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You see lots of posts related to eating hours. Why does this continue to exist?

Reasons to follow:

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1. Engagement leadership under-estimates cost to do the work to get a fee that works both for the client and firm leadership. Engagement leadership then has implicit or explicit pressure on team to under-report hours

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4. Client problems cause over-runs and the team eats hours to avoid client conflict that arises from
Extra billing.

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3. Individual performance is poor and the individual under-reports hours to hide their poor performance.

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2. Engagement team execution is poor and there are pressures to under-report hours to hide this from firm leadership.

likeuplifting

Any or combination of these operate to create the pressure and unless teams/firms acknowledge the pressure and take steps to address problem will continue.

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KPMG1 that’s a good point, never thought of it like that. If partners knew they would have to pay us overtime, they would be MUCH more likely to make decisions instead of letting them fester and having us research unnecessary points. Sounds great to me

likeuplifting

@PwC 1 Correct — that’s how it is.

Around when I started, I noticed that senior managers and above looked at the staff, seniors, new managers in a similar regard (socially). I talked to a couple partners about it disguised in jokes. From what I could tell, the general thought was any person less than 5 years in was likely a “dead-man walking”.

...a tool with which you would bring them up to speed to get the work done. They never would say things like, “one day, I could really envision XYZ an equity partner here.” They know the burden is big. When I asked them (I’m talking conversing w/ countless partners & MD’s), it was clear their own path in the firm was nothing like ours. The big 8 paid OT haha! What does that mean? A huge pool of people all not working the 70+ weeks we know and love.

Partners know after that 4-5 year mark the firm has huge leverage on you. If you leave for a cross town rival, they’ll be bitter. The chances of you leaving are lower because of family pressure. This is in my opinion one of the toughest spots to be in. That’s accounting equivalent to golden handcuffs.

I fondly remember starting and an Senior Manager was ready to be partner. He had 11+ years of exp. at the time. He single handily brought in the 4th largest revenue client for the office. He worked harder than anyone else. He stayed later than anyone. He was a real champ with his eyes set on partner. Across my years they jerked him around. They finally promoted him to MD 3 years later. They said it what be another 3 years until he’d be eligible for partner. He ended up quitting, moving his family out of state, taking a Director role with that same client, and now making more money than our partners, haha.

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Being exempt of overtime further affords these issues to exist. IF they they paid a $1 more after the standard daily hours, that would either:
A) Pencils down the project earlier through-out the day. This would fix the daily hours issue.

AND/OR

B) Clean the projects up. Weed out those that don’t pull their weight. This would correct the engagement management issue.

I gravely believe employees underestimate what problems fester given our exempt status. It’s the above issues that simply prevent us from having a ‘normal’ life — plain and simple.

With that said, the B4 model is built to incorporate all these elements. This is likely not going to change. The promotion/career ladder of consistency is forged by persistent turnover. The ‘growth’ you will see is part and parcel to the turnover. Ultimately, the employees get their end of the deal... with B4 stamp of approval. The firms get to bill a lot of hours. Every party gets their desires met.

Working at the B4 means, plan and simple, that part of your compensation is kool-aid. Unless you leverage the firm to work abroad (which is a great opportunity), your compensation is being a part of “something”. No... you cannot pay rent with that or save for your kids college fund, but the intangible quality is unmistakably present.

In closing, all the people complaining about the hours are missing the point. You either get with the program and be zen about it OR you leave. Pick a course and embrace the up and downsides.

likeupliftingsmart

In 25 years I’ve never eaten hours

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While they may be true, it doesn’t diminish the real pressure faced by many. Myself, I have not had the pressure too high per-se. The pressure I got was “if you’re not down to charge 85+ a week for 4 months expect a poor evaluation.” I stepped up to bat, nailed it, got a stellar review... but it put such an insane burden on my marriage. Seriously, if I ever get put in that situation again it’s either her or the firm...

Naturally you’d never hear the discord in person though. You’ll hear, “...doing well, and you? So, any weekend plans...?"

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To run the business we need to hold people accountable for accurate pricing and execution of projects. But that system does not work when accurate information about level of effort does iexisr

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If we paid overtime it would certainly make the issue come to a head. People would feel like we were stealing money and not just time.

likesmart

Correct — unfortunately leadership will not be sympathetic to our perceived needs on this one. Partners will hold everyone all to the standard of, “well if I had to pay my dues then they have to.” Never mind the time away from family, failed marriages etc... these people have to ‘pay their dues.’

The people that stay in today’s model hold working at the firm in a higher regard than anything. Those are the same people setting your tone at the top.

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In my line of service it is required to eat time ..... otherwise you get beat up for poor financials that you screwed up on (even though it was the partner that agreed to the crap fees and they take home a healthy bonus while you take peanuts, .... barely enough to cover minimum wage on your life you sacrificed).

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As a lower level guy I refuse to eat a minute and just enter it all anyways and so far its actually been an overall positive for me

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Past*

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Charging clients on a time and materials basis is bogus and should change. If we can’t figure out how much to charge with this much history, shame on us. We should extra bill as needed but I think pushing for more fixed fee engagements is the answer. Then there is the issue of managing utilization...again, I think we can all reasonably figure out what a full load of work is. At the end of the day, people charge as many hours as the budget allows because we are salaried employees. If I can stay in budget and maintain a healthy utilization, that’s a win win regardless of how many hours I actually worked. Rant over :)

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Because partners promise stupid amounts of work for not enough money because they want to have made a sale. And then managers pressure everyone nonstop to get it done without effecting the code since budget is one of their review metrics and they want a big raise. To make it go away, don’t make it a damn review metric for the person running the team. In fact, get a real billing department in charge of billing the client so the actual work doers are out of the equation entirely when it comes to monitoring and reviewing the WIP.

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Managers and up use the hours on the job to protect themselves schedule wise while they throw seniors and associates to the wolves. If a job is over budget it’s not on the manager... ever... clearly the staff and seniors just “weren’t efficient” enough

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likehelpful

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Most over used word in public accounting....I'll start "utilization" go!

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likefunny

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