It has been said that a first year auditor is the highest paid professional in public accounting. Why? A first year auditor is told what to do and the hours to work. She doesn’t have many responsibilities that require hours be put in outside of the current engagement.
The in-charge auditor is the level at which the most learning occurs. A new in-charge learns what it means to be responsible for several engagements at the same time. There is responsibility for wrapping up the last job, working on the current job and planning a future job.
This is the first opportunity an auditor has to see the audit process from beginning to end. He doesn’t just get to identify and put together the side pieces of the puzzle. He gets to find each piece in the puzzle and put them in the right place.
Eventually, if the auditor stays in public accounting and works efficiently and effectively, a promotion to manager should occur. A manager will have more fun at this stage than in any stage previously experienced.
Managing multiple engagements and clients at the same time can be a little stressful. When you add those projects that just pop up and need to get done quickly, it can get even more stressful. Then there are added administrative and personnel issues to deal with.
Why would anyone want to be a manager in public accounting? It sounds like a terrible role.
Those few stressful items noted above are true. But they do not fully describe the role of being a manager in public accounting. Like any position in life, there are certain things that cause stress. Like all other positions in life, there are also additional aspects to enjoy.
Being a manger in public accounting requires more hours. To many, it comes as a big shock as to how many hours are required to accomplish all a manager’s responsibilities. Here’s the good thing though. A manager gets more flexibility.
I thoroughly enjoy my role as a manager. I enjoy working with different people all the time (both co-workers and clients). I enjoy the networking and sales processes. I enjoy teaching. But, most important of all is the flexibility with my schedule.
Sure, a manager has to work more hours than an in-charge. That will always be the case. When the manager has to work those hours, however, is up to the manager. There is no such thing as work/life balance but flexibility provides the opportunity to feel balance.
As a manager, if you want to attend your child’s event at school, you can go. If you need to leave for a family celebration, you leave. If you want to have lunch with a friend, you do it.
The work still has to get done. You just find times to do it. Maybe that means you get to work early. Maybe you stay late. Maybe you put the kids in bed and then boot the laptop when they are asleep. The flexibility is worth the extra hours.
Appreciate the flexibility you are given by the leaders in your organization. Get your work done and no one should question why you left at 4 p.m. or why you worked Saturday evening instead of Saturday morning. The key is to just get the work done.
So working extra hours is not necessarily a bad thing. I’ll take some extra hours, added responsibility, exciting challenges and more enjoyment any day in exchange for the flexibility I have. What about you? Do see that as a fair trade?