big sexy clients for whom you are working. At least it sounds a lot better than the little pond clients like Al's Muffler.

4. Jumping Back to Big Pond. Once you jump out of the big pond and get acclimated to the little pond, it's tough to jump back to the big pond later on. Not impossible, but tough. The other problem is your resume if you try and jump out of the little pond a few years down the road. To most employers (especially snobby ones like public companies), five years in the Big Pond usually looks better on a resume than two years in the Big Pond and three years in the Little Pond.


I Don't Like Working as an Accountant at the Big 4, Maybe I Should Go to Law School?

One of our readers asked whether we were aware of people leaving the Big 4 to take nice jobs. Of course. But it depends on what you call a nice job, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This is a good topic, so we will dedicate a few separate posts to it, exploring different avenues of departure from the Big 4.

One very smart/dumb move that a lot of Big 4 accountants make is to leave the Big 4 to go to law school. A few people we know worked at the Big 4 for a couple years, then went to law school, and are now doing pretty well for themselves at big law firms or having started their own business/tax law firm. For example, one guy we know went to law school after getting his CPA license, worked at a big law firm for a couple years negotiating big deals, and then left to start his own practice providing CFO and general counsel services to start-ups and high-net-worth individuals.

But law school and lawyering is definitely not for everybody. Although, if you are going to spend the rest of your days punching numbers in a dark cubicle at the Big 4 anyway, you might want to consider upgrading to a big law firm. Let's compare some of the high-level differences between entry-level lawyers versus entry-level accountants:

Lawyers v. Accountants

1. Starting Salary. This is by far one of the most obvious differences between Big Accounting and Big Law. Starting salaries at a big law firm are double and triple what they are at the Big 4, with most Big law firms in the big cities paying $145,000 to $160,000 to its starting lawyers, and those salaries usually go up $5,000 to $10,000 each year after that. On top of that, after the first year, starting lawyers are usually paid a year-end bonus of anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000. Of course, the recession has rained on that parade a little, and many law firms froze or lowered salaries this past year by 10-20%. Also bear in mind coming out of law school you will have lots of debt, maybe even as much as $100,000 in school loans unless daddy is paying for it or you go to a less-expensive state-run school like U. of Texas or a church-run school like BYU.

2. Your Own Office. Lawyers usually get their own office right out of law school at a big law firm. And we are not talking about a glorified cubicle with a door and four walls that go almost to the ceiling. We are talking a real office with a real solid desk and and other furniture, and a nice view of something spectacular: the city skyline, a famous bridge, a body of water, or in Los Angeles, a nice big freeway.

Accountant cubicle:

Lawyer office (note the large volumes of boxes and papers everywhere -- we'll get to that later):

3. Work. Junior accountants in general spend all day hunched over a laptop preparing spreadsheets and looking for numbers. Junior attorneys spend all day at their desks drafting agreements, or researching cases and writing memos, or going through boxes and boxes of documents looking for smoking guns (see the boxes in the picture above). It's tough to objectively compare whether the work of junior attorneys is any less tedious than the work of junior accountants. Some prefer working with spreadsheets and numbers because when everything balances out at the end of the day -- you know you have it right. With legal research and writing and document searching, there is no real check to make sure you have the right answer -- you may have missed something big and will never know, or you will find out when the other side discovers it and you lose the case.

4. Hours. Hours vary so much across firms, projects, and seasons, that it is tough to compare hours worked by junior accountants with hours worked by junior attorneys. As a benchmark, most big law firms require their attorneys to work more hours than the Big 4. For example, the billable hour requirement at a Big 4 firm might be 1500 hours, while most big law firms expect 1900 - 2100 hours of their attorneys. The major difference is that accountants usually get more breaks and longer breaks between crunch times, while attorney hours stay high all year long except for short vacations.

Please chime in with your own observations . . .


Forced to Work Absurd Hours = Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Have you ever been asked to work on a firm holiday, a scheduled vacation, or until 5 in the morning FOR NO GOOD REASON? It's one thing for a professional, such as an accountant, to work long hours when a particular project requires it. It's a completely different thing, however, to be forced to work at absurd hours simply because a particular manager requires it.
We've received several complaints along these lines.

Shoemaker's Elves Manager. The manager who expects all of her staff to work like the shoemaker's elves and wait around all day during normal business hours to finally be given the project at 10 PM with the expectation that they slave away all night and finish the project by 9 AM the next morning -- while the manager is snoring away at home in a comfy bed.

Lonely Insomniac Manager. This is the manager that works all night with no real impending deadlines and expects all of her staff to stay up with her.

Hangover Manager. This manager waltzes into the office every day at noon to begin the workday and does not get around to doling out assignments until everyone is just about to shut down their laptops for the day.

Let us know about any other managers we are forgetting.

Such managers are not only a good way to drive away bright accountants who can easily get a job elsewhere, but also may expose the firm to liability for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The general elements of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress are:

  1. Defendant acted intentionally or recklessly;
  2. Defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous;
  3. Defendant’s act is the cause of the distress; and
  4. Plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of defendant’s conduct.

Under these elements, it seems that some staff accountants might have a decent chance for a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress by alleging:

-- The manager acted intentionally because she knew there was not an impending deadline but required the staff to work absurd hours anyway

-- The manager's conduct was extreme because she knew she was subjecting staff to extreme sleep deprivation and long hours without just cause

-- The manager's conduct caused the staff to be deprived of sleep and to work long hours, thereby subjecting staff to emotional, mental, and physical distress resulting in

  • illness
  • severe headaches
  • back and spinal injuries or other permanent physical trauma from sitting at a laptop for more than 15 hours for several consecutive days
  • weakened circulatory system from lack of aerobic exercise
  • increased mortality
  • divorce or aother inability to maintain healthy relationships
  • decreased mental capacity
  • increased suseptibility to accidents causing personal injury
  • staff having to resign to maintain their health

Any other types of distress we are forgetting here?


What is your exit strategy for leaving the Big Four, or do you even have one?

You may recall this scene from the Count of Monte Cristo, where after many years in prison, Edmond Dantes, receives a visit from a fellow prisoner, an old priest, who had spent the previous five years digging an escape tunnel in the wrong direction and ended up in Dantes' cell. The old man tells Dantes that if they both work together, they can start a new tunnel and perhaps reach the outer wall to freedom in maybe eight years.
How does that sound for an exit strategy? Sounds a lot like the path to partnership -- toiling away in a dark prison day in and day out for eight years with just the hope that there could be freedom at the end of the tunnel if you survive long enough to reach it.
I was talking with a friend the other day who decided to make his exit from a Big Four firm at the senior level, perhaps a couple years away from making manager. He went in house to work for a small start-up, where he has been for the last few years. He opined that, unlike back in the day, a junior-level accountant no longer must reach the manager level or higher before leaving the Big Four in order to reach the top echelons of the business world on the outside (i.e., CFO of a public company, etc.). He thinks that just having the firm's name on your resume and a couple of years experience learning the ropes is sufficient for the ambitious accountant looking to take his leave of the Big Four and climb an outside career ladder all the way to the top.
So what's your exit strategy? Or do you just plan on tunnelling your way to partnership over the next eight years or more?


Daddy's Little Tax Deduction Takes a Tax on Accountant Mommy Both at Home and at Work

I heard from a working mother accountant yesterday. She works at Ernst & Young and has wonderful things to say about EY's treatment of working mothers. Just to give you a taste of how flexible EY was with maternity leave -- when she told them that she had decided to quit the firm rather than go on maternity leave because she wanted to take more time off to spend with her newborn than the existing maternity leave schedule permitted, the firm said, "Don't quit. Just take an extended leave of absence for a year and come back then."

So she did. She took a year off. Of course she did not get paid a salary after the normal maternity leave time period expired. But she was able to keep her low-premium medical benefits during this time so long as she paid the premium -- which was a great benefit.

When she returned after her time off, she worked out a reduced work schedule with the firm for reduced pay. Though difficult, the managing partner and other partners are very supportive in helping her stick to the reduced schedule. Hats off to EY for such great treatment of working mothers.

But despite the great efforts of the firm and its partners to accommodate working mothers, being a part-time working mother takes a serious tax on the enjoyment that a working mother would hope to get from her career. Here's a list of some big concerns:

1. Mid-level management. While the managing partner and other office partners are supportive of the working mother's reduced work schedule. Senior staff and managers just don't seem to get it. When they watch the working mother shut down her laptop and leave the office while it is still daylight outside (to go retrieve her toddler from day care) they stare and feel like she is playing hookie -- even though she is getting paid far less than the full-time workers. They see her leave early. They don't see the small pay check (which is barely enough to cover day care expenses). And they judge.

Often times, managers and seniors come to the working mother just as she is about to leave the office and say they need her to take care of something before she goes. They don't get it. Kids have to be picked up from day care by the close of business or you are in big trouble. There is little or no flexibility here.

A similar event occurs when the seniors and managers ask the working mother to come in to the office on the day that they know is her day-off. It is not like she spends her day-off alone sipping lemonade on the beach while reading Twilight. That's the day she does the laundry, cleans the house, and tries to spend some time with her child. And her day off is also the day care lady's day off. What is she supposed to do with the poor child if she can't take him to day care? Leave him with the creepy old man next door?

2. Lower Review Scores. Because the working mother is giving baths and cleaning up cheerios off the kitchen floor, or hunched over her laptop in a make-shift home cubicle, and not at the office in view of other team members on those late late nights, the team does not see the working mother as an equal contributor to the effort. Come review time, the very high review scores that the working mother used to get are reduced to just "average" because the review committee can't justify giving her higher scores when she didn't put in as many hours at the office as the other accountants at her level.

3. No Over Time Pay. The working mother tells me that if she goes far beyond her normally scheduled hours, she doesn't get any overtime pay. That does not make sense, as I know other working women on reduced schedule at other firms who do get overtime pay. Part time mothers are part time because the remainder of their schedule is spent taking care of children and is inflexible. If working mothers are forced to put their kids in day care longer so that they can work longer hours in the office, they should be compensated accordingly in order to cover the costs of day care.

4. Short-Term Deadlines. Most projects in the accounting world have a very short deadline. A 30-hour project often cannot be spread over the course of a working mother's 30-hour work week. The managers and seniors want it done in two days. The problem is that children's schedules are not real flexible. They need someone to feed them, bathe them, change them, and sing them to sleep every night, not just once every three or four nights. Consequently, short-term projects are killer on the working mother, who ends up staying up until 4 AM time and time again just to take care of simple projects with very short deadlines.

Anyone have any tips or advice to help our working mother?


Salaries in New York

Here is some salary data for New York from Glassdoor:

Salaries in San Francisco

Here is some data on Big 4 salaries in San Francisco from Glassdoor:

Salary Cuts at the Big 4?

Word on the street is that E&Y might be anticipating that its competitor firms will soon announce compensation adjustments, and that E&Y plans to match those cuts after they are announced. Sounds a lot like parallel conduct in an oligopolistic market. If there is any evidence of an understanding or agreement between the Big 4 as to salaray cuts, it could well be a federal antitrust law violation.

Anyone have the inside scoop on what the Big 4 are planning and whether the salary adjustments will be up or down?

Overtime Lawsuits Against the Big 4

Q: What's better for your health than sitting in a cubicle hunched over laptop staring at glaring white spreadsheets in dim light for 8 hours every day for years on end?

A: Sitting in a cubicle hunched over laptop staring at glaring white spreadsheets in dim light for 18 hours every day for years on end -- and not getting paid for it!



There are currently a number of class action lawsuits pending against the Big 4 relating to the firms' practice of not paying overtime wages to junior-level accountants. For example, several lawsuits pending against E&Y in California allege that E&Y is inviolation of California overtime wage and break period laws. The cases have been consolidated before Judge Jeremey Fogel in the Northern District of California. (If you have a Pacer login, see Case No. 05-04867-JF.) Here are excerpts from the operative complaint in one of the actions:

During all times relevant herein, the class members supported the business of Defendant by working under the direction of their superiors, the managers and partners of the defendant. Such work involved the class members assisting their superiors in the production of the products and services provided by the defendant’s business to its customers. The great majority of such work by the class members included, but was not limited to, secretarial, clerical, and data entry support work, including filing papers, organizing and assembling documents, taking notes of meetings, entering spreadsheet data and formatting spreadsheets, and similar tasks requiring very little or no exercise of independent judgment or discretion or any advanced professional degree or license or the prior completion of any extended course of academic or technical studies in any art or science.

Defendant compensated the named plaintiffs and the class members on a “salary only” basis whereby the named plaintiffs and the class members were paid a fixed salary for all hours worked during each week.

At all relevant times, the named plaintiffs and theplaintiff class members were required to work in excess of eight hours during the workday and in excess of 40 hours during the workweek and/or worked more than six consecutive days in a workweek.

During all relevant times the Wage Order No. 4 of the California Industrial Welfare Commission provided that “...nonexempt employees must be paid an overtime premium for all hours worked in excess of eight during the workday and in excess of 40 during the workweek, as well as for work performed on the seventh workday in a work week....”

Although the named plaintiffs and the plaintiff class members worked overtime as that term was defined in the relevant wage orders, Defendant failed and refused to pay the legally required state overtime premiums.

Throughout the above-described period Defendant repeatedly misrepresented to the members of the plaintiff class and the general public that the plaintiffs were “professional” or other sorts of employees exempt from the overtime laws of the State of California, the defendant also failing to require or have the class members take specified paid and/or unpaid meal and rest breaks as required by California law and did not pay the class members an hour of additional wages per day for such unreceived break time, as required by California law.

This misrepresentation and omission by the defendant gave defendant a competitive advantage over other employers who legitimately paid their workers the proper overtime wages and other wages required by California law and who also gave the employees the meal and rest breaks required by California law or the additional wages required by California law in lieu thereof.

Although the plaintiffs and the class members regularlyworked for amounts of time each day that would entitle them to the paid and unpaid rest and meal breaks provided for under California Labor Code Section 226.7 they often did not receive such daily rest and meal breaks and they did not receive one hour of additional pay on the days they did not receive such breaks.

For more information, you can contact the attorneys representing the plaintiffs in these actions:

Mark R. Thierman
Thierman Law Firm P.C.
7287 Lakeside Drive Reno, NV 89511
775/284-1500 Fax: 775-703-5029

Arthur William Lazear
Hoffman & Lazear
180 Grand Avenue, Suite 1550 Oakland, CA 94612
510 763-5700

Max Folkenflik
Folkenflik & McGerity
1500 Broadway 21st Floor New York, NY 10036 212-757-0400
Fax: 212-757-2010

Ross L. Libenson , Esq.
Law Offices Ross L. Libenson
180 Grand Avenue, Suite 1550 Oakland, CA 94612
510-763-5700 Fax: 510-835-1311

Introduction to Angry Accountants

Unhappy. Very very very unhappy.

If you are an unhappy accountant at one of the Big 4 or another big accounting firm, Angry Accountants is the place for you. Non-partner accountants at the big accounting firms have been exploited for decades: long hours, high stress, infliction of emotional and physical distress, low low compensation, and no overtime pay. Angry Accountants is a place to post information about salaries, benefits, working conditions, policies, required hours, and any other information you have about your firm and your position that makes you unhappy. Send the information to us at and, if appropriate, will write a post about it and protect your anonymity.

What's the purpose of Angry Accountants? It is not just a forum to vent your frustrations. While being able to vent is a healthy benefit, the primary purpose of Angry Accountants is to quickly disseminate information about what is going on at the big accounting firms to the accountant masses around the nation and around the world. Why? Information is power. Information like that shared on Angry Accountants is why your friends who went to law school are making four times as much as you at big law firms while working the same hours.

Let's back up a decade or two. In the mid-1990s, angry associates at big law firms, who like accountants had been oppressed and exploited by firm partners, started venting their frustrations on the internet. Those sites quickly gained popularity, and large amounts of information regarding salaries, hiring practices, etc., normally kept confidential by big law firms, became public knowledge. Read about it HERE. The publication of this information forced big law firms to take steps to appease their associates, for fear if they offended the law firm associate masses, they would lose the ability to compete with other big law firms to recruit the best and the brightest attorneys. The result? Law firm associate salaries and benefits began to sky rocket until they leveled out at a the much higher fair market value.

If you feel like you are not being compensated at fair market value for your services, write about it here anonymously or send it to us at Then, sit back and wait as the economics of an increase in information in the marketplace work in your favor to force the big accounting firms to pay fair market value.