Profession, We Have a Problem

No doubt about it. We’re in crisis mode.

Recently, the Anonymous Accountant blog featured an eye catching post: “Holy Crap, This Really Sucks

Two months in as an auditor in the Big 4 and s/he writes:

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.

Straight from the horse’s mouth. This is pretty much what I hear in firms, too. In firms of all sizes; not just the giants. Same thing in law firms.

I was reading INSIDE Public Accounting’s most recent survey this week and came upon staggering stats that parallel what I read in the legal profession. That the average tenure for accountants at the various levels is only 5-6 years—peaking about a year or two after accountants become qualified&mdash&and dropping down toward 5 years average length of stay for more experienced accountants.

Similarly, but perhaps a little worse, the legal profession reports that 85% of lawyers areleaving the profession within 5 years.

That’s it. Five to six years. And how much you wanna bet that a good portion of those who stay longer aren’t the ones whom you most wanted to stay?

Law and accounting both face the “who will be left after all these smart, bored, and spent kids leave the firms and go into industry or leave the profession altogether” syndrome. Firms are discouraged and so are we.

VeraSage has some exciting plans to inspire team members to stick around and give these professions a chance. But firm management might not like what we plan to teach their team members. We’re even thinking of advertising these programs as “The CPE your partners don’t want you to have.” What do you think?

As such, we realize firms may not want to foot the cost of the program or allow people the time off to attend. We recognize this so Ron Baker and I plan to offer some inspiring and eye-opening seminars on Saturdays, all around the US, at barebones prices (under $50 just to cover materials) so that even the youngest, most modestly paid professionals can attend.

Stay tuned for dates, locations, and early-bird sign-ups later this week!

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