Overtime Pay for Staff Accountants
I read with interest the article regarding overtime pay for staff accountants (The CPA Journal, December 2015, pp. 52–56). My observation is that if there is a place for overtime for accountants for performing “mechanical” services, then it is a special and rare case. For one, staff accountants do not all perform the same type of activities. For example, a litigation support staff accountant is trained in different ways than staff accountants who perform tax preparation services. So which accounting services do the lawsuits mentioned in the article refer to?
I believe that in virtually all cases, if there is no critical or creative analysis, then mechanical calculations are done by computer software, not by people. Doing anything else will likely fail as a business method. In addition, most of those analyses require judgment calls that only trained accountants—regardless of their level—can perform.
From my experience in forensic accounting, audit, and tax, creative and critical analysis are both learned and practiced to an extent that raises the level of the skill above that of “mechanical work.”