Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
January 29, 2023

Firms Were Absolutely Savage Toward Staff During the Great Depression

Sid Kess was into accounting before it was cool. At least that’s what we can glean from his article in The CPA Journal the other day. In it, the Journal editorial board member explains his first exposure to accounting was observing his accountant dad, who’d lost his bank controller job in the winter of 1931 when his employer failed (thanks, Great Depression!).

He writes:

In those days, the world of accounting was very different. During the tax season, firms often functioned as sweatshops that would exploit employees during the busy season, getting people to work 75-hour workweeks with the promise that they would get significant bonuses for this overtime once the busy season ended. Once the tax season was over, employers then used all kinds of formulas to give unfair amounts to employees who had worked so hard when the firms were busy. When employees realized that they would not receive the compensation promised, they often became enraged and would start to look for new jobs. But during the off-season, there was little work available, and so people were left unemployed, often for months on end. When the busy season approached the next November, firms would start hiring again. Employers would look at resumes and question why employees had left their positions, implying that they were to blame. Nobody acknowledged the exploitation that was taking place.

Glad to see we’ve made such progress in 70 short years.

Latest Accounting Jobs--Apply Now:

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.


Comments are closed.

Related articles

laptop and calculator on a couch to signify remote work

Research: Working From Home Frees Up Two Hours a Week, Time Many People Spend Doing Work

The anti-WFH, pro-RTO propaganda has chilled out a bit in recent months as boomer and boomer-adjacent Gen X CEOs wait out the next big recession but even those pinstriped menaces in the C-suite who think all remote work is the domain of the lazy can appreciate this info we are about to share with you. […]

a plate of waffles and pancakes

The Dumbest Thing You’ve Read Since ‘Women’s Brains Absorb Information Like Pancakes Soak Up Syrup’

It’s been three and a half years since we first found out about the sexist seminar in which women in leadership positions at EY were told that women’s brains are like pancakes and soak up information like syrup. The exact quote from that training to refresh your memory: Women’s brains absorb information like pancakes soak […]