Cost saving strategies

Is Your Firm Cutting Fringe Benefits?

Last week we touched on the shockingly sensitive subject of charging time while traveling. You see, apparently it was (at one time) a-okay in some KPMG offices (Southeast) while in others, the mere idea of charging time while traveling was utter nonsense.

So that got one reader to thinking – what the hell else is being cut out these days?

Please consider a post related to fringe benefits. I’m curious in knowing whether the larger firms are allowing their employees to keep points for dollars spent on company credit cards. But there are other points programs (i.e., frequent flyer miles) and fringe benefits (i.e., gym memberships, cell phones, etc.) that may be declining on top of all of the poor raises.


Big 4 firms have been quite generous with the fringe benefits (e.g. elderly parent care, subsidizing public transit passes, etc.) and they make a point to remind you of it from the day you interview with the firm to the day you leave. However, since we’re living in unprecedented times, nothing is unheard of.

If your firm has recently gotten stingy on fringe benefits, from the vastly important (401k match) to the less crucial (discounts at Brooks Brothers) discuss or shoot us the details.

Cash-strapped Clients Could Force Accounting Firms to Come Up with Creative Cost Savings

Because times weren’t already cheerful enough around GT, they recently released a study which found that businesses are generally pessimistic about raises and bonuses this year.


From the press release:

The firm surveyed 496 U.S. CFOs and senior comptrollers from March 22 through April 5, and found that 53% plan no salary changes in the next 6 months, while 32% plan to decrease and 15% plan to increase. On the bonus front, there is also equal pessimism, 47% plan no change, 44% plan to reduce, and only 8% plan to increase.

Well – that certainly sucks.

We know raises are the last thing on the minds of higher-ups at GT, but come on, really? Imagine being a no-name staffer at GT grinding away on a report about how your clients are a collective group of Negative Nancy’s. With headcount discussions ongoing in several GT offices, one would be – and should be – concerned.

The freezes in salary and bonuses don’t really apply to the accounting firms because – as it has already been discussed here in great length – money should be flowing your way this summer. The underlying concern with this report is this – if your client isn’t giving its own employees a bump in pay, there’s no bloody chance your firm is getting a bump in fees, either.

Any and all resources will be applied to minimizing any talent exoduses from occurring.

So how will the firms find enough cookies in the jar to “support the current pipeline?” I checked in with a Big 4 auditor in New York who had this to share:

During casual conversation with my mentors, word is the firm will be pushing for leaves of absence again this summer for everyone who has not completely passed the CPA. The hope is for a decent percentage of staff members to do this to save on salaries.

Makes sense-ish. Temporarily cut staff salaries during a relatively quiet audit period. Will this be enough to cover raises and bonuses while client fees remain stagnant? Heavens no but it’s a start. As always, let us know if you learn of ways your firm plans to pinch pennies.