Monday, 27 August 2007

Imminent extinction

On any given day, the most read piece of news in TheStar will usually sound something like “Girl abducted and raped”… “Woman raped while jogging”… “Teen held over the rape of under-age girl”… “Mat Rempit wild sex party”. Agree?

But no… not for today. The modern slaves from the accounting sector took centre stage today. And I must say, it’s a pretty good piece of news. It is something which is becoming increasingly prevalent, particularly in the last few years and from what I heard, those big bosses from the Big 4 accounting firms actually held a closed door meeting together (mind you, they are rivals) to discuss integrated measures to protect their territory.

For years, such accounting firms in Malaysia, by taking leverage on their “reputation”, have lured countless souls into giving up their most valuable part of their lives to pursue a dream that often ends up in nightmares. These souls are often given a take-it-or-leave-it offer and strange enough, most of them (including me), will willingly sign on the most deceiving document of all. True, some of us managed to live our dreams, but not without much sacrifices, some of which may be too great a price to pay.

Having being brain-washed into believing that being in such glamorous accounting firms are the try and tested way to success, all these souls, who are now officially slaves are often led to believe that they must work their ass off for a puny salary purely because they cannot gain the supposedly valuable experience somewhere else.

Fortunately for the slaves… and unfortunately for the local accounting firms, the fact that the world is getting flatter and people are getting more and more mobile means modern slaves in the accounting world can now ply their slave-hood somewhere else… in countries that will pay more and in some countries… less work too!
On the average, a senior consultant, or whatever glamour name which these firms give will someone who has been a slave for 3 – 4 years will earn between RM3,000 to RM4,500 per month in Malaysia, if you perform. Mind you, this is the salary range of the so called BIG 4 accounting firms. Maybe it’s quite a good pay to you but if you have to work an average of 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, it can kill.

The same senior consultant can leave and work in China for the exact same pay… the only difference… the currency is US$, why not? Even if the hours are the same, why not? And if one moves to the UK or Australia (which is the current trend), working hours are reduced significantly.

It’s interesting to note this part…
Reading that, I can't help but think that accountants in Malaysia are the lowest paid slaves in the region, taking into consideration the amount of work put in. But you know what’s worse? All these big firms will keep telling us that we are highly paid.

Well… continue with such attitude, the extinction will just come faster that you can possibly imagine.

58 comments:

sooi2 said...

so when r u going to china?

p/s>1111111111oneoneonesatusatu!!!

FriendfromTaiwan said...

You already know my feelings on the accounting firms in Malaysia, You took the words straight out of my mouth..nothing left to be said... clap clap

Helen said...

Who says justice is dead? lol

This is the best time to hit back at those big firms.. in all fields. Not only in accounting line, all lines. Suck it up for a short time, work for the big guns, and then leave for greener pastures with their nice name on your CV.

Talking about working long hours, I do understand many do not have a choice. The project which my hubby is working on, sees some staffs working till 11pm every night. As my hubby is just working on contract basis, he leaves at 7pm. Hubby told me back in his early days, he would have done the same. After working out his priority in life, he's glad he got it right. No more late nights.. if he can help it. :-)

penang-kia said...

Very good news indeed.Its time to look forward,my friend.Grass..?
"A ship is safe in harbour,but that's not what ships are for"

Sunflower said...

I've always felt for my friends in this line. The minute they say "accounting" or "audit" you KNOW they work killer hours and often weekends as well. *shudders*

Like you say, some sacrifices might prove too great in the end. If you enjoy the job, that's one thing, but if not, then having to work these kind of hours is really pure torture.

angel said...

When I read this in the papers today, right away I thot of you haha...

Oi, tunggu apa lagi?? Cepat lompat! I mean, lompat ke rumput yang lebih hijau laaa... :p

Doulos said...

Very sad reality for the accountants in Malaysia. Big firms will always want to exploit people. It is a vicious cycle. Even if many leave, there are some people who would fill up the jobs. Now it is a point whereby the demand is above the supply. That said, many of my friends still think that the big bucks is in accounting and go on to study it, behind their mind thinking of great glory.
The hours you are going through and the work that you have is terrible. Modern slavery is worse than the slavery of the old. More subtle, overwhelming and domineering.

Twisted Heels said...

Great insight into the accounting world! But it's the same in all fields. In my area, everyone wants to be a locum to earn big bucks, flexible hours and no commitment.

littlepolaris said...

zewt got offered to work there kah?
good option wor, can consider afterall malaysia damn kedekut. See doctor salary same like school teacher, rm3000 nia >_<. might as well all bcom teacher. buy house, buy car got discount and then got so many holidays.

Taka said...

It is not all rosy working for accounting firms in China. I have met some of them who didn't like it there and left.

I don't think people working in audit firms are lowly paid and I don't foresee the salaries of accountants to increase drastically in the coming years. It is a demand and supply issue. Right now and in the future, there are still many who want to work in Big 4.

People stay in audit firms because some of them are hoping to make it partnership level, which is a rewarding position.

tingtitlei said...

all that i can say is .. CAMELTOES! .. jk! haha

all that i can say is i dont understand a single shit about it but i really pity my friends who are squeezing their own balls everyday to do their acc homeworks at home.

imma be a lawyahh wahaha

ehon said...

kekekeke. the extinction on accountants in malaysia. :P

Hor ny Ang Moh said...

Oh Ah Zewt! My salary is less then half of yours & if u r no happy then it is not surprise that I have porridge as food! Oh I also work for about 16 hrs a days including 2 hrs of pokeing activities! So what is ur decision? Have a nice day!

H.C. Tan said...

hmmm macamlah engineers very highly paid. aihsssss =P

Sharina said...

Now I don't know whether I should sell my soul to the big 4..

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

ur salary range abit outdated lar..after 2 yrs in tax u r already looking at an eye popping 3100-3300..and if u slave hard enough..with another promotion and a qualifed pay..ur looking at nearing 5.5 to 6k..

but i get ur point..pay still sux..

Huei said...

i'm not surprised..i would run away too!! i wana go some other places!!!!

er ok not sg..fine i'm stuck here in msia

haih

Annie said...

Does it really all have to be about money? I'm sure we can all be happy working at McDonald's. No?

Here in the USA, you can't expect to get a raise in salary every year that's significant. The only way is to keep moving to different companies. Work at Company A for 3 years, then move and work for Company B for 5 years, salary keeps going up. Downside is, nobody gets a pension anymore - so our retirement "package" is non existent. When we all get to be 67 years old, we'll all have to work at McDonald's anyway.

Elizebeth D.L. said...

Not only in Accounting fields lah. Other fields pay in Malaysia also very very low!

Sunshine said...

well.. my first pay check is only RM1300 kesian right? although i earn way much more than what i used to, i actually have more savings then, than today :P

hcfoo said...

Well, i have some frens who were in the big 4 accounting firms and had to work their asses off for minimal salary. But once they got enough experience, they left and do run their own businesses. Well, provided family is rich enough to provide the capital for business startup.

Cirnelle said...

Err... you sure or not grass is greener over that side? That homeless guy isn't Malaysian woh...

sharlydia said...

I guess the choice is yours...Being an accountant need not necessarily work in the big 4 accounting firms i feel...1 of my accountant friend who works in the AP Accounting Center of a MNC, earns big money! But same lar, have to work dem long hours & sometimes weekend too...

conan_cat said...

ooo, i like the last part, that slaves in malaysia are lowest paid that we go to the second lowest paid country to fill in their gap. well it's part of the company's sales strategy to tell workers that they are highly paid so that they can get more slaves wert... brainwash brainwash, there are still many people in the country that loved malaysia so much that don't want to go to another country because well, too many commitments here already, no?

and when are you going to go china too eh?? hehe

dreamie said...

congratulations, you got added value now ...

Princess Eileen said...

Not only for accounting field..... Malaysia have one of the lowest pay in APAC, but most young ppl who come out and work can afford to buy house & car. Impressive right?

me said...

lowest paid must take into account the living standard, the comparison with the salary level of other similar slaves, extra benefits received...blablabla. our chai loh also get very low pay mah, esp taking into acc the overtime they put in when they carry out those 'private' speedtrap exercises...weekends oso must go under the hot sun! poor thing...all for a cup of coffee only mah.

haiyah, fellow accountants oso can offer to 'balance' the books in exhange for a condo or two mahhhhh.... :-p i'm unscrupulous.

Seaqueen said...

Sigh. Who cares about the big 4 here? These people will never learn their lesson. There'll still be suckers out there who still get cheated in joining the big 4 so they won't run out of people to be slaves to them.

PurpLe~MuShRooM said...

Agree! Accountants in malaysia are the lowest paid (rate per hour) modern slaves in the world!!!

Zaty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zaty said...

ouch. i've heard local accountants were pretty badly treated, but didnt know we're among the worst? =P

Anonymous said...

Just to add salt to injury, do you know countries like Cambodia and Vietnam receives their fees in USD and these fees are a lot. People there actually work less hours and they lead ok lives.

Here, the accounting firms earn ringgit (ever shrinking due to competition) and pays peanuts to fools (which was what I once was) to do the ever increasing dirty work.

Let's hope death comes swiftly so as the lesson learnt will etch deeply in the minds of those who forgotten that their employees are also human beings.

Taka said...

"ur salary range abit outdated lar..after 2 yrs in tax u r already looking at an eye popping 3100-3300..and if u slave hard enough..with another promotion and a qualifed pay..ur looking at nearing 5.5 to 6k.."

I think Zewt's estimates of RM3000-4500 for a senior (3-4 years experience) in tax/audit is probably accurate. I have many friends who work in Big 4. They confirmed that. You can also refer the Jobsdb's survey of Malaysian salaries. Account manager with 5-8 years experience will earn Rm4000-RM6,500.

http://www.jobsdb.com/MY/EN/V6HTML/Home/jdb-salary-report-2006.pdf

Btw, I think accountants are not "underpaid". Salary is not everything.

alan zed said...

in my industry, all profesionals went to the gulf. USD mah. hehe.

narrowband said...

LOL, I can't say I didn't expect this from coming (You're in this field, man). I actually read this piece of news with great interest that morning.

It's terrible to note that our accountants are the lowest-paid. So Zewt, what do you think can increase the salary bracket of accountants in Malaysia?

spookygrace said...

"our accountants end up going to Singapore", at least get a higher pay than here....and more enjoyable..
Malaysia's standard of living.. sigh...

RM-->S$

zewt said...

sooi2 - what's with the 11111 one one one satu satu? china... been and back lor :P

friendfromtaiwan - hahaha... we are always on the same page for this arent we?

Helen - yeah, but it's human evolution. things have changed... and those ppl sitting up there should also change their mentality already.

penang-kia - hahaha... so deep eh... so so deep... but i like it.

Sunflower - i have only seen a handful who actually like their job. as for the majority... it's always the i-have-no-choice situation.

angel - hahahahaha... zewt and modern slavery goes hand in hand eh?

rinnah said...

If I can get RM3.5 - 4K a month I will be happy...

zewt said...

Doulos - it's worse cos the slaves volunteer ourselves into it... thus giving the masters more room to exploit... more power to discriminate.

twisted heel - locum?

littlepolaris - hahahaha... well, due to certain commitment, i cant leave the country yet. but trust me, it may just be in the pipeline.

Taka - hi! yeah... the salary range has been increasing a lot in the last few years due to a drastic drop in supply. yeah, partnership is in the mind of those who stay behind. and that is a trap which enslave them.

tingtitlei - lawyer? hahahaha... can be worse man!

ehon - we are a dying breed! hehe...

HC Tan - ahhh... have to say... we are all in the same boat.

zewt said...

Sharina - it all depends on what u want in life.

constant craver joe - i say on the average... u must take into consideration all the magic schools... not just yours you know. and tell me... how many can actually achieve the pay you mentioned. even if they did... i think they work 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Huei - haha... sg not that bad la.

Annie - it's all about the money here becos without money, life can be tough. the govt is not that kind enough to provide you with a non-employment pay. plus... if you dont have enough... you carry a stigma in the society.

Elizebeth DL - yeah... generally, we're screwed left right and centre.

Sunshine - ahhh.. just like what i blogged about earlier. wonder if you read that.

hc foo - taht's why, how many can actually go out and run their own things. besides, when they actually do that, is it becos they were fed up? or what?

zewt said...

cirnelle - hahaha... i guess as long as you're on that type of grass... it's all shitty eh?

sharlydia - well, you have to start in an accounting firm though. and there you go... work like a dog. overseas... much better ler.

conan_cat - i just came back from a brainwash camp... sigh. china... been there and came back. i have got another plan.

dreamie - hahaha... and looks like the value is going to increase and increase.

princess eileen - yeah... and those are the reasons why they are stuck in the slavery world... stupidity.

me - now i know why u work from home.

seaqueen - yeah... too damn true. but one thing though... those ppl going in... the quality is depreciating... hahaha... no offence to those who are getting in.

zewt said...

purple mushroom - yup... that is very true. hourly wise... it's cheap labour!

Zaty - you have not heard anything yet.

anon @ 6.43pm - well, i heard their salary is very low too... BUT.. BUT... they can live a very comfortably life bcos the standard living is low. here... those so called accountants in a big 4 cannot afford posh lunches much.

Taka again - sorry... didnt see your comment again. well... i was refering to average. there are a few exceptional case... but it's not common. havin said that... things might change soon. they are losing staff like nobody's business.

alan zed - why dont u go then? you have my support hehe...

narrowband - easy... more accountants to leave... thus... those who stay behind will have more bargaining power.

spookygrace - yeah... you get the same pay... but in SGD... and things are cheaper dollar to dollar.

Rinnah - hahaha... i used to think that. now that i have breached it... i have different thoughts. it's never enough.

MeLiSsA said...

well its really saddening to read the stories of how this people work to death for a mere few thousands (and its not even close to 5 figures)..but I can't believe the big4 pays their employees crap for all the work they out in. life is really not fair man.

but hey, there's only one thing that can come out of this. they know of the reality and surely they'll put their thinking caps on to curb the shortage. hope it works out for you.

Alvin said...

i think as long as u stay in the audit firm, u will always be a cheap labor. get ur ACCA cert ready and go for commercial. u will hv higher pay, lesser work...i think. :P

Manal said...

Major slave-drivers them big 4 if thats the reality. What a shame. But they are multinational companies with massive turnovers and net profits, how did they escape not paying their "juru kira-kira" competitive salary rates? What about our local banks, cekik darah jugak ke? and anybody knows whatsit like in BNM?

But its true that moving from one place to another earns u good salary hike. Current "global" trend as what is happening in the UK too is to head to Dubai/doha/abu dhabi/bahrain/saudi arabia for some good pot of gold figuratively speaking.

PS: Those rapes, rempits, etc, is that all these local papers need to make a decent daily circulation?

Twisted Heels said...

Locum pharmacists, Zewt.

team bsg said...

u r probably right , under our shrinking economic pie vis a vis the world ( esp Vietnam, thailand , Indonesia, China etc ) due to corruption and resources abd $$$$$$$ squandering by ( my god ) top down across the board people in perceived power, pretty soon many will have no jobs and we are not talking about accountants only !

Angie Tan said...

wahahaahhaa....

i'm not surprised. my friend was "wooed" by two big 4 rivals from kiasu-land.

however, she didn't want to go yet as she wanted to enjoy a bit of slavery in m'sia first.

eventually, the slaves will move around. we move where the $$$ goes. ;-)

Huei said...

still dun like sg..kiasu!! though msians r not much different! >.<

oh well..the grass can never be green enough huh?

zewt said...

MeLisSa - well... i hear more stories today... happened in malaysia last july. will certainly blog about it next week.

Alvin - not entirely true. i am looking at a living testimony everyday when i look at the mirror.

Manal - do u know why these firms are so big? 2 strategies.... increase revenue... reduce cost... those rapes and rempits... their stories are in favour... all the time.

twisted heel - ah, thanks for the enlightenment.

team bsg - i dont deny that... it's scary to look ahead sometimes.

Angie Tan - haha... i heard kiasuland can be quite bad. better think properly.

Huei - got... to me... HK is very green.

hikazew® said...

hello zewt,

i wish to say that not only accountants but engineers too.

and i am on the verge of quitting my stable income... getting vacation work visa and travelling around the world.. europe, usa, canada.. hmm.. now still young no commitment not married can lah..

who knows if i met someone nice along my travels...

so wish me luck in applying those visa..

:)

i wish u luck la and hopefully ur bonus get big big this end of the year.

Cheers, mate!

Jonny said...

wah, I tak larat to read all your comments la. Wish you luck though! ;)

zewt said...

hikazew - hey... if you're still single and all... you should do it. dont wait until age catches up... as for me, those times are over. not becos i am old but i am getting married. i support u... go ahead and do it.

jonny - hahaha... some comments a big long eh? thanks.

kyliemc said...

haha..now i knoe y my frens r planning 2 take up job offers in china after their 3yrs' working experience.they r paid in USD too...hehe...now i regret tht me didnt pay attention when my mum sent me 4 mandarin classes when i was young..haha...quited halfway summore

water_angel said...

As i understand it, you don't even get paid for overtime, and being in this industry, you use up alot of your personal time, right?

zewt said...

kyliemc - hahahah... dont worry. you can always try HK or Aussie or UK... equally good pay and you dont need mandarin.

water_angel - yes and no. some firms do pay overtime in the form of time-off, i.e. leave. 1 hour of OT = 1 hour of additional annual leave. but it also depends on budget and chargeability. maybe i will blog about that later. it's not as simple as it seems.

international jobs said...

Everyone is expecting recession getting over soon. I have a very close friend, who graduated from Harvard. Worked for ML for over 8 years, recently he’s been “right sized” too, despite of his outstanding performance and the increasing revenue he generated. OMG, now the banking industry is badly hurt, how long it would take for those financial background guys like him get back to the job market. Banking jobs are not there as much as before as easily seen on http://www.joboutlets.com and other job sites in the region

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