Stop the unhealthy work culture in the audit industry - a sickening and saddening truth

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On 3rd October 2018, an auditor from KPMG passed away from a fatal accident at 2AM in the morning while travelling back home. 

He was working late because "it's the culture in audit department that no one should leave the office before works are completed and before your senior (from the highest hierarchy to the lowest) leave accordingly." 

I am here to speak out and to speak the truth. We, auditors, are afraid to speak out especially in this industry where the financial world is very small. If we were to speak out publicly, we will definitely be penalized directly or indirectly by our firms and other audit firms/corporate companies will know and not hire us because of that. This is the sad truth that we refuse to acknowledge.

Xinyi Hoo's post described the truth, we are afraid to leave early because we might be viewed negatively by seniors or managers. We have to work overtime most of the time in a year, rushing deadlines after deadlines, peak after peak. I have personally work 2 months in a row without a single day off including weekends and PH and work till midnight for every single weekdays. And when we managed to take leave, managers will sometimes still whatapps us or call us for some so called 'urgent' things. We can never rest peacefully. This is why there is such a high turnover rate in audit industry. The industry expect you to work like a factory machine, a money making tool. Sometimes we leave office at 6am in the morning. Sometimes we don't even get overtime pay or time off in lieu. Sometimes our leave don't even get approve. 

Other than that, on the mental aspect, auditors are always working in a highly stressed environment. I have a friend that was diagnosed with depression and anxiety after a year from joining big 4 due to the overwhelming stress from work. She has been coping with daily prescribed medication and consultation with psychiatrist. Till now, she still has not fully recovered and is still relying on medication. It will be too late if we were to take action if an auditor commit suicides due to overwork or occupational stress.

Enough is enough. We do not want to see another life lost due to fatigue, stress, mental illness, overworked or whatever reason.

To all auditors, please take good care of your health, no matter if you are old or young, remember to take a break, whenever you can.

Change starts from us as individual auditors, no matter you are from the big 4 (KPMG, EY, Deloitte, PwC), or the other firms BDO, Baker Tilly, Grant Thornton etc, no matter you are associate, seniors, managers or even partners. Let's end this unhealthy culture together.

Rest in peace, Lim Siew Pin.

Sincerely,

An auditor

You may sign the petition anonymously, example, Senior Associate from Deloitte

o  Adam Chan's facebook post

 https://www.facebook.com/adamchansy/posts/10156562392663418

o  Xin Yi's facebook post

https://www.facebook.com/xinyi.hoo/posts/10156096419899737

o  Articles

https://says.com/my/news/friends-of-overworked-auditor-who-died-are-calling-out-unhealthy-working-culture

https://www.worldofbuzz.com/msian-writes-heartfelt-post-to-friend-who-passed-away-from-overworking/