Quitting Seems Like a Decent Option

Sometimes It’s Not Hard to Know When to Leave Public Accounting

With busy season over, many of you are thinking about your next career move. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll share various career-focused posts to see where your heads are. Some will wait to see what compensation and bonus season holds for them, while others are ready to take action PRONTO. If you're at […]

CPA Didn’t Count on Little League World Series Mom Telling Him to Take Her Job and Shove It

Most of the time when you ask for time off, your superiors don't have much of an issue. "Sure! Enjoy yourself!" or "Go ahead. You deserve a break," they might say. On the rare occasion where your request comes at an inopportune time (e.g. looming deadline, it's their monthly get-away time with mistress/boy-toy), there can […]

PwC Employee Dreams of Small Firm Utopia

Tuesday got you down? Wonder how to best waste all that PTO you haven't been using? Curious as to who would win a Big 4 CEO Royal Rumble match? Email us your questions. Hey there Gee-Cizzle,   I am in my third year (up for senior next year) working PwC Tax and as you probably […]

It Is Never Unreasonable to Quit a “Good Job” If You Hate Your Life

Are you missing out on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Email us your questions and we'll figure where you're screwing up the Founding Fathers' vision. I'm a second year senior (PwC tax, large market) and I can't stand it anymore. I have no interest in making manager and to be fair, I really do nothing at […]

A Checklist for Leaving Public Accounting

This is the fifth entrant from the Going Concern freelancer candidates. The following is by Lee St. Mark. As a follower of Going Concern, you know it is that time of year again; then again maybe you don't know what time of year it is because you have been buried by your public accounting job. […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for PwC Compensation Discussions (2012)

Now that you're all adequately prepared, the conversations that will probably make or break many at Papa Whiskey Charlie have started in earnest. We've received word that they go through July 12th, so consider this post the one stop shop for all happy dances, bathroom stall sobbing, and George Costanza-esque resignations.  

Groupon’s CFO Should Quit

Last Friday, Groupon announced that some of their numbers weren't exactly up to snuff. This didn't come as much of a surprise to the likes of Grumpy Old Accountants and others (read: everyone) who weren't exactly sold on metrics such as Adjusted Consolidated Segment Operating Income ("Adjusted COSI"). There have been questions about Groupon's financials […]

Those Annoying Recruiter Calls Might Be Slowing Down Next Quarter

In a few weeks, many of you plugging along through busy season will decide to call those incessant recruiters back and test the job market. Last week's report by Robert Half and published in the Journal of Accountancy miiiiight rain on your parade, at least in the short term.  Ninety-one percent of CFOs said they don’t expect […]

What’s the Cutoff Date for Leaving Your Accounting Firm Pre-Busy Season?

Are you in desperate need for advice from one of the GC hacks? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we'll draw straws to see who gets to ruin your life. Hello GC,   This is more of an opinion question from you and the GC community than actual advice. My question is particularly now before busy […]

Here’s Another Accountant Feeling Sorry For Himself Because He Doesn’t Know What to Do with His Life

Personally, I don’t know I have the energy for this shit today but here’s a sob story we’ve all heard before:

I was born to be a lot of things, but being an accountant isn’t one of them. In my heart of hearts I have always known this, but for some stupid subconscious reason, I have always ignored it.

Why? Well…um…err…I didn’t know what else to do.


Okay, I’ll jump in now – this just pisses me off. Why? Because I have the solution and it’s easy. Quit. Immediately. I don’t give a baker’s fuck if you don’t know what else to do; don’t wait, just quit your job. I spoke with a friend recently who has been with a Big 4 firm for over ten years. This person was in a similar situation as this guy, not sure what to do other than what they were doing right now (i.e. “auditing”). Then they decided that enough was enough. Forget the money. Forget not having a plan. They just up and quit without a plan. I was so thrilled to hear someone finally going with their gut rather than thinking about all the practical bullshit that ties people down. Speaking of, what’s this guy’s excuse?

You might be left asking, “If you hate it so much, then why don’t you just leave?”

I’m the first person to berate myself for sticking with it for so long. It never helped that accounting, and the financial sector for that matter, pays so well and instantaneously blindsides with dollar signs. I was always caught up chasing the next pay cheque, hanging around a few more months for a bonus and salary hike, and holding my breath for my well-deserved promotion.

The result always afforded me the trips overseas, a new car, the latest gadgets, elevation up the clothing-label food chain, gambling in a few shares here and there, and even a deposit on an investment property. Important things in a twenty-something year-old’s life, right?

It sounds like I’m making excuses. Well I am. It’s hard to walk away. But hey, if it pays well and the bills get paid, shouldn’t that be enough? And shouldn’t I just be grateful to even have a job in this economic climate?

First off, you’re using the money as the excuse. Money is a terrible excuse. Sell your car. Sell your investment property. For God sake, pull your money out of the casino that is the world’s financial markets. And the mantra “I should be grateful to have a job in this economy” is the biggest crock. Grateful for a job you hate? That’s like being grateful to be getting laid with a partner that’s lousy in bed and hates your guts. What’s the point? Go find something you want to do and never look back. Life is too short to be wasting it doing something you don’t want to do. This is not Earth-shattering advice but sometimes it bears repeating. Will your life change? You bet your ass it will and it’ll be better for it.

And that’s goes for anybody else. You know who you are. Don’t wait for this year’s busy season to come and go so you can see what the raise will be or to get another bonus. I assure you that you’ll still be miserable. Probably more so. There’s still time to save yourself. You’ll thank me. But you don’t have to.

Is There a Polite Way to Quit During Busy Season?

Welcome to the one-week-of-mall-madness-left edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, a new hire is ready quit her Big 4 gig after three months on the job. Is there a nice way to do this during busy season?

Freaked out over your first busy season and need medication suggestions? Concerned about the lack of communication in your office? Curious about the drawbacks of a landing ��������������������ignificant other? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll tell you what’s what.

Back to fed up in Big 4:

Hi,

I’m a recent new hire at a big 4 firm in LA, and I’ve been working for the firm since October. I’m hating the job and already want to quit. I’m currently looking for jobs as we speak. Is it inappropriate to quit during busy season? How do I do so in a “polite” way?

Thanks for the advice,
HatingMyJob


Dear HatingMyJob,

Your dilemma is not uncommon but we are curious as why you would accept a job that, at least semi-consciously, you already hated before you started. You essentially took a job from someone else that probably would sacrifice an appendage for the opportunity you have.

Now that we have sufficiently guilt-tripped you, we’ll address your problem. Way back in February, we addressed this very issue and here are a few thoughts we had then:

All the people we’ve had the pleasure of working with, despite all of them having multiple “F— THIS!” moments, pull it together because they have a job to do. Why the hell didn’t you quit prior to busy season? You really felt like sticking it to everyone?

Fine. Perhaps your desire for sweet, sweet revenge against your senior/manager/partner/firm is more powerful than any shred of integrity you may have but for crissakes, that makes you a very bitter person. More so than the average accountant.

We’re not sure what has happened in the last 10-ish months but we’ve mellowed on this position. That being said, we’re putting you on notice, regardless of whether you quit now (pre-busy season) or in mid-February, people will be JUDGING YOUR ASS. We’re not talking Chief Justice judging, we’re talking the WRATH OF THE ALMIGHTY judging (if your an atheist, think of it this way – science will get medieval on you with Lou Gehrig’s or something else sufficiently terrible). Hopefully you’re okay with that because your ears will be burning.

Accordingly, there’s no reason for you to worry about being polite about it. In fact, you’re better off admitting that you hate the job (feel free to get specific) and it isn’t for you. That involves you admitting that you made a mistake but hey, we all make them. It may save you a little face with some of your colleagues.

The good news is, your recruiter – if you’re using one – is going to be able to help you more during busy season because they won’t have a backlog of people burning up their phones with, “For the love of GOD, get me out of this job!” If you’re not using a recruiter, we suggest you find one and level with them about your situation. You’re not desperate but you want out ASAP. The process takes a little bit of time and you’ll be ahead of the people that choose to battle out busy season.

So, if you’re fed up. Fine. Nothing you can do to change that. If you’re looking, that’s good; you’ll have a leg up on the new associates that decide to leave after busy season. Good luck.

(UPDATE) What Can We Learn From Yesterday’s Quitting Heroes?

While you were sitting at your desk yesterday doing whatever it is you do in August*, countless Americans quit their jobs. Due to the state of our barely-above-stagnant economy, it can be assumed that the majority of those who put in their two weeks actually had another job lined up in the wings.

But.

Neither Steve “I always wanted to use the slide” Slater nor Jenny the Hot Piece of Ass assistant had a job to wake up to this morning yet their stories are the talk of your water cooler. Airport security and Internet privacy issues aside, it’s impossible to deny that Slater and Jenny both quit in style.


We have all been there: at the same job for two, five, ten, maybe twenty years and that moment – clear as the cloudless sky – happens that makes the tiny voice of reason insanity common sense scream I’ve HAD IT with this job.

What were your “I’ve had it!” moments? Have any of your colleagues or friends outside of public accounting ever gone down guns ‘blazing? Would you hire Jenny? Share your stories, tales, and opinions of the mystery passenger** who drove Slater nuts below in the comments.

* – No, seriously – help us out – what do you actually do in August? [Ed. Note: Tax peeps, forgive him, he knows not what he says]

** – Does anyone else want to hear from the moronic passenger that rose from their seat prior to the plane being gated? How shitty does that person feel? My guess is that they are too dense to realize they did anything wrong.

UPDATE: By now, you may or may not be aware that the entire Internet was duped by the “Jenny” quitting tale. We’re completely okay with this, mostly because it’s August and there really isn’t anything else going on.

Deloitte Survey: Once this Ship Turns Around, People Are Going to Start Jumping

Deloitte’s 2010 Ethics & Workplace Survey tells us what most of you have been thinking since 2007 (if you haven’t been laid off that is), that you are GTFO of your current job. Everyone is just sitting tight until the economy to turns around.

While that might not exactly be a newsflash, the reasons for the anxious ship jumpers is primarily due to lack of trust and communication from their companies. Deloitte knows a little bit about this since the firm admitted to handling its own communication regarding layoffs “poorly.”

According to Deloitte LLP’s fourth annual Ethics & Workplace Survey, one-third of employed Americans plan to look for a new job when the economy gets better. Of this group of respondents, 48 percent cite a loss of trust in their employer and 46 percent say that a lack of transparent communication from their company’s leadership are their reasons for looking for new employment at the end of the recession. Additionally, 65 percent of Fortune 1000 executives who are concerned employees will be job hunting in the coming months believe trust will be a factor in a potential increase in voluntary turnover.

So. The question of the day is, are you leaving your firm or company as soon as this economy takes off? You have to admit, you could waiting awhile. Of course since it’s compensation season for the major accounting firms, it may not even come to that.

Rough Year at KV Pharmaceutical Continues as Chairman, CFO Quit

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

There’s no shortage of drama at KV Pharmaceutical. Last week Chairman Terry Hatfield, Stephen Stamp, who was named CFO April 13, and board member John Sampson quit, citing “serious concerns” about newly elected board members and senior management.

The previous week, immediately following the company’s annual meeting, the newly elected board ousted interim President and CEO David Van Vilet, who had been in charge since December 2008.

The St. Louis-based company has not named a new CFO.


It also said it is looking for a CEO with extensive pharmaceutical experience. For now, Gregory Divis will be interim president and CEO, while continuing as president of Ther-Rx, the company’s branded pharmaceutical subsidiary.

In their resignation letters, Hatfield and Sampson said they had “serious concerns regarding the ability of the newly constituted board and senior management to provide the required independent oversight of KV’s business during this critical time in the company’s history.”

They noted that only three of the board’s seven nominees for board seats were elected at the annual meeting. The remaining elected members were candidates proposed by shareholders. Among those re-elected to the board was Marc Hermelin, son of the founder, who was ousted as CEO in 2008. Also re-elected was David Hermelin, the son of Marc Hermelin, and a former director of corporate strategy who retained his seat. David Hermelin was among the board’s nominees, Marc was not.

The year has been tumultuous. In February, KV agreed to a $25.8 million settlement with the United States Justice Department. Officials with the company’s subsidiary, Ethex Corp. pleaded guilty to two felony counts of criminal fraud for failing to report it was manufacturing oversized tablets that could be harmful to patients, (some had double the advertised dosage of medicine). In March the company fired 289 employees, or 42 percent of its staff, to lower operating costs.

However, the company’s board still found the cash to pay themselves a hefty raise. According to a recent SEC filing, the board was paid $116,000 in 2009, a $60,000 raise while the company was involved in massive layoffs.

Earlier this month KV closed the sale of the assets of Particle Dynamics for $24.6 million, plus up to an additional $5.5 million in potential earn-out payments over the next four years.

In a prepared statement the company said the board’s primary focus is two-fold: to continue to work with the Food and Drug Administration to reinstate KV to Good Manufacturing Practice compliance, and to continue to explore a variety of financial alternatives as a means to strengthen the company’s cash position.

The company could not be reached for comment.

What To Do When You’re Ready to Quit Public Accounting

What to do, what to do.

As summer promo’s and raises (or lack thereof) loom on the horizon, you may or may not be on the hunt for a new job. If you are, great, keep reading. If you’re not that’s swell too but I encourage you to use this as a reference when the time comes. What I do want to talk about is how to resign from a job. Because if I’ve seen anything on my side of the HR table, it’s that you accountants can be rough around the edges come Hugh Grant time.


Listen, I don’t know what your recruiters tell you, but here’s what you need to know:

Respect your colleagues and boss – So you get the call you’ve been working towards – XYZ Company wants to hire you. Offer is for better money, hours, and potential. You’re on board. Great – now what?

When you’re done with your victory dance in the parking lot, the people you should break the news to is your engagement team. After all, they are the ones that will be forced to immediately absorb your departure. You shared long hours and an infinite number of other unfortunate circumstances and the whole “in the trenches” camaraderie is flushed away with your decision to leave. The best way to explain this situation to them is to be honest – you’re moving on to a better situation and you’re sorry that this puts more work on their plate but it’s not personal.

Spread the word to your mentor and mentees. It is vital to protect these professionally personal relationships. Chances are your mentors know why you’re leaving; hell, they might have even encouraged you to look outside the firm. Include them on your final “farewell” email, but be sure to contact them on a personal level as well. Thank them for their help in shaping your career.

Your resignation letter should be short and sweet. Keep the feelings, personal jabs, and wisecracks out of the email. Here’s an example:

Dear Caleb Newquist,

As of today, (May 12, 2010) I am officially notifying you of my resignation. I am prepared to work for two weeks from this date, ending on (May 26, 2010). I will do whatever it takes from today until that date to make my departure as smooth as possible.

I sincerely hope to continue the professional, and more importantly personal, relationships I have developed in my time at ABC. I hope that this parting can be accomplished without hurting said relationships.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,

Daniel Braddock

Short and sweet. Should you have the need to express personal messages to TPTB, do so in a separate email. Your resignation letter is nothing more than a means to an end.

Whatever you do, don’t burn the bridges – The accounting world is smaller than you might think. Chances are when you leave your current firm you will consider a number of your former colleagues to be current friends. Keep your farewell email short and genuine, but also professional. Whatever you do, don’t burn bridges now. You have no idea when the next happy hour will turn into a professional opportunity.

Quote of the Day

From a soon to be ex-Ernst & Young SA:

Being employed by a big 4 is like being in an abusive relationship. You know its bad for you but its still kind of addictive.

Right on the money? Dead wrong? Addictive like salt & vinegar potato chips or addictive like the stuff that’s in Rush Limbaugh’s medicine cabinet? Discuss.

Non-Knights Don’t Think Rule Convergence Is All That Important

Thumbnail image for tweedie_knight_jpeg.jpgNot everyone is as hung up on converging U.S. GAAP and IFRS as Sir David Tweedie.
As you may recall, Tweeds delayed his retirement in order to see the rules copulate and bring forth debit and credit harmony.
As admirable as his commitment to the project is, not too many people share his enthusiasm:

A survey by CFA Institute , an international association of more than 16,000 investment professionals, showed that three quarters of respondents believe that improving standards so they are more useful for making investment decisions is “at least as important if not more important” than reducing complexity or convergence.
While respondents generally support convergence, only 6 per cent of those surveyed, including research analysts, portfolio managers, corporate financial analysts and accountants, believe converging the International Accounting Standards Board and its US rival should be the primary objective.

It’s bad enough that Tweeds gets hassled by non-knighted clowns that don’t know a debit from their ass but now there’s a survey out there that says his pet project isn’t that important.
Plus, the SEC doesn’t seem too hung up on it and the FASB has its own problems. Has double-entry chivalry lost all its meaning?
Investors cool on audit convergence [FT]

Can We Stop Pretending That Fair Value Convergence Is Possible?

FASB IASB.jpgAnyone okay if we just called this whole convergence thing off? Seriously. We understand that many accountants are perfectionists but healthcare reform seems to have a better chance than this whole shitshow.
Yesterday’s Wall St. Journal claims that the FASB’s biggest wig, Bob Herz is stating, albeit implicitly, that the FASB’s fair value rule will be more strict than the IASB’s. Herz-dog, being a little more political put it this way:
Pleasant disagreement, after the jump

“I hope we can come up with something that both achieves convergence and improves the current state” of accounting rules, Herz said at a roundtable discussion on the fair-value issue at FASB headquarters. “We’re obviously keenly aware of the difficulties of achieving both goals together.”
Herz later said in an interview that while FASB would do its best to harmonize its approach and the IASB’s, “we also want to make sure we come up with a good answer” to improve financial statements that U.S. investors look to.

That’s about as combative as The Herz gets, although, we, like the Journal, will take any chance we can get to embellish otherwise, yawn-worthy comments made by wonky accounting bureaucrats.
More:

John Smith, an IASB member who also participated in the roundtable, said both boards will try to agree on a fair-value rule, but each has its own process to follow, and “at the end of the day, we won’t know until we finish the process.”
The difficulty in harmonizing the two approaches stems from the sharp disagreements over expanding the use of fair-value accounting. Smith called it “a religious war.”

Okay, so we’re not really convinced these guys give a damn either way if accounting rule convergence occurs, especially fair value. So would everyone just knock it off and quit pretending like it’s so bloody important?
Besides, this is a “religious war”. And everyone knows that wars in the name of the Almighty (in this case, GAAP) NEVER end, so let’s just count on this being unresolved through the next millennia.