Can a Future Big 4 Associate Expect a Salary Adjustment When He Starts Work?

Welcome to the aren’t-you-glad-healthcare-reform-is-back-in-the-news? edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, should an incoming associate expect a salary adjustment on day one or they doomed to a pittance?

Find yourself in a jam at work? Do you have eight hours to spare and aren’t sure how to best spend this rare free time? Wondering what you should get Sharon Allen for a retirement gift? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll make sure you stay away from vacuum cleaners.

Returning to our Big 4 in waiting:

Can I expect to have my salary adjusted to market when I start employment? I will be starting in 2011. Reading through some of the articles and comments on here, it seems that new hires easily start with a salary above $50K. I received three offers from three Big 4 firms but all offered salaries were relatively far from $50K.

Each firm was within 1K-1.5K range from each other though. I know that starting salaries have even decreased in my area overall. I am not enjoying the thought of making less than what these firms have proven to have the potential to offer, or even making less than what another firm had to offer (although I knew that was the outcome by choosing this firm). I personally do not think it is worth asking for a raise or a salary adjustment since I feel that would only hurt my future annual raises. Should I just wait it out and see?

[Doubled over, catching breath, holding up hand with ‘I need a minute’]

Oh, dear. We had to take a break for a second, in fact our face hurts from laughing uncontrollably. Sorry about that.

Look friend, we don’t mean to make light of your question but a reality check is necessary here. There is virtually no chance that your firm will adjust to your salary when you start. You write, “I am not enjoying the thought of making less than what these firms have proven to have the potential to offer, or even making less than what another firm had to offer (although I knew that was the outcome by choosing this firm).”

We find this confusing for a couple of reasons – 1) obviously the Big 4 have “proven to have the potential” to pay more than $50k. It just happens this is occurring in a place where you don’t currently reside. If you did reside in one these places, your starting salary would eclipse the magical $50k. Were you expecting a big city salary for your mid-sized city lifestyle? 2) if you don’t like the idea of earning less money, why did you go with the firm that offered you less money? This simply doesn’t compute.

If making $50,000 is such a sticking point for you, move to a city with a higher cost of living so that you can eclipse the magic number you so desperately desire. If that’s not reasonable, then the best you can hope for is a pleasant surprise like PwC gave its recently hired peeps ($500 bonus for those hired post-June 30, 2010).

This may sound crazy but don’t get too caught up in what your salary is at the beginning of your career. So, to answer your question – sit tight and start your career. It’s a little early to be bitching about being underpaid when you haven’t billed a single hour.

Welcome to the aren’t-you-glad-healthcare-reform-is-back-in-the-news? edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, should an incoming associate expect a salary adjustment on day one or they doomed to a pittance?

Find yourself in a jam at work? Do you have eight hours to spare and aren’t sure how to best spend this rare free time? Wondering what you should get Sharon Allen for a retirement gift? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll make sure you stay away from vacuum cleaners.

Returning to our Big 4 in waiting:

Can I expect to have my salary adjusted to market when I start employment? I will be starting in 2011. Reading through some of the articles and comments on here, it seems that new hires easily start with a salary above $50K. I received three offers from three Big 4 firms but all offered salaries were relatively far from $50K.

Each firm was within 1K-1.5K range from each other though. I know that starting salaries have even decreased in my area overall. I am not enjoying the thought of making less than what these firms have proven to have the potential to offer, or even making less than what another firm had to offer (although I knew that was the outcome by choosing this firm). I personally do not think it is worth asking for a raise or a salary adjustment since I feel that would only hurt my future annual raises. Should I just wait it out and see?

[Doubled over, catching breath, holding up hand with ‘I need a minute’]

Oh, dear. We had to take a break for a second, in fact our face hurts from laughing uncontrollably. Sorry about that.

Look friend, we don’t mean to make light of your question but a reality check is necessary here. There is virtually no chance that your firm will adjust to your salary when you start. You write, “I am not enjoying the thought of making less than what these firms have proven to have the potential to offer, or even making less than what another firm had to offer (although I knew that was the outcome by choosing this firm).”

We find this confusing for a couple of reasons – 1) obviously the Big 4 have “proven to have the potential” to pay more than $50k. It just happens this is occurring in a place where you don’t currently reside. If you did reside in one these places, your starting salary would eclipse the magical $50k. Were you expecting a big city salary for your mid-sized city lifestyle? 2) if you don’t like the idea of earning less money, why did you go with the firm that offered you less money? This simply doesn’t compute.

If making $50,000 is such a sticking point for you, move to a city with a higher cost of living so that you can eclipse the magic number you so desperately desire. If that’s not reasonable, then the best you can hope for is a pleasant surprise like PwC gave its recently hired peeps ($500 bonus for those hired post-June 30, 2010).

This may sound crazy but don’t get too caught up in what your salary is at the beginning of your career. So, to answer your question – sit tight and start your career. It’s a little early to be bitching about being underpaid when you haven’t billed a single hour.

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