Monday, July 21, 2008

Accountants are required to work 45+ hours per week.

In a recent conversation with recruiter A, I asked whether she thought I was underpaid in my current position. Instead of inquiring further about my job's responsibilities or duties she asked, "How many hours do you work in any given week?” Typically, I work 40 hours a week. When the need arises I do work whatever hours are needed to get the job done. This has included working both Saturday and Sunday during year-end close and 10 hour days at month-end. Upon hearing my response she said, "Since you typically work only 40 hours a week you are probably not underpaid. The majority of accounting positions I fill require a work week of at least 45 to 50 hours."

Not pleased with recruiter A's response, I asked recruiter B if the companies she recruits for require accountants to work more than 40 hours per week. Instead of answering my question, she went into a tirade about two recent job placements that fell through after the candidates refused to work more than 40 hours a week despite having been advised of the hour requirement prior to hire. She wondered why these individuals even majored in accounting; everyone knows accountants are required to work long hours.

Conclusion: In my 20+ years of working as an accountant I have worked several jobs including the early years of my current position) where I have been required to work 45-50 hours a week. I have since come to the conclusion I cannot work 45+ hours a week every week, year after year and still be effective in my job. I think the only people who can do this are either very driven, very passionate about their work or both. If more money requires a greater hour requirement at this point in my life I think I will stay where I am.


  1. Same profession, same opinion as yours.

    I think that may be the norm for younger/newer professionals and those in public accounting, and that's one reason I've spent most of my own 20 years in the nonprofit sector. And at this stage, I'm just NOT that driven or passionate about my work.

    Interesting comments from those recruiters.

  2. Unfortunately, I see this trend continuing as employers try to save on full-time worker benefits by squeezing more hours out of their full-timers. Ridiculous. I can't believe we're still fighting this problem this far on in the "post-industrial" world. I totally agree that forty hours is enough to care about your job--even if you are driven and passionate.