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Accounting News Roundup: Non-competes and Marijuana Accounting Jobs | 07.17.17

accounting news non-competes


This New York Times story reports on Idaho’s unusual place within a major labor issue: The Gem State is more accommodating to non-compete agreements, making it easier for businesses to sue employees who leave for a competitor.

Non-competes have always struck me as a strange tactic; in a way, it’s a business’s way of admitting that you’re unlikely to work there forever, so the non-compete is the punishment individuals for being disloyal. The other side of the argument is that non-competes can also protect a company’s legitimate business interests. For certain employees, this may make sense, but the vast majority of workers don’t possess all of a company’s proprietary information and have the right to seek an employment based on their skills and expertise.

Of course, there’s another proactive way to discourage employees from leaving for a competitor — treat them better! The article offers this example, featuring TSheets, a fast-growing Boise startup and a small competitor:

Two years ago, TSheets hired a pair of engineers from a smaller software company called Zenware. Jody Sedrick, Zenware’s chief executive, was hurt and disappointed. He contacted a lawyer to see if it was possible to prevent his employees from leaving for a rival, but instead of spending money on legal costs, he decided to try something else: He gave each of his remaining employees a raise.

“I said, ‘You know what, we’re going to double down internally,’” he said in a recent interview.

The result for the Idaho economy was that TSheets hired two people — but in doing so got 12 other people a raise. Had Mr. Sedrick decided to sue his two departing employees, something Idaho’s new law made easier, those raises might never have happened.

As usual, people aren’t complicated. Give them a good reason to continue working for you, and they probably will.


Over the weekend here in Denver, there was a job fair for those interested in working in the cannabis industry, and, yes, many employers are looking for accountants. A recruiter says that many companies here are looking to “promote from within” so in a few short years, you could conceivably become a marijuana accounting expert. Just so long as Jeff Sessions doesn’t come around.

Previously, on Going Concern…

I wrote about biting co-workers. In Open Items, someone’s asking about Tax Performance Advisory at EY or its equivalent group at other firms.

In other news:

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Image: iStock/nicescene