There was a large accounting firm interviewing one of their junior partners the other day, and we were struck by the antique nature of the partner business model. Do your time, work hard, work up the ladder, and make it to partner.
The female junior partner had taken 15 years to make it to partner level. “Fast Track”.
As the Managing Director interviewed her, he was probably recalling his own “fast track” path, and probably recalling the “suit and tie” days when he started. Remembering back late in the last century, accountants could only wear white shirts (blue shirts were for the finance gents down at the Stock exchange), and either dark grey or dark blue suits. Pin Stripes out (that was the English), and personality was displayed by the tie. And a tie that was not too thick, and not too thin.
The junior partner mentioned she worked 10 to 12 hours each day, and a few hours on Saturday morning. And this at partner level. At the same time she mentioned her two children, aged between 5 and 10, who hadn’t really seen her, but seemed to be ok with the long working hours she was putting in.
Here we are, in 2020, and a major Australian Accounting firm is not only promoting long working hours for staff (over 15 years!), but by pushing it out on Linkedin by way of Video, it’s indicating this is the status quo.
It is those junior accountants of the 80’s and 90’s which are dominating the leadership positions of major Australian accounting companies. More recently we’re seeing the accountants who cut their teeth on accounting in the ‘00’s move into senior positions in firms, as they are fast tracked into partnership.
In smaller firms, we’ve frequently discussed with the partner owners working 12 hour working days regarding outsourcing, and they are usually contacting us to discuss outsourcing. More often than not, it’s a junior partner looking to make changes, and look to eventually buying out the senior partner, who works 12 hour days 6 days a week. Write-offs are massive, and efficiency poor.
There needs to be changes in the Australian accounting firms 15 year “Fast track” model. Staff need to be engaged, and staff need to avoid buying into a system handed down by prior generations of partners. Work smarter and not harder. Spend time to work “on your business” and not 12 hour days “in your business”
Let us know is we can assist with reducing your 12 hour working days back down to something manageable. Work towards a more efficient firm, and a work life balance.