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.