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delpiero | 8th Mar 2006, 13:25 PM | 置頂文章 | (105304 Reads)

平均分: 8.62 | 評分人數: 13

以下一篇文章是我上年寫的..想唔想知道在Big 4工作是如何?

〔以下是一些Big 4的不為人知的一面,請家長陪同閱讀..emoticon

 

你想在Big 4工作嗎?

引言

大家想唔想去Big 4做呢? 大家認為在Big 4 工作四五年容易嗎? 大家想不想知道Big 4實際的工作環境呢? 筆者曾經在Big 4工作過一段時間,在那裡的生活可以用慘不忍睹來形容! 在那裡工作你可能要犧牲很多事,包括你的朋友,甚至你所愛的人。你往往要每星期一至日不停工作而又沒有OT payment。你又會遇到很多A字膀的經理,同意Partner又唔care你的死活。他們只有不斷去push你完成工作,但又不給你足夠的同事去做。這樣只有一個結果﹕不斷又不斷的長期工作!

這就是現實

時時都有人問做Audit是否需要OT? 在香港做Audit,OT看來是必然的。很多人說,食得咸魚抵得渴,但是否這樣是必然的? 美國的大企業比香港的上市公司規模何只大幾倍,為什麼在外國的Auditors不用OT那麼夜? 很多人認為在香港沒有那一個行業不用OT。不錯這是事實,但很多人都沒有想過在香港做Audit不是每天只是OT兩三個鐘,而是每天OT七八個鐘! (Audit有分peak season同slack season。Peak season大約是由二月到七八月,但因人而異。Slack season就大約是九月之後。在Peak season很多時每天都會工作至12am,有時會到2-3am甚至同頂。筆者曾經試過由二月開始星期一到星期日不斷每天工作兩三個月而沒有一日休息。更甚的是辛苦到偷偷在洗手間嘔吐! Slack season就比較得閒,很多是可以準時走或OT兩工個鐘。) 我認為在香港OT是可以的,但要每天OT七八個鐘絕對不可以接受! 個人認為每天長時間OT是不必要。我們是人不是機器。一個人是不能長時間工作而不需要任何休息的。作為一個文明社會,這是絕對不能接受。現在香港的社會是十分奇怪,好像返回從前工業革命時大財團剝奪工人的時期。要知道在很多歐美國家都有勞工法例去保障工人,但香港的勞工法(僱傭條例)對保障員工絕對是十分是有限。加上會計界是沒有自己的工會,而HKICPA(香港會計師公會)除了每年收取會費更改會計準則之外,完全沒有做過任何事去保障會計師長時間工作的問題。筆者曾經收過HKICPA的email關於會計師長時間工作。Survey就做了,但究竟個會做過什麼去保障會計師能夠過一些正常生活? 另外,很多在會計師工作但還未考完會計師考試和相關經驗或從事會計工作(如Account Clerk)的僱員都得不到保障而俾僱主剝削。一來他們還沒有相關資格去入HKICPA,二來香港的會計界立法會功能組別是只有HKICPA會員才能夠選,所以他們根本沒有人去代表這一班人去爭取他們應有的利益。是否因為他們不是會計師就不需要保障他們呢? 這絕對不是一個文明社會應有的態度! 曾經有某些Big 4為了減少員工的怨氣,推出一系列的「舒緩壓力」的活動,使員工能夠「Work Hard Play Hard」﹑「Balanced Life」,有些還上電視老闆和員工與眾同樂,甚至宣稱如果員工放工後繼續工作會命令他們回家而不用OT工作。做這些做那些無非是想話俾街外人或有志投身會計行業的人看,但根本上一切一切都沒有改變! 那間宣稱如果員工放工後繼續工作會命令他們回家而不用OT工作的Big 4,員工一方面要偷偷地摸黑在公司工作,另一方面還要怕公司排員去捉他們在公司工作。這是多麼荒謬! 根本的問題是如果你間firm沒有足夠的人力物力就不要接那些垃圾job。接了返來又不能夠給予足夠人手,到頭來苦的只是員工。雖知道Big 4的老闆從來都不care員工的死活,最care只是工作能否完成。在Big 4員工的turnover十分是高,你唔做大把人做。由於這些原因所以Big 4老闆根本不需要關心員工。你有你死,最要緊是你要交到file。有些經理因為老闆抱有這些態度,他們對自己的手下自然抱有同一態度。例如一個job明明需要一個星期去完成。他們有心不在星期一去book你出job,反而在星期三,book少兩日節省兩日staff cost但要完成工作時間是一樣,變相是員工要星期六日返工來完成工作! 可以話厚顏無恥! 完全是披著專業人士的狼!

最高工時可行嗎?

有些人說會計師是一門專業,專業就是長時間保持高效率工作。那些人不顧自己的身體不要緊,但有些人絕對認為健康是無價的。前畢馬威會計師事務所美國業務主席兼行政總裁奧基利(Eugene O’Kelly)正處於事業頂峰,五十三歲的他統領「四大」屬下規模最大的業務,日理萬機,呼風喚雨。在全無先兆下,醫生告知他患上末期腦癌,只餘約一百 天壽命。奧基利和他的太太於是合作撰寫《Chasing Daylight:How My Forthcoming Death Transformed My Life》這本書,紀錄他步向死亡的經歷。奧基利在同年9 月去世,距離他知道患癌正好約一百日。另外,有一批在會計師數工作的人是沒有選擇的權力的,那就是剛入行而要拿工作經驗的人。HKICPA規定考完QP(HKICPA的會計試)還要有三年的工作經驗才可以入會做會計師。對於這群沒有任何bargaining power的一班新人,他們受到僱主的剝削是最為嚴重的。所以筆者認為如期等那些大公司自律或給予他們機會做些門面功夫,不如立法制定最高工。至於一星期工作幾多時間,一個月又工作幾多就不在這文章討論範圍。

至於最高工時可行嗎?我認為限制一星期工作多少比較難執行,但限制一個月工作多少都可以說做合理。反而我覺得最難推行的是很少人願意企出來去指控那些無良僱主,在香港很多人實在是習慣了做被人屠宰的一群。

在大陸工作的情況

在你打算去Big 4工作之前,你有沒有心理準備去大陸工作兩三個月呢? 如果你一個唔好彩公司排你去做IPO (Initial Public Offering),你可能需要在大陸工作一段很長的時間。不要以為在大陸工作會很開心(雖然有時都有例外),你可以有時間去約漂亮的美女,很多時在大陸工作是一件十分痛苦的事。你每天大約8:30am起身,之後就會一路工作到10:00pm - 12:00am 或更晚。你除了在client的工廠工作之外,其餘時間就是在酒店訓,個cycle不斷重複 – 工作睡覺工作睡覺工作睡覺…在大陸大部份時間都是六日工作(如果那裡有些名勝星期日有可能有得去玩或觀光),但是不要忘記你所簽的contract是五天工作的! 你不要以為你有法例給予你的權力去claim OT。如果不是經理準許你claim,你會被其他人埋怨你去做這些愚蠢但合法的要求。另外,其他人會認為你claim OT是因為工作效率不高!

在大陸工作有一樣不是很方便的地方是你很有可能要同其他同事一齊住在同一間房一段很長時間。堂堂大公司去出business trip要同事屈在一間房,你話成何體統! 如果你是男仔又是剛入職的junior,你很有可能要同比較高grade的同事住同一間房。可能你會想同住一間最多是比較唔方便,作為男仔這些都不是太有所謂,但這些想法就大錯特錯了! 很多時當你辛苦工作由client度返來,你只想快些沖涼之後去睡。但由於你的同房是比較高grade,他返到酒店都還要工作,而很多時他還需要你在client工作完畢,返來hotel幫他做這些做那些,十足十一個「啊四」一樣! 當然如果你同那team人十分夾,工作又開心的,那就作別論。有時出job的時候都很開心的,你會「八」到很多關於你公司的事情。例如︰那個同那個一齊﹑那些manager衰﹑那些partners出d「Q」很麻煩…但如果你同自己不喜歡的人一齊去大陸出job幾個月,那些感覺真是生不如死,心裡不是味兒,有種像坐監一樣的感覺!

當然去大陸出job都有得著,你可能有機會增廣見聞,例如︰一些大工廠的作業情況等。但是除了這些,你所學到的並不一定可以幫助你的career如果你不想上大陸工作。不過當你打算入會計這行,你都要有上大陸工作的準備。大多數關於會計的工作(Accounting in commercial field)都需要上大陸的,因為現在多數會計部會設在大陸的工廠內。曾經見過一個client,全個會計部都在大陸,在那裡工作的會計從業人員每天搭公司安排的旅遊巴由香港日日去深圳返工,之後每天搭返車回來。當然香港還有一些不用上大陸的工,包括internal audit﹑taxation﹑compliance…

大陸的會計制度同香港有很多不同的地方。很多公司都沒有完善的internal control,這意味著作為核數師你需求花大量的時間去審核這些公司的賬目以確保它們的年報是「true and fair」。但就算你做了大量工作,這些公司都存在著很大的風險同問題。這些job行內叫「鑊job」! 沒有人想做這些「鑊job」的,一來你要花很多時間去抽sample做多些testing,在人手不足下要完成這些工作絕對不容易。另外,最主要原因是無論係怎樣做,做幾多testing都沒有太大用,這些「鑊job」風險實在太高,很容易就「爆鑊」! 你會問為什麼這些「鑊job」風險那麼高d partner點解要接這些job? 一來工作不是他們做,他們當然唔care。二來,在四間大firm不斷競爭,他們接這些job是想擴大market share! 作為staff這些都不打緊,最大問題是在Big 4工作有一樣野叫做「continuity」。當你完成一個job,下一年開job很大可能會揾返你。為什麼呢? 因為你曾經在這client工作過,你對這個client的運作比較熟識,所以會快些上手。如果你作為junior而第一年就這麼「好彩」接到這些job來做,那就「恭喜」你,因為明年做這個「鑊job」但同時你會比現在高grade,意味著你的責任同工作量會比現在更加之多!

新人入Big 4要注意什麼?

新人入Big 4是要十分小心。正如其他大公司一樣,那裡有很多辦公室政治,有很多人都是十分自私的。有很多seniors喜歡有一大班「小朋友」跟班,排場十足。他們很喜歡留其他同事工作到很晚以顯得他們地位超然。有些因為就來有「機會」promote上manager,所以有一班人一齊工作得很夜而顯示自己十分勤力工作。新入職的會計新鮮人就要非常小心,得罪這些「小人」對你將來的前途有很大影響。對於自己工作完畢提不提前走就自己執生啦…其實為什麼要這樣小心呢? 原因很簡單,出job很多時都比較悶。悶的時候怎樣打法最好呢? 很自然就是講別人的是非。Seniors book人工作當然就希望找些工作態度好的同事,正常地就會問問其他人。所以新入職的會計新鮮人一做得唔好﹑工作態度差﹑所謂問一些愚蠢的問題﹑放工準時走,以至於著得比較性感﹑著的比較明貴等(就算這些並不一定是事實),都會一個傳一個,很快全個department都會知道。那麼會有什麼下場呢? 下場是這位「可憐」的小朋友就沒有人願意book,終日Idle沒有job出。你的下場可能是要在office做一些filing工作,做一些跑腿,或做一些沒有人願意工作的「難job」,好的工作自然沒有人會找你做。正所謂「好事不出門,醜事傳千里」,各位會計新鮮人切記小心!

考完試還要不斷update?

曾經有個朋友問我,會計不同IT,知識應該不用時常去update? 做IT的很多時一有一個新版本推出時就要從前學過,但會計應該不會有這一種情況? 我當時都不太好意思答佢原來會計都會時時轉,讀完考完都要不斷update。其實我真的不明白會計準則(Accounting Standards)有什麼必要年年都轉,每年都加些「花晨」改這些改那些。耍知道公司的年報最重要的是給users去比較今年同去年的差別。年年去改會計準則就失去了給users比較的價值! 一間公司原本是虧損的,但因為改了會計準則突然使佢轉虧為盈。當然並不是每個user都有專業知識去解讀這些密碼,如果沒有專家協助,年報對他們來說不但沒有意義,而且有誤導性的。筆者時常懷疑每年改會計準則的必要性。是否因為會計師公會收了人家會費所以每年要做這像樣的給人看呢? 這些就不得以知?

專業中的專業? 什麼是專業操守?

會計師是四師(醫師﹑律師﹑工程師﹑會計師)之一。究竟會計師是否如HKICPA所言是十分專業呢? 在我個人看,行內人不是十分看重什麼專業操守的。一間公司的財政報告是否如核數師報告所言「reasonable assurance as to whether the accounts are free from material misstatement.」呢? 是否能夠真實反映一間公司的財政狀況呢? 行內有一種術語叫做「放飛機」,就是說核數師沒有check原本應該要check的事,但在working paper說自己做了同check了。在人手不足同時間緊迫的底下,「放飛機」是十分普遍的。每一個人都想在OT了六七個鐘之後早些返屋企休息,樣樣都check不足當然返屋企無期,二來OT六七個鐘又沒有錢收,每一個人都希望快些完成工作。「放飛機」有大放有小放,有些就算看到有問題都會說沒有問題,用另外一個sample去replace。這就是audit! 這就是讀了三四年大學,考完會計師試同埋有三四年工作經驗的工作,試問讀了那麼多書為了什麼? 「放飛機」最終影響的都是不能真實反映一間公司的財政狀況。

會計工作的前景?

很多人都認為就算在Big 4的工作是這樣辛苦,在那裡工作捱了四五年之後出來一定平步青雲,但這些都是言之過早。雖然當你打開份報紙你會發現很多工都要Big 4’s experience,但當你去interview時他們就會懷疑你的工作能力。因為你在Big 4工作,他們認為你沒有足夠的commercial experience,你所懂的只是局限於一些關於核數的知識。真是他媽的,什麼都是他們講哂!

自然如果你在Big 4的Audit Department (Assurance)到工作,你所學到的知識是相當局限的。除了那些會計同核數知識之外,你對稅務的知識是十分有限的。為什麼呢? 最主要原因是在大公司工作,很多工作都分工很細。Audit department就只會做audit而不會做其他。雖然在核數過程中都會做一些關於taxation的,但這些都只是皮毛。筆者認為稅務的知識是十分重要。大多數朋友都只是對稅務的問題有興趣,例如點樣可以交少些稅,多過會問你關於會計的treatment。其實,很多時對於老闆來講,會計部是一個支援性的部門多過一個懂賺錢的部門。他們認為開源節流是會計天經地義的責任,但是當公司賺錢時會計部想有Bonus都沒有,一切功勞都屬於sales department。

所以一般在Big 4工作三四年的人,通常都會找一些關於internal audit的工,因為如果要去commercial工作,一般要接受很大的salary cut,所以很多都不大願意接受。除了去commercial同做internal audit,做完audit之後可以做什麼呢? 可不可以自己開CPA firm呢? 在香港總共有大約六萬個會計師(考完試同有三年的相關經驗),但只有大約三千個持有執業資格,為什麼呢? 原因很簡單,原因很簡單,就是自己開CPA firm是十分困難的。CPA firm面對的競爭非常大,細firm又驚大firm搶人,沒有人去工作,想接job都難。另外,CPA firm面對最大的問題是一些「不太正當」的會計諮詢或顧問公司,如著名的「Lx會計」。法例上規定只有執業會計師(CPA with Practice Certificate)可以從事核數工作,在公司報表簽名。但這些所謂的會計諮詢公司走一些法律灰色地帶幫客人提供會計、核數、報稅、公司秘書及成立有限公司的諮詢服務,然後找一些有執業資格簽核數師報告。在集團式經營和沒有監管的情形下,其他小型的CPA Firm都很難競爭的。到目前為止HKICPA都沒有什麼辦法去阻止這些會計諮詢或顧問公司。

後記

最後想講一講寫這遍文章的目的。對一些很想半途轉行的人如IT,很想說給你們聽這行的苦況,轉行前要三思。對於那些打算大學選修會計的同學,想他們知道不要儘信Big 4 Road showpromotion campaign。會計這行並不如HKICPAACCA在電視宣傳般那樣好景或專業。另外並不一定中五畢業出來都可以做到會計師。現實是現在有太多的會計師同埋有嚴重的underpaid! 工作時間長與工資名不副實。工作得不到普遍老闆的尊重,同時要面對很多上司的壓力。另外,在一些亂七八糟的大陸公司,會計師往往要面對很多風險。很可能有來自上司的壓力去做假賬,財務總監因做假賬而入獄時有所聞,所以大家在打算加入會計這行之前要三思同做多些research,瞭解多些這行才決定。

Alan, CPA 11.08.2006

Want to work in Big 4?

Do you want to work in Big 4? Do u think it is that easy to work there for 4-5 yrs? Do you want to know the reality inside? I had worked there for a long time. The life was totally miserable! You will not only lose all your friends and but also may have chance to lose your beloved one. You have to work days to nights from Monday to Saturday or even Sunday without much incentive. Managers are "A-shoulder",whereas partners don't care about you at all. They only will push you hard so as to finish the job on time but with limited staffs.

Are you planning to stay in China for 2-3 months? if you are such unlucky and have been assigned to work for an IPO, then you have to stay there for a long time. Don't think you can date beautiful girls there. Working in China is like living in hell. You have to wake up early every day at about 8:30am, then work until 10-12 or later, then go back to hotel and sleep and work again. Normally you have to work from Monday to Saturday of which the normal working days are from Monday to Friday. Don't think you are entitled to claim OT. Unless the manager-in-charge allows you to claim, you may be blamed by other people for asking such stupid but lawful compensation. They may think you are not working efficiently enough so have to claim OT! What a lie! Also if you are working as a junior, you may have to live in the sameroom with another senior. Congratulation! You may become his "Ar 4", and have to serve him even after finish your work late in the client's office. No doubt if you are going with a team that is familar and friendly to u, then life may not be that harsh as gossiping will kill time. But if you are so unlucky and have to work with people you really don't like, then working in PRC is like locking in a jail! You can learn and see a lot of stuffs in PRC, e.g. large factories, their operation processes, varieties kinds of industry. Other than broadening your horizon, those things won't help your career much unless you plan to work in PRC again for the rest of your life. PRC's accounting and auditing standards are inferior and totally different with those in Hong Kong. Most of the companies don't have internal control, so you have to do a lot of works to ensure that their financial statements are true and fair. It implies that you have to take lots of samples as the inherent risk is so high. Such kind of job is called "wok" job! No one wants to do it, and everyone tries their best to escape from it! Why? It is because there is something called "continuity". It means that once u are assigned to do a job in the first year, u may be asked to do the same job in next year. The reasoning behind is that u are familar with the nature and the process of that company, which imfers that u are able to work faster and more efficient! So if you are so "lucky" and get a "wok" job when u are still a junior, then God bless you! You will do the same job again next year! Worst still, by that time you are a grade higher than you were and the burden upon you will be much heavier!

Most people after finished working in Big 4 for 4-5 yrs, they will find it difficult to work as an accountant in commercial field. Employers often claim that they like people having Big 4's experience. But on the other hand, they also claim that people from Big 4 don't have enough commercial experience as what you know is only restricted to the extend about auditing! What a dilemma! As you are coming from the audit department of Big 4, you may not familar with taxation as it is performed by taxation department. You may have to learn something about taxation once more as your employers or even will often ask you about tax issues. In my view, Knowledge in taxation is very useful and important because people usually will want to know how much tax they can save, rather than those accounting treatments. Employers do not treat accounting as a productive department but a supporting department. It is your duty to well prepare the financial statements. It infers that it is beneficial to recognise profit earlier but defer expenses later by applying the accouting standards. However the accounting standards change every year, as HKICPA's technical department thinks it is more suitable to adopt different treatments to deal with changing business environment. I really think that it is not necessity to change treatments every year. I really feel doubt how many accountants will know the new treatment, especially those local firms which are not necessarily to deal with big clients. It gives me a feeling that HKICPA changes because they are being paid to be changed, but not because there is a need to change!

Overtime is a norm in auditing. You may argue that before you join the firm you have already known that you have to work so harsh as an auditor in Hong Kong. But what overtime I'm talking at this moment is an overtime for 7-8 hours per day! In peak season (usually between February and July, but it depends on how lucky you are), you may have to work from 8:30am or 9am to 2-3am. It is not a joke, it is real! Sometimes I really doubt whether it is such necessarily to work so late. We are human being not machine. Body simply will not function at all after working for such a long time. I'd even vomitted in washroom for so many times! Junior staffs may be scared of leaving the office early, even though they may not have much things to do. But some seniors want their teammates to stay late, as to show off or to tell their bosses that they are hard working in order to get a promotion for himself or herself. There are so many such selfish person in Big 4, especially those want to be promoted to manager. Promoting to senior is not that hard, as long as throughout the life in the firm you are not being disliked or blamed by other people. When you are working as a junior, you should be extremely careful! Once you have done something carelessly, recklessly or negligently, your "bad" reputation will be wide spread soon and your life there will be miserable! Your story will be spread to other seniors within a short period of time. People will not book you, and you may be idle most of the time. You may do some filings in the office or may be assigned to some jobs that no one wants to do!

Don't think auditing is something very professional! The opinion given in Auditor's Report is only a joke! The standard is to give "reasonable assurance as to whether the accounts are free from material misstatement." To be honest, such kind of statement has already protected the CPA firm from being sued of negligence. Do you think that the financial statements really truely reflect the company's financial position? I really feel doubt about it, especially you know how the auditors do their jobs. There is a jargon in auditing called "Flying airplane". It means that the auditor does not check every stuffs he is required to do. It is so common in auditing because time is limited and staffs are not enough. If people want to go home earlier, then they have to skip things that may not be important. But the implication of such skip may not underestaimated. Even though some problems have been found during the process of the finding, people simply will ignore it and replace it with a proper sample, so that they can leave the office and go home earlier.

Salary in Big 4 is more than those in local firms, no doubt workload will be heavier. However by comparing with hours that a person works, the salary is not so high at all! Most people quit in Big 4 after working 3-4 yrs. Usually tbey will find jobs as an internal auditors or they may sacrifice a salary cut when working in commercial field. In Hong Kong, there are about 60,000 qualified accountants but only 3,000 are holding practice certificates. Why? It is very hard to open a CPA firm because it is hard to survive under the fierce competition from firms like "LA Accounting". Theoretically such kind of firm is not a regular CPA firm, but they are doing accounting works. In law only a CPA who has a practise certificate can sign and express opinion on financial statements. However it is not required by law that the auditing work should be done by CPAs and can be performed by others so long as the Auditor's Report will be signed by a CPA. Thus, such "accounting" firms make use of this loophole doing audit work, helping clients to fill in tax return but at the end just ask a CPA with practise certicate to sign the report for them. They make huge bucks of money! Still now HKICPA hasn't done much to stop such kind of activities.

At last, don't be cheated or misled by the promotional campaign from Big 4. The accounting industry is not as prosperous as they talk. There are too many accountants, and mostly they are under paid! Their workloads are too much. Also they have to fact a lot of risks and pressure from management. People may be forced to make fake accounting records or else they will be fired. Remember these are criminal, and would be jailed! So please think twice before joining the accounting industry!