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Extra hours??

Should I be doing them?

Hi all, I am working as a qualified accountant in industry. I started off on a contract and was made permanent after 5months. At 5 months, everything was going well, meeting deadlines easily, fixing any backdated accounts that were messy etc. More importantly, I was able to go home on time. A year on, I have been given more responsibilities, in fact LOTS of extra work. I have asked for a payrise, they effectively said no. I am now in position where my employer is really overworking me to very tight deadlines. We have just about got in a new qualified accountant to support. But i have been doing so many extra hours (to meet tight deadlines) not being recognised or appreciated for it. I feel like it was a big mistake taking on the permanent role, I should have stuck with the 12 months contract. So what shall I do? Carry on working stupid long hours? Or leave and make myself available for contract roles?

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12th Dec 2018 07:57

Doing a job you don't like ?

Leave. It's a no-brainer.

But fix yourself up with another job first.

Thye alternative strategy is to say "I can't meet that deadline, I'm too busy."

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to lionofludesch
12th Dec 2018 15:51

lionofludesch wrote:

Leave. It's a no-brainer.

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Is that all you think about?

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12th Dec 2018 09:22

To look at it from an employers point of view, you are good, you did all your work in the first year and waltzed off at 5pm.

Clearly you did not have enough work.

We have given you more work.

You are digging in and doing said work.

You have asked for a pay rise, we laughed and said you have only been here a year, but there is a new person starting in a bit.

The ball is in your court.

You now need to very gently let things slip, whilst appearing in control. The words "no I cant do that" need to appear regularly. You need to push back when new work is added to the pile. You say words such as "OK, if I do that, do you want X & Y to miss their deadlines, let me know which is priority as I cant do both"

You should then get back to an equilibrium position. Your employers will try to get as much out of you as possible, its business.

Also on a final point, many firms are poorly planned and are extra busy from Sept through to Jan. You may be in a firm who takes all new work offered this time of year, while others like mine tells them to go whistle this close into the deadlines. This then snowballs year on year, so the firms end up with a huge number of "last minuters" on the books and puts huge pressure on. Ask the rest of the office if this is 'normal for December' of it they are taking the P*ss.

You may find its all changed in Feb.

NB very poor form to tag everything on the forum.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Dec 2018 12:04

Great post/advice.

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to Red Leader
12th Dec 2018 15:47

Except for the fact that the OP is in industry.

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to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Dec 2018 12:17

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

NB very poor form to tag everything on the forum.

Rubbish !! He stopped at F.

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By marks
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
12th Dec 2018 23:21

ireallyshouldknowthisbut wrote:

Also on a final point, many firms are poorly planned and are extra busy from Sept through to Jan. You may be in a firm who takes all new work offered this time of year, while others like mine tells them to go whistle this close into the deadlines. This then snowballs year on year, so the firms end up with a huge number of "last minuters" on the books and puts huge pressure on. Ask the rest of the office if this is 'normal for December' of it they are taking the P*ss.

They work in industry not practice.

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By Tornado
12th Dec 2018 09:26

Without trying to be unhelpful, this is typical of decisions that you will encounter in your future career if you really want to get on, and only you can make that decision.

Seek advice by all means, but mainly use your accumulated skills to assess the situation and make a decision on your own. Think of yourself as business where you are the only decision maker and the buck stops with you. It may be a bit scary but you need to have confidence in your own abilities.

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12th Dec 2018 09:45

Work out your real hourly rate (salary divided by the hours you actually work) . Then ask yourself the question "as a qualified professional am I happy to work for that rate of pay?" If the answer is 'no', look for another job.

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12th Dec 2018 09:48

You say they've just about got another accountant in. Surely that will mean they've recognised you can't do it all and are trying to help. I'd wait and see what effect the new boy has on your workload before you jack it in.

Long hours and stress are meat and drink for accountants in industry. I know I've been there........... and loved it. The ability to cope with the experience will dictate your future career and what height you achieve

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12th Dec 2018 10:17

I've nothing to add to previous responses.

I just wanted to congratulate you for what is possibly the most tags I have seen used on a single post.

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By Tornado
to SteLacca
12th Dec 2018 10:33

SteLacca wrote:

I just wanted to congratulate you for what is possibly the most tags I have seen used on a single post.

Send to all.

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12th Dec 2018 10:40

Do what you want to do but I'd be amazed if any qualified accountant role in business (or indeed practice) involves routinely working strict '9 to 5' hours. If you are that good or work somewhere where there is a real shortage in your field, you might get away with it. I doubt you'll be the first one they think about when it comes to pay rises/promotions.

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By DJKL
to Accountant A
12th Dec 2018 11:35

What is 9.00-5.00?

Certainly with a smaller business in industry / small practice it is all hands to the wheel when needed.

That means at times finishing at 7-8 pm with your dinner congealing at home, or popping in on a Saturday or Sunday to finish x or y, and other days deciding at 3 p.m. that it is a glorious day, the sun is shining and sitting at home in the garden would be very pleasant.

I doubt I have worked a regular 39 hour week with paid overtime since 1987 , I know I have not been paid overtime since 1987.

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By Maslins
12th Dec 2018 10:47

Business can become mercenary, either due to genuine struggles, or simply not giving a crap about others. Maybe the business owners aren't making much so they literally can't afford to give you a payrise and need you to work extra hours to stay afloat. Maybe they're laughing at you, doing all the work for a modest salary whilst they cream of £millions.

Ie it can be a game of chicken. If you're confident you're being paid below market rate, maybe go for a couple of interviews. If/when you get a job offer on a much higher salary, wave it in your current boss's face. A dangerous game to play, as of course they may not be bothered and smile as they tell you not to let the door hit you on the way out...but they may really need you and decide they have to match it to keep you.

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12th Dec 2018 11:08

There are two types of accountancy practice. Those that are crazy at this time of year and those that are but in a controlled way! We don't work crazy hours but we still get everything out on time.
You basically have to decide whether that's the sort of practice that you want to work in or not. If it is, fine. If not, time to look elsewhere.
The advice about saying that you can't manage everything is sound, as is the fact that things might improve now that there is another accountant there.

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12th Dec 2018 11:17

The OP is in industry not the profession. It's a whole different ball game there

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12th Dec 2018 12:14

does the new accountant report to you?

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12th Dec 2018 15:03

More money isn't the answer is it? I get the impression you were happy initially with the amount you were being paid for the effort you wanted to put in. So, the answer could NEVER be a pay rise. That would merely defer the problem and not deal with the root cause.

I think you should accept that it is 'normal' for employees who are qualified and skilled to work longer than their contracted hours. Think for a moment, do you busy yourself with things you enjoy but are not actually job-critical? In other words could you save yourself time by binning some tasks?

Contract roles are not much of a 'career'. If you are very lucky you will be treated more than just a temporary resource, but don't rely on it.

Try to think about what you want from your career and how you might best get there, rather than an escape from your current predicament. The answer might simply lie in a redistribution of more basic tasks that don't require a qualified accountant to do them. Try communicating that before you decide to leave.

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13th Dec 2018 09:38

Please note everyone the OP is in industry not the profession

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13th Dec 2018 11:36

If you are in a permanent job, what you are experiencing is pretty much the norm. You have to prioritize and delegate.

It sounds like you preferred the contracting way of life and settling into a permanent role has been harder than you thought.

I disagree that contracting is not a career as it suited me well for about 20 years and was my career. I got jobs because I was a "career contractor" and not inbetween jobs.

Give it some more time and if you feel the same in 6 months then it may be more down to your work ethic than the company you joined.

There must have been a good reason for you to take the job in the first place, maybe stability, so you have to trade that off with finding a new contract every 6 months, which seems to be harder these days than it was before.

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By JWB
13th Dec 2018 11:43

Contract vs permanent role. As a contractor you were happy and achieving targets. As a permanent you are less than happy and been given more work than you can achieve in the working day. I think you have answered your own question. Get your priorities right - work is important but family life is just as important. The world of Accountancy has peaks and troughs but your peaks seem to be overwhelming at the moment and needs to be addressed. Contracting is different to being a permanent employee, have a conversation with your boss and gently point out that you are working x hours extra at the moment to keep up with workload but it cannot continue, can you bank this time to have off at a later date etc or come to some other compromise.. good luck

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to JWB
13th Dec 2018 12:54

A bit simplistic. If having fun and a better work/life balance was always the priority nobody in their right mind would spend so much time studying on their own at home for exams while their mates were having a great time down the pub.

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