Art of Accounting: Employees Have Better Memories than Bosses

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IMGCAP(1)]I was lucky to get my second job in accounting, but I received a salary that was $5 lower than my first job (which I had been fired from), so I took the job.

I asked for $90 a week. My boss said he would give me the extra $10 in six months after seeing how I worked out, so my starting salary was $80 per week. Also, he said I did not have to work any overtime. If I did, they would pay me at straight time rates, but there was no overtime.

Well, six months came and went, and I did not get the promised raise. It took me a few weeks to work up the nerve to ask why I didn’t get it. My boss said he didn’t remember what he had said, but that he believed me and would give me the raise the first of next month. My salary was now $90 a week!

When I walked out of his office, I made up my mind that I would quit when it was time to get my next raise. And I did. I wasn’t going to subject myself to this agony, and shortchanging, again.
Six months afterwards, I got my third job. I was still a junior accountant since this was a larger firm, and they did not value my experience too well, but I got the raise I wanted—I was now making $100 a week.

I also resolved that when I became a boss, I would remember any promises I made to employees about their raises.

It seemed stupid to me to lose good staff over missed promises, or a few dollars.

Edward Mendlowitz, CPA, is a partner in WithumSmith+Brown, PC, CPAs. He has authored 20 books and has written hundreds of articles for business and professional journals and newsletters plus a Tax Loophole article for every issue of TaxHotline for 27 years. Ed also writes a blog twice a week that addresses issues his clients have at He is the winner of the Lawler Award for the best article published during 2001 in the Journal of Accountancy. He has also taught in the MBA graduate program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Tax Court. Ed welcomes practice management questions and he can be reached at WithumSmith+Brown, One Spring Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, (732) 964-9329,

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