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Jobs You Wish You Had: The New Orleans Court Accountant Who Made $661,000 Last Year

That’s not a typo, people, this guy made $661,000 in 2010 for services rendered to the New Orleans traffic court.

Vandale Thomas, a personal friend of Judge Robert Jones, billed the traffic court over $660,000 in 2010 for entire chunks of hours with zero description of what those hours entail. “There’s just aggregations of hours. Forty-five hours for this, 45 hours for that. And that’s it. On that basis, we paid, the courts paid $661,000 to this guy. We’ll be talking to people to try to make sure where the money went and what it was for,” New Orleans inspector general Ed Quatrevaux told local WWLTV.

On top of his billable hours, Thomas also was handed $100,000 from traffic court with no mention of what the fee was for in court records.

Well, let’s do the math (keeping in mind while we do it that I am anything but a mathlete). If Thomas billed $40 per hour (pulling that number out of my ass, much like Thomas likely pulled his hours), he’d have to work a little over 317 hours a week to validate a $660,000 salary for the year. The problem with that, of course, is that there are only 168 hours in a week. According to documents obtained by WWLTV, Thomas is billing $80 an hour, therefore by that math, he’d have to work 20 hour days every single day of the week for every week of the year to earn the $661,000 he billed.

Judge Jones, when confronted with the dollar amount of Thomas’ services, expressed shock, telling WWLTV he then called in Thomas and told him “unless you have an army of accountants working for you around the clock, this is humanly impossible.” Jones went on to say he supports an investigation of Thomas, but doesn’t think it will show any criminal wrongdoing.

I know armies of accountants and they don’t make that kind of money.

Will Years Out of the Game Negate the Big 4 Boomerang Effect?

Ed. note: Have a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at [email protected].

Here’s an issue I rarely see. I joined PwC management consulting right out of my Ivy League school, and have my undergrad degree in Economics. I loved it, worked hard, made manager in five years and worked for some huge clients. I did all of the extras, methodology writing, promotion committees, coaching, proposals, etc. Managed some huge high profile projects too. Was offered a slot at PwC’s new executive MBA program, and was in the alpha class, graduating with a concentration in Marketing (picked by the firm). But then we had huge post 9/11 layoffs, were spun off and bought by IBM. I left soon after to start a family. I was there nearly ten years.

I went back to school and got my MSAT, and now am halfway through my CPA exam, acing it thanks to my teaching and experience. I’ve been teaching accounting and tax at a major university for the past four years as an adjunct, and doing a little private consulting.

Can I get back in to Big 4? Do I do it as an experienced hire? I know I’ve never been a practicing auditor but I know the methodology and how to manage large engagements. What’s the best way for me to work my way back in? My former colleagues are all at IBM or have left. I am not eligible for on campus since I graduated with my latest masters in 2009.

DISCLAIMER: not every circumstance in the history of circumstances has been taken into consideration when making this statement:

Public accounting – you can always come back.

The flow of people out of public accounting is much more intense and consistent than the experienced hire onboards, but that’s not to say it’s impossible. I did a little searching on LinkedIn and realized that you live in the greater New York City area, which is to your advantage. Many of the Big 4’s support staffs are located in NYC, so there might be options in those areas of the firms if a return to client servicing is not possible. so your odds of finding an opportunity and a new home with one of the Big4 improve slightly. Start with searching their Experienced Hire websites for open opportunities. Links are below:





Scour LinkedIn for experienced hire recruiters within each firm and reach out to them directly; have them hear your story. Most importantly, be persistent. The experienced hiring model within the Big 4 is can be touch and go, especially considering the recent uncertainty in the economy.