• AICPA Asks EEOC to, Respectfully, BTFO of Big 4’s Mandatory Retirement Policies

    By | July 1, 2013

    Although the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page made it abundantly clear that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was way off, giving PwC and other large accounting firms a hard time for their mandatory retirement age policies, the AICPA thought it would be prudent to make its thoughts on the matter known: 
    In a letter to members of the EEOC, the AICPA has expressed concern that a significant expansion of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act would be detrimental to the accounting profession and respectfully requested that the EEOC decline to continue on this path.
    In a June 25 letter from AICPA president and CEO Barry C. Melancon, the Institute wrote, “We do not dispute that hundreds of thousands of non-partner employees are appropriately covered by the ADEA. However, we believe that accounting firm partners (those who own and control a portion of each firm) are not covered by the ADEA, and we do not believe they should be under consideration, as the possible action contends. Our position is consistent with—and relies upon—longstanding EEOC policy that presumes that partners are not ‘employees’ for purposes of anti-discrimination laws. A change that treats accounting firm partners as ‘employees’ would upend the long-established expectations and business reliance interests of the accounting profession.”
    Drop it now and they'll forget this ever happened; keep it up and maybe someone else will have to get involved.
    • Harry Melancon

      My general operating rule is “If the AICPA is for it, it must be a bad idea.” (Barry still must pay for XYZ, Cognitor, cpa2biz IPO – you can’t hide from those abominations.) So I guess that this is the exception that proves the rule – even the AICPA gets it right every once in a while. Accounting firm partners don’t need EEOC protection.

    • Viagra

      Without the mandatory retirement age the firms would just have a bunch of old geezers sitting around doing nothing.

    • guestie

      This just goes to show the folly of trusting a government agency to do anything. We expect all bastard bureaucrats to overstep their bounds occasionally, but this is simply absurd.

    • Jenny

      Does anyone really think the AICPA has an independent voice from those of upper management at the Big Four?

    • Jenny

      Eliminating the mandatory retirement age would improve partner performance in the accounting profession because removal of a mandatory retirement age would cause the Big 4 to institute partner performance measures required to be met in order to continue on as a partner. This would result in less 55+ free-riders (i.e., partners who coast once they approach the end). Many such partners have effectively resigned, but hang-on to the end of the cut off simply to milk the system. Such leach behavior suppresses associate pay because such extra operating costs have to come from somewhere. The Big 4 should be required to come up with a fairer way to push partners out to pasture (i.e., performance measures).

      • guest

        Although partners may have ownership, what makes you think that there are no performance measures? At my Big 4 firm, there have been measures that have been taken (pushed out partner, and service line partner in charge demotion) for not meeting certain goals.

    • qinting181