{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "Some are gonna hate me for this but at what point did you realize that maybe I don’t want to be a partner and maybe this is just gonna take too much sacrificing for me to make it. In public accounting there’s a lot about work life balance this and that but I’ve never seen a partner not work all day. I’m not in public accounting anymore just curious on if any partners here ever thought to themselves that maybe being senior manager long term and making 150-200k wouldn’t have been so bad.", "post_id": "61db948c075bf500360090e6", "reply_count": 111, "vote_count": 27, "bowl_id": "564a5cdb94887803001dd07c", "bowl_name": "Accounting", "feed_type": "crowd" }

Some are gonna hate me for this but at what point did you realize that maybe I don’t want to be a partner and maybe this is just gonna take too much sacrificing for me to make it. In public accounting there’s a lot about work life balance this and that but I’ve never seen a partner not work all day. I’m not in public accounting anymore just curious on if any partners here ever thought to themselves that maybe being senior manager long term and making 150-200k wouldn’t have been so bad.

likeupliftingsmart
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One thing you might think about: you seem to be presupposing that that making partner is something that everyone has the opportunity to do if they can do the work. But in reality, there is a partner track. There may not be a "scoreboard" that is updated live with the list of those currently on the partner track for all to see, but there is a partner track nonetheless. To be sure, those who make partner are bright people and hard workers with a lot of skills. But the all also had the mentoring to get where they are. What makes the accounting industry so unique is that there is much less transparency about ones growth potential. Just look at their HR strategy from the outset. The accounting firms effectively require a very specialized masters degree just to get in the firm and there is really no set tenure that all. Compare that to investment banking or consulting. In those industries, they don't require a masters and there is a set time period, usually 2-3 years, at which point both sides can make a educated, cordial decision about how to proceed, whether that means parting ways, staying on for an additional period of time, or getting a masters and then coming back. Public accounting doesn't work that way. They develop people to whatever level they are needed, and then they coach out those who are no longer needed at a time that is convenient for them. That's their level of decency. It's nothing that should be taken personally against any one individual, including the partners, who as I said are bright and hard working people. It's just how the industry works, and it's how the industry will continue work as long as they can get away with it. So you may not have really and truly had the decision to sacrifice or not sacrifice.

likehelpful

Each of the B4 requires you to be CPA Eligible, which means 150 hours. In most states, a significant number of those hours must be advanced accounting. So while the firms don't require a masters in accounting per se, the effectively do b/c they require you to be CPA Eligible.

Wow, this is a great question and something I ask myself all the time. I think first you need to define what work life balance looks like to you in terms of compensation, type of work and time with family, friends and personally. For majority of larger firm employees we have worked 80+ hours so working “only” 55 hours a week is a huge improvement and being able to eat dinner with family more than once a week was a huge improvement too. However, the drastic improvement from 80+ hours and eating dinner with family once a week doesn’t even come close to what some people want. Personally I want to work no more than 40 hours a week and closer to 30 hours per week and make at least $120k and be able to eat dinner with my family everyday. PA doesn’t allow that unless you’re on flex time, but busy season will always throw a wrench into things. The only way o see that happening is if I open my own tax practice and only work on clients I want and charge enough where it makes sense. I’ve have peers that are solo practices and one that has a team of 5 that do this currently so I know it’s possible.

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Great feedback. Thanks for your input. I left public accounting because dinner once or twice a week with family doesn’t make sense to me but for some it’s more than enough so I respect everyone’s opinion.

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I’m a senior 2 in nyc and I knew I didn’t want to make partner pretty early on. If the difference between partner and not is getting to have one extra kid and one extra dog/cat, I’ll be picking the latter. The worst thing I can think of is ending up with a bad family life or no family at all at 38 as a sr manager, working crazy hours and then being told I’ll probably never make partner because of office politics and that business case just isn’t strong enough. People will say “oh you gotta bet on yourself” but I know the probability is not favorable. If I wanted to gamble I’d buy lottery tickets. Of course, I’m saying this as a career woman who also wants biological children before 35.

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Also yes PwC 5. Very important to take your health into your own hands and be proactive.

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There are two partners close to retiring that lost their spouse last year. That was a wake up call for me. Imagine working your whole life to build a safe and abundant retirement egg only to spend it alone. Truly heartbreaking and eye opening to the reality that we should not marginalize those we love in the present for hopes of a brighter tomorrow.

likesmart

I think the point is everything in moderation. I don't think anyone who is not partner will retire to poverty. I certainly don't plan to and also have no plans to join the ranks of partner. I love having actual flexibility with my current role.

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I'm a director making 150-200 and am taking my exit now. The stress of going further is too much for me.

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Thank you for your honest feedback.

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I’ve also heard from current partners that it’s a lot tougher today to be a partner than what it used to be like.

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Generally how do you prove that? By bringing in clients as a senior manager or director or by having a strong case ?

I've wanted to make partner from day 1, am a high rated (early) SM now. Started having doubts during the holidays this year. So many partners kept scheduling calls while all my staff were taking PTO. I already have a wonderful family and a beautiful home. I don't know what to do with my fresh indecision. I know I have the talent and work ethic but I'm the child of workaholics and I swore I would never miss out on the daily mundane. Going to have to do a lot of soul searching, quickly.

likesmart

I figured it out about 4 years in. I started out wanting partner, but after getting to know those who were on the partner track at my old firm it quickly became apparent to me that it wasn’t the right career path. They lived and breathed in front of their laptop, were constantly traveling for various internal and external conferences, out at night networking for prospects and schmoozing clients, and either never saw their family or had to plan out every minute of their life to make time with family. I knew I wouldn’t be a shoe in rainmaker type partner, so chasing that small shot at making partner and missing my kids growing up or time with my wife just wasn’t worth it. So I made a lateral move to CLA, which isn’t an up or out firm. I can sit at the director level, manage my book, and never have to think about bringing in a new client. The stress literally melted off my shoulders after switching and I’ve never been happier. I’m more than content to work reasonable hours for a solid six figure salary.

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Thanks for that reply, CLA 1. Actually made me snort.

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here’s the secret, the people who figure out how to balance are the ones who make it to partner.

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balance is not about utilization, it is about maintaining your energy level, and your health and not neglecting important areas of your life, you can still do that and have higher utilization. Sure there are people who only work all the time but I’m saying generally the people who stick it out in this career it’s because they have found a way to balance and they are mentally and physically in the position to do good work over the long term.

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I was in it for the long run until I got promoted to senior manager and realized there was no amount of money worth enduring the stress, anxiety, and hours that had become part of my regular routine.

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Having similar thoughts but still pursuing the partner route 😳

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I realized between myself and my SO we'd both plateau around $200k each and it wasn't worth grinding to become a partner. $400k household income is more than enough to live an extremely comfortable life.

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Definitely. My household is getting close to this number and I realized I have everything material I've ever wanted.

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And for those that continued to make the sacrifice of making partner. Do you truly ever have time for family and a wife/husband or is that completely out the window? Is that money really worth it? This is a serious inquiry because I’d love to see how a partner thinks or a prospective partner.

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In my opinion (that wont be appreciated), what we sacrifice is quite honestly a joke and not worth it. I have no life right now, I can’t keep going on like this. Hardly have time to take care of myself much less when I have kids have time for them. Relationship has suffered since I started working because I have no free time. We are all very intelligent, there are A LOT of other options out there whether that be in industry or totally unrelated to accounting. Enjoy your life guys, it’s not all about work and your career

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Being a partner is what you make it. You get pulled in a bunch of directions but just like any other advice you see given to others, you have to set boundaries. I work a lot but I also have movie nights with my family, go to and coach kid's sports team, and take out time to pick up kids from school as well. I'm well compensated and feel the need to balance business and family. I'd also keep in mind that generational changes are impacting the partner ranks like the others.

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P1- what do you mean by generational changes are effecting the partner ranks? Strictly speaking wlb? Or are you also referring to comp? Do partners expect to make less in order to pay people more seeing that it’s harder to get the newer gen to grind out the hard years for 15+ years?

Im a S2 in HCOL, and I’ve always wanted to be successful at a Big4 and become partner. I’ve had everything laid out for me : a great mentor, good reputation, good relationships with partners and large clients. My view of success changed over the years when i was working for different senior managers, especially mothers. They all seemed constantly exhausted. I know few managers and senior managers who ended up in the hospital just due to stress and fatigue.. it’s really difficult to be a parent while working at Big4 which is unfortunate, but if I had to choose between spending time with my kids while being healthy versus working all the time and earn 500k-1M, my choice is easy. All I can say is that this Big4 world opened my eyes on what truly matters to me in life. Time flies, so choose well your priorities.

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I knew before I even started started working that I wouldn't stick it out till partner. In fact, I don't think I know a single person that actually plans to stick it out to partner. Most people I know are in the camp of sticking it out till senior and then reevaluating.

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Oh I went the private route. Home by 5:30 everyday which is my biggest concern for my future family God willing.

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Maybe it depends what firm and what BU, but I tend to think the stress at the staff/senior/manager level is based on number of hours and at Sr Mgr/partner level the shift is from hours related stress to responsibility related stress. At the partner level you should have a strong hierarchy under you that you trust, and should only be relied on for highly technical guidance, client relations, bringing in new business and building the practice. Maybe I’m completely naive, but I don’t see partners working crazy hours unless they are poor delegators.

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Senior manager here. Still getting shit constantly for my hours and still expected to do all the "extra" stuff to pad my firm resume to be a partner. Partners I work with are working weekends and long hours year-round and the firm just keeps adding more responsibility to their plates. I'm getting out. The sacrifice is not worth the money.

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In the beginning, I didn’t think much about becoming a partner and just focused on doing well and getting promoted to the next level. When I got promoted to manager, I was still enjoying the work. I really thought that I have what it takes to be partner IF that’s what I commit myself to but I also know that family will be very important to me. At that point, I decided my next career move, whether to stick it out in PA or leave will depend on my life priorities/family life. I told myself, take it one year at a time and reevaluate. Now at SM, married and new mom, I don’t think working and becoming a partner will allow me to have the kind of family life I want so I recently decided to leave PA. I see no point in staying longer if partnership is not my end goal.

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Recently married and no kids yet, but this is exactly how I feel. I know several people who have done a flex schedule and it doesn’t really seem to work when the people you work for don’t understand or respect it (partners who don’t have kids themselves)

I’ve never had a desire to become partner. My goal was to make manager and now that I’m here, I’ll start thinking about how long I want to hang around. 1, 2 years? Do I attempt to make senior manager? I know I have no desire to be here for the long haul.

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Agreed - I feel like this is where I’m at too. Prob not partner, but at what point do you leave? Work is fine, I like what I do, but if I’m not staying to partner, at what point is it most beneficial to leave for industry? Manager or senior manager?

SM here - I realized that partner track was no longer for me when it finally clicked that I didn’t actually care about serving my clients and that this job was mentally and physically draining me to the point that I probably developed depression as a result. My anxiety has also gotten worse. My mental health is in the worst rut it’s ever been and trying to figure out how to undue all the damage I’ve done to myself to achieve a high performer status has not been easy.

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Made manager in May and am starting to plan my exit. Exiting at manager seems tougher than exiting as senior so I can't imagine how tough it would be to wait until SM to jump

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I started out thinking I did not want to be a partner, I just wanted to go to work and make some money so I could enjoy vacations. As a manager, I realized developing new business was not as difficult as I originally thought, and I actually enjoyed it. I am a partner at a local firm, so I'm sure demands and pressures are different than big4. I mostly make my own schedule, and if client demands exceed my comfort level, I transfer clients to other partners/managers or fire clients. I work a lot, but I also take 5 or 6 vacations with my family every year and spend time with them every day. Money is better than I ever imagined when I was younger. I don't regret my career path.

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