December 12, 2018

Salaries

Comp Watch ’12: CFOs

As many of you continue striving towards your career goals to occupy the CFO chair, we thought you might like to know a little information on how well that dream job pays. According to a recent Grant Thornton/Financial Executives Research Foundation survey, public company CFOs saw their average base salaries climb from to $286,500 to from […]

Comp Watch ’12: Big 4 Advisory

We have a special request from someone preparing for sit-downs at Ernst & Young: Any chance of an open thread for Big 4 Advisory compensation? Year end performance roundtables are going on at Black & Yellow; would be nice to get some ammo for negotiating before they make the comp decision. Earlier: Comp Watch '12: At Least […]

Comp Watch ’12: At Least One Ernst & Young Partner Is Throwing Numbers Around

From a tipster who is on his way out: A partner told me that raises for top performers will be in the 20% ballpark. Don't know if this is true. It was from a very Senior Partner in an Upper Midwest (not Chicago) office. He could just be talking. This is a Senior Associate 2 in the […]

Promotion and Bonus Watch ’12: Here’s a Confidential Guide for PwC’s Performance Review Process

Early last week we kicked off the compensation season 2012 discussion, thanks to the anxiety that is circling among the rank and file of accounting firms. Along with concerns over cold hard cash, some of you are probably curious about promotions. Luckily, someone was kind enough to leak us PwC's "FY12 ARC [Annual Review Committee] […]

Comp Watch ’12: Sizing Up the Big 4

It's the last day of April, which means that hopefully you've tied up all the loose ends that were left over from Busy Season 2012 (aka the best one yet). The month of May brings flowers, drunken afternoons at the baseball diamond in your fair city, and speculation about your compensation adjustments. Of course, some […]

Big 4 Advisory Intern Wants To Squeeze Blood Out Of A Turnip

Your daily serving of vegetables, brought to you by GC. Subject: Advice: negotiating a starting salary GC,I am graduating in December from a masters in accounting program and I am currently interning at Big 4 firm in advisory.  I am hoping to get an offer after the internship and join the firm in January.  Is […]

And Now, Let’s Compare Three Different 15-year Compensation Scenarios

By now, you've probably had a chance to meticulously dissect the two posts that illustrated what your compensation at a public accounting firm will roughly be over a 15 year period. The revelation that you can make a pretty nice living over that time span did little to convince some people that this public accounting […]

Let’s Take a Second Look at a 15-year Trajectory of Big 4 Compensation

Earlier this week we shared some data that was gifted to us by an accountant who had nothing better to do during his AUD study break than create a spreadsheet charting your compensation for the first 15 years of your illustrious Big 4 career. Everyone seemed pretty grateful for it though, as it got people […]

What Can You Expect to Make at a Big 4 Firm Over a 15 Year Period?

It’s mid-January, which means that at some point in the next four to six weeks or so, you’ll say to yourself, “I don’t get paid enough to do this shit.” And you might be right! But the good news is starting salaries for accountants keep going up. If you’re simply annoyed with your current boss/lunch/life […]

Bonus Watch ’12: KPMG Advisory Sets Some Expectations

Our tipster, "I Need to Be Top Rated," informed us that these came out "awhile back" but since everyone has been checked out the last two months, I forgive you. Current Level 1-Rated 2-Rated 3-Rated 4-5 Rated Director /          Sr.Manager / Manager 11-15% 8-11% 3-7% 0% Sr. Associate 9-13% 7-10% 2-6% 0% Associate 7-11% 6-9% […]

Bonus Watch ’11: PwC Auditors Are Going to Ask Again, Nicely This Time

According to our inquisitor, there was supposed to be word of a little holiday cheer pre-Hanukkah: Any word on PwC Bonuses being paid out at year end?  Folks in the Northeast assurance practice were suppose to be notified by 12/20. Okay, gang. Now maybe I'm mistaken but if you recall, someone asked a similar question right […]

Comp Watch ’11: Bellyaching By McGladrey Employees Seems to Have Paid Off

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Residents of the blue and green arches got news of their raises (or lack thereof) back in July and the results were mixed. Some we’re pretty happy while others could barely afford to celebrate with their own punch and cake party.

One way or another, the sound of the incessant bitching reached someone of importance in the Great Lakes Region because a tipster passed along the following:

Intended Audience: External Client Service Associates through Directors

You said it – and we listened. During this past performance review our leaders delivered what they thought was a ‘good news’ message about your October 1st salary increase. “The market is flat, business is below plan, your performance is great, and this is really a good increase – all things considered.” And yet, many of you still felt that your hard work and long hours and extra effort was not being recognized.

Now it’s time for us to step up and do what is right – for you! YES – You’re important to us and important to our success. You work hard all year and pull out all of the stops during the ‘busy seasons.’ Interesting phrase, “busy seasons” – we are always busy, and then there are those times when we feel we have delivered more than we even thought we could deliver. To recognize this and thank you for your hard work and commitment to our clients, effective October 16th [Yes, this was three days ago], you will be receiving a base salary increase! These raises are in ADDITION to any October 1st increases which were communicated during the most recent annual review cycle and will show up in your October 31st paycheck. The increases were determined by level and applied consistently across lines of business and geography. Anyone hired on or after May 1, 2011 are at market so no salary adjustment will be made.

There was a great deal of thought that went into the decisions that were made to continue to move salaries in the right direction. We looked at the market and considered how quickly it has moved, we revisited our competitors’ compensation data, compared this to what you are earning and what you could earn in comparable jobs at other accounting firms, and then made a decision to make adjustments so it is even more competitive than before.

You deserve this – and we’re glad you shared your thoughts with us so we could make some changes.

The Great Lakes Management Team

Well, this sets a very dangerous precedent, doesn’t it? Any year too many Mickey G’s employees find themselves slightly dissatisfied with their raises, they’ll simply piss and moan until someone at the adult table gets annoyed enough?

The questions now are 1) What the second raise will be? 2) Will that will satisfy the masses? 3) Would handing out autographed posters of McGladrey-sponsored golfers have solved this whole problem?

Your reactions are welcome below.

*Dustin Bradford.

Comp Watch ’11: Big 4 Starting Salaries North of the Border

There’s been quite a bit of chatter out of Canada recently (Happy Thanksgiving, btw) and we now have some of the details for those receiving offers from 3 of the Big 4.

KPMG is offering $40,800 per year. They claim they will pay over time if you work over 40 hours per week.
PwC is offering $40,800 per year with a 0-15% bonus based on performance.
EY is offering $40,500 per year. No mentions of overtime.

This is for the Toronto offices and these figures are all in Canadian Dollars, which comes out to slightly below $40k USD but with the possibility of overtime, obviously the haul could be a lot more. If you’ve heard different numbers (or any Deloitte numbers at all) for these firms, get in touch or discuss below.

Comp Watch: Vault Ranks the Firms That Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck

All of you people have dreams. Not your-name-in-lights dreams, however. Most of you are more interested in shopping-at-Bergdorf’s dreams. But which firm is going to give you the best combination of salary/bonus/Omaha Steaks to make you happy? Vault’s Compensation Ranking should give you an idea. Here’s your Top 5 out of 20 (previous year’s ranking in parenthesis):

1 (11) SS&G Financial Services
2 (5) Armanino McKenna
3 (8) WithumSmith + Brown
4 (7) Dixon Hughes Goodman
5 (1) Marcum


Where are the Final 4 Horsemen of the Accounting Firm Apocalypse, you ask? Well, a couple of them are completely MIA. Here are the other two plus some notables:

9 (10) Rothstein Kass
10 (NR) Grant Thornton
14 (19) CBIZ/Mayer Hoffman McCann
15 (18) Moss Adams
19 (20) PwC
20 (17) Deloitte

Seriously, I think Stephen Chipman is putting something in the water at Grant Thornton. Whatever it is, KPMG and E&Y would be wise to get their hands on it. Check out the full ranking if you’re not satisfied. And feel free to share feelings on your firm’s presence (or lack thereof).

Accounting Firms Rankings 2012: Best to Work For: Compensation [Vault]

Comp Watch ’11: PwC Partners Making Deloitte Counterparts Look Like Peasants

The FT reports that the average partner in the UK took home £763,000, up 1% from last year. Ian Powell, the Chairman of the UK firm, took home £3.7 million. The average take home at P. Dubs puts Deloitte partners to shame who only managed to scrape together an average of £758,000, down from £873,000. What does the mean for the partners in the States? Probably nothing but it could indicate that Deloitte’s reign as the biggest of the Big 4 could be a one year wonder. [FT]

Comp Watch ’11: Performance Ranking Distribution and More Bonus Details for PwC

Earlier this month, PwC announced that they were throwing new labels on their performance review buckets for FY ’12. Those of you that can walk on water will be called “Top Performers,” better-than-average mortals will be “Outstanding Performer,” the meaty part of the curve is “High Performer,” rubes will land in “Needs Improvement” while the you Sling Blade mofos will be “Unsatisfactory.” While your mothers and I both believe that you’re all worthy of “Top Performer” status, P. Dubs doesn’t share our viewpoint. This morning, Assurance Leader Tim Ryan sent an email to all opiners regarding the distribution of the “Relative Perhe email was sent to us by a tipster and it includes this table:


As you can see, more than half of the new associates will be coddled with a “High Performer” ranking their first year in order to keep them on the hook. In year 2, we see a 20% drop distributed over “Top Performer” and “Outstanding Performer.” The table shows that, over time, if you aren’t consistently falling into the TP or OP categories, you won’t be wearing autumnal hues for long. This seems fair, although we all know that understanding how performance evaluations are determined is like trying to understand why Michelle Bachmann attempted to speak Yiddish.

The email also goes on to describe the three bonuses that will be available to assurance professionals: Credential (that’s your CPA), Contribution, and Annual Performance. Here are the details of each:

Credential Bonus
Associates are eligible to receive a Credential Bonus if they pass their primary credential exam, consistent with prior years.

Contribution Award
To provide a consistent approach to timely recognition of exceptional contributions, associates and senior associates are eligible to receive a semi-annual Contribution Award, in December and the spring. This award will recognize contributions that exceed the expectations at each level (e.g., unique client contributions to the team, extraordinary effort, enhanced quality, significant assistance to another practice). Individual awards will be determined through a formalized and consistent semi-annual process. This award is not contingent upon RPR or credential status.

Annual Performance Bonus
• Senior associates through directors/senior managers will be eligible to participate in the Annual Performance Bonus. The allocation of these bonus awards will be based on staff level and relative performance rating.

• The total Annual Performance Bonus pool is based on achieving our quality and financial performance goals. Successful achievement of our goals will result in award ranges as noted in the chart. These ranges will increase if we exceed our goals (as was the case in FY11 when we increased the overall performance pool by 10%) and decrease if we do not achieve our goals.

• An individual’s bonus within the target award range will depend on the total bonus dollars allocated to her/his market or business unit based on quality and financial performance, as well as the individual’s contributions in relation to peers within their performance category.

• It is expected that all staff at the senior associate level and above rated High Performer or above will participate in the Annual Performance Bonus. Please note, staff who have not worked the full year may receive a prorated bonus award based on the bonus ranges.

And the representative tables:

Just a few thoughts:

1. Don’t fuck around when it comes to the CPA Exam.

2. Even though Contribution Awards “will be determined through a formalized and consistent semi-annual process,” I can’t help but interpret this as “a political and opaque determination that we’ll throw together at the last minute.”

3. You’re probably wondering about “quality and financial performance goals” mentioned with the APB. Here’s the scoop on those:

Quality performance goals
• Inspections: Reduce the number and severity of non-compliant audits identified through inspections
• Training: Complete participation in all required training, including passing applicable assessments
• Planning: Improve the timing of planning and phasing of our audit work, including the appropriate use and leverage of our delivery model.

Financial performance goals
• Revenue: Achieve our annual revenue budget, which includes a 4.9% revenue growth target
• Contribution Margin: Achieve our contribution margin budget
• Cash Collections: Achieve our monthly cash collection plan

Achieving our quality and financial performance goals will require both an individual and team effort. Reaching our quality goals will require staff to continue to focus on our compliance with auditing standards, concentration on continuous improvement and enhanced management of all engagements. Meeting our financial performance goals will be dependent upon each staff charging all their time and billing timely for all client services.

Assurance quality and financial performance results will be shared with you on a quarterly basis.

So while the increased transparency is nice, the quality and financial performance will be one of those things where you’ll be told the numbers; you’ll hear the story behind the numbers; the end. You could audit your ass off, ace every diversity, independence, and ethics training but if business is down or flat (looking probable) you’ll simply have to accept it.

Anyway P. Dubbersteins, try to digest this and discuss your ecstasy over the latest details.

Study Suggests That If You’re Not Happy with Your Salary, You Might Try Being More of a Contrarian Dick

[R]esearchers examined “agreeableness” using self-reported survey data and found that men who measured below average on agreeableness earned about 18% more—or $9,772 more annually in their sample—than nicer guys. Ruder women, meanwhile, earned about 5% or $1,828 more than their agreeable counterparts. [WSJ]

Comp Watch ’11: Individual Results Coming in at Deloitte and More Details on Bonuses

Following up on our previous post that addressed the high level discussions at the firm, some people started getting calls on Friday and more are having meetings today:


Our first tipster was a recently promoted to Senior Associate in ERS Tech Risk in the Northeast:

Year end rating of 2, 18% [raise].

And the latest from Houston for an 5th year Senior Associate in audit:

Audit 4th year senior going into my 5th year from the Houston Office (Mid-America Region).

As a 1-rated senior my numbers were:

9.9% raise
10.4% AIP bonus

In addition, we received a couple of slides that could be of interest to you on the following two pages.

Here are details for “Rewards and Recognition” which spells out the awards in the program and last year’s stats:

Sixty-nine percent of SMs receiving a bonus seems impressive and the Outstanding Performance award could pay out nicely if you’re lucky enough to get one on the high end. The Service Anniversary award, on the other hand, is not impressive at all.


If this slide looks familiar, it’s because it is very similar to one we posted back in July that showed Deloitte’s efforts to revamp their comp structure. The previous slide showed the AIP pool for Senior Consultants while this one is for Senior Managers (although :

So share your details as they roll in and feel free to comment on the results, the slides and anything else that tickles your fancy (as it relates to Green Dot Comp).

Life after Public Accounting: Is the Grass (aka Money) Really Greener?

As summer winds down, those of you that are still living the Big 4, et al. life may be wondering if you’ve squandered the last couple of months getting overserved on patios and roofdecks, spending hours by the pool and vacationing to exotic locales. You might say, “All this time I was having FUN, I could have been looking for my dream job. What was I thinking?”

For those capital market servants whose past season was simply too much to bear, you probably aren’t saying these words and have, at some point, spend a few weeks (or several) trying to find that perfect new job. For those who did finally pull the trigger on their public accounting career, a plea from a reader:

Can you guys do an article on the types of jobs (read: salary increases) former Big 4/public accountants have taken in industry (or somewhere else) after leaving this past busy season? I need a reminder of why I still work in audit.

Typically, auditors are in constant “remind me why I do this” mode but for the purposes of this post, we ask that tax and advisory professionals give the lowdown on their new gigs as well. Possible topics of interest to keep in mind when commenting:

• Did you simply leave for a bigger salary or bonus or were there work-life issues? If so, were your expectations in the marketplace met?

• Did you leave for a private company, nonprofit/government or – GASP – another public accounting firm?

• Is anyone going back to school?

• Anyone just saying fuck it and getting out of the numbers game altogether because they realized that money isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

• Grabbag.

Comp Watch ’11: A Detailed Explanation of Uncle Ernie’s Complicated “Metrics”

… and it promises that if you just stick around for 12 years, you could be an executive, director, partner or principal.

Warning: the propaganda is absolutely raging in this piece of HR gold, dive into it accordingly (and turn your head to be able to read it).

EY Curve

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte Audit Comp Call Details Are In

Thanks to our tipster who spilled the dirty details just moments ago:

No specific salary increases or bonuses were addressed, as the call was high-level. But here are the approximate levels:

Raise and Bonus Percentages:

3-rated (average) – 7% salary increase, 5% bonus
2-rated (middle) – 8.5% salary increase, 7% bonus
1-rated (highest) – 10% salary increase, 10% bonus

Milestone promotions (senior, manager, senior manager) would be 3 to 5% on top of the salary increases above. No additional bonuses or raises for new managers.

As expected, Deloitte talked a bit about salary multipliers, but not nearly to the extent that PwC did in their presentation. Of note on this front are the fact that experienced audit seniors can expect to earn 1.3x their starting salaries, as opposed to 1.5x at PwC. Also notable is the Deloitte model is “total compensation” (salary + bonus + rewards received), whereas PwC’s structure appears to apply only to salary.

Comp Watch ’11: Let’s Discuss the KPMG Comp Talks That Started Last Week

We’re really sorry for taking so long to get this in order, or rather, Caleb should be sorry because it happened on his watch but, in his defense, he was off in the UK kissing up to the people who actually own this website and therefore technically make sure our checks are signed every month. So we’ll give him a pass. I’m sure ignoring KPMG compensation had absolutely nothing to do with any residual feelings he may have for the firm he once called home.

Anyway, we got word last week that some more KPMG comp talks started some time last week (OK, so they started last Monday) and apparently they are making all those fools at Uncle Ernie’s look pretty lame with their 11 percents.

We have it on good authority that, at least for our audit staff tipster, last week’s comp talks were probably going to bring news somewhere in the 16% range or thereabouts.

Well great, that’s not very helpful at this point, is it? We’ll have to badger our tipster incessantly to see how that worked out (we never heard further so maybe they took that 16.4%, bought a bunch of gold and ran off to Sri Lanka) but if any of you KPMGers have good news to share, please let it launch below.

As always, it’s extra helpful if you A) avoid commenting with your full name so the partners don’t get their Depends in a bunch over you blabbing your salary all over the Internet and B) include where you are, what service line you are in and any bonus.

Earlier: (UPDATE) Comp Watch ‘11: Early Returns Are in at KPMG

(UPDATE) Fulltime Offer Watch ’11: Interns, Let’s Talk About Offers

A wise suggestion from the mailbag:

I had an idea for an interesting blog topic – most Big 4 interns will be finishing up within the next week or two. It would be interesting to see what the starting salaries and bonuses are turning out to be across the firms and across the different offices for new hires starting Fall 2012. I know you did a similar compensation blog a while back and it had several hundred comments with people sharing their respective numbers.


Thanks, astute future capital market servant! Jesus, is it really August already? We did do this last year around this time and you are correct that we got some great feedback from the kids. Except for the ones who got kicked off the team before the big trip to Disney, awww sucks for them.

Instructions this year are the same as last year, please be sure to include 1) your starting salary 2) your office 3) practice 4) signing bonus (if applicable) 5) Bonus for CPA (if applicable). Remember that anything you post will be seen by everyone you know including your colleagues, lover, dog and grandma so please, if you want to remain anonymous, post as such. Mommy won’t be around to moderate your discussion.

Because not everyone fits into the Big 4 cookie cutter, all interns looking forward to full-time offers are welcome to join the conversation, compare packages (erm) and brag about how much better their firm is than others. There’s no crying in baseball but this is public accounting, which means whining is also welcome.

Get on that, future leaders of the industry!

UPDATE:
The latest:

I believe PwC and DT offers come out this Friday. I’d really appreciate the input from other readers. It could affect my own FT offer.

Comp Watch ’11: Ernst & Young Comp Discussions Start Today

We’ve received several short, anxious emails (presumably all from Uncle Ernie’s nervous camp) tipping us off to the fact that E&Y comp discussions are going down this week, so it must be true. Of course, this post is useless without actual comp numbers, which we’re sure you’ll give us as soon as you have your sit-downs.

Hi Going Concern –

To give you heads up, E&Y comp and promotions dicussions [sic] are happening this week (they’re happening today in my office). Perhaps it’s a good time to open the new thread on the topic.

Cheers,
E&Yer

Great, so does this mean the Ohio and Michigan crews have already packed up and are ready to bail if they get anything less than whatever it was they are holding out for?

Rumors so far are that raises will be in line with last year’s, which were not at all disappointing considering that we are still (not technically) in a recession, not to mention all that Lehman drama the E&Y lawyers are still hashing out. Too soon? Anyway, as usual, you’re welcome to entertain each other with disparaging comments about the size of your, er, comp packages until we hear news on actual numbers.

Update: Looks like some pretty good numbers are rolling in but please, for the sake of your fellow EY brethren, if you want to share your comp info, be sure to at a minimum include where you are (general metro or region is fine), what service line you are in, your rating (hint: this is a number) and, of course, the actual new pay and bonus number (if any).

Comp Watch ’11: Rumors of Imminent Exodus at Ernst & Young Has Some Perplexed

This just in:

I have been talking to a variety of people at E&Y from several offices in Ohio and Michigan. The word from them is that there is going to be a significant movement of people once compensation info is passed out. It’s kinda conflicting since the rumor is that raises should be around what they were last year. Not sure what to make about it.

As you recall, last year’s raises and bonuses at Ernst & Young were competitive with PwC, which came as a pleasant surprise to everyone at Black and Yellow but understandably this rumor has our tipster in a flummox. Of course, this could be limited to the Ohio/Michigan area but it’s worth seeing what the Turley’s Troops in other areas are hearing. Share below.

Comp Watch ’11: The Wait Is Nearly Over at Grant Thornton

From the mailbag, a tipster quotes his OMP:

“Compensation and bonuses have been approved. Final letters will be received from national HR by end of day tomorrow [i.e. today] and will be communicated by your practice leader before August 1.”

Fill us in if you have gotten the news or email us the details.

Comp Watch ’11: McGladrey

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A communiqué from last week, “Caleb, I believe comp discussions are taking place at McGladrey.”

So I asked around and yes, it appears to be true. In fact they started awhile ago. From deep inside Mickey G’s:

Some people from my office started having discussions about 2 weeks ago. One guy being promoted from staff to senior, who received a 4 rating, received a 8.5% raise. I was promoted from Senior to Supervisor, received a 5 rating, so I received a 13% raise and $3,500 bonus.

That should fund a nice shopping spree at the McGladrey store. Of course some people simply would have been happy to get a longer holiday weekend.

*Dustin Bradford.

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte’s New Structure Is Taking Shape

A couple of weeks ago, we heard that Deloitte was considering a similar compensation structure as PwC. This would result in Senior Associates making approximately 1.5x their starting salaries in three years, managers making 2x their starting salary and so on and so forth. At the time, it didn’t strike me as surprising that Deloitte would get all monkey-see-monkey-do on its employees simply because the Green Dot is a far more conservative firm than P. Dubs. While the structure at PwC was welcome with largely positive reviews, the Deloitte version was received less warmly.

Today, we have a little bit of an update for you – with slides! – on hure is progressing. From our tipster:

I’m surprised there was no article about this yet. Tuesday we all had a compensation call which went into great detail how raises and bonuses were handled. Here are some slides you might be interested in. It appears PwC scared them and they are copying. These numbers are still not official yet as they “are working out the numbers”…


Here’s a slide from the presentation on Deloitte’s total compensation earnings multiplier that our tipster sent over:

And here’s PwC’s:

So they’re pretty darn close, with Senior Associates doing slightly better at P. Dubs but Senior Managers faring slightly better at Deloitte, thus it ends up as a wash. Granted, the Deloitte slides only present information for AERS Advisory professionals (sorry audit and tax peeps) but it would seem odd if they opted to only change the structure for one group.

Other items worth noting include the 500 promotions for this year and the 3-5% bonus that accompanies the bump.

The pictures on the following pages show merit increases based on ranking (1 to 5 scale) for Consultants, Senior Consultants and AIP – Senior Consultants.


Presumably, in the bad years some high performers may see a paltry raise of around 4% but in the good years, it will push 16%, depending on metrics listed:


And even more impressive for Seniors, with highest performers receiving a merit increase of ~20%:


What’s interesting to note here is that Deloitte claims to have awarded bonuses to 95% of “eligible professionals.” So if I understand that correctly, 5% of those people ranked 3 or higher didn’t get a bonus. It may also get you a little weak in the knees if the AIP pool is already larger than last year’s “highest ever” pool:

Lots to digest and discuss here, so let it rip.

Comp Watch ’11: Someone at Ernst & Young Wasn’t Too Discreet with Sensitive Info on Their Commute

From the mailbag:

Happened to be sitting behind someone on my NYC commute this week who was reading a deck (in font large enough for me to read) on EY’s salary ranges etc. Didn’t see any $ numbers and most was hard to see without context or the full page but I did see this:

(I don’t know ey terms – apr = annual performance rating?)

APR 3 4 5
S. Mgr 1% 2% 3%
Mgr 2% 3% 4%

Our tipster stated that the percentages were supposed to represent “minimum raise.” Hard what to make of this as rumors have been all over the board from “They told us not to have very high expectations,” to ” Per my discussions with an Office Managing Partner and a National Practice Leader …. raises should be close to (if not the same) as prior year.” But considering there’s an expensive legal battle on the horizon, maybe this isn’t so crazy? Discuss.

(UPDATE) Comp Watch ’11: Early Returns Are in at KPMG

From the mailbag:

How about an open thread for KPMG 2011 comp discussions? Sit downs are happening this week. I’m a senior, Midwest, 13% salary increase, $3K bonus.


It seems early for comp discussions at the House of Klynveld but none other than the memo from Johnny V. and Keizer Söze stated that they were happening “later this month.” Our tipster speculated as to the motivation:

In the interest of getting people to not quit, they moved up discussions this year. The salary increases are finalized. The bonus amounts are projected, but they have stated that they are conservative projections.

Okay, then. Feel free to add if you’re planning on deferring your Early Career Investment Bonus or taking the money and GTFO (if you make it to May 2013, that is).

UPDATE:
The latest from an auditor in New York:

I have my comp discussion tomorrow and I’ve heard good things (16.4% and up)

Keep us updated.

Comp Watch ’11: Regional CPA Firms

As you well know, compensation is a popular topic of conversation round these parts. A lot of the discussion revolves around the Big 4 and second-tier firms like Grant Thornton, McGladrey and BDO. For whatever reason, we rarely receive information from those working at regional firms. This led to a recent plea from a reader:

Please keep posting salary info, especially from mid-size firms, and what raises look like so I can see what I am really worth/not worth.

So take this as a call for you regional boys and girls to cough up your comp details for all the world to see. Right now since we don’t have specific details for specific firms, we’ll ask that you identify your firm along with other pertinent details (location, job title, raise, bonus) or email us and we’ll update this post.

If you’re wondering if your firm falls into the camp of “regional” if it’s not a Big 4 firm or one of the three we listed above, then consider your firm (for the sake of simplicity) “regional.” This would include Moss Adams, CBIZ/MHM, Crowe Horwath, BKD, Plante & Moran, et al. That’s wonderful if your firm has a “expansive international network to best serve our clients” but nobody gives a damn about that and I’m not going to split hairs here. If you’re still not sure, just post your information and hopefully the comments will self-regulate. Fire away.

UPDATE:
One addition from the mailbag:

Regional firm headquartered in [the Dixie]. I work in the [small Dixie town] office. I’m a second year (soon to be starting 3rd year) audit Manager. Base comp is $70,000 and based on my recent good annual evaluation will be getting an 8% bonus.

Keep it up, regionals. The more specific the details, the better.

Heresy: Dennis Nally Says Money Isn’t the Only Motivator for Recruiting Millenials at PwC

Apparently, things like “mobility” and “skill development” are important too. If you can believe that.

Having a competitive compensation base is really important. It’s [also] about how to create an environment where people want to be. This millennial generation is not just looking for a job, they’re not just looking for salary and financial benefits, they’re looking for skill development, they’re looking for mobility, they’re looking for opportunities to acquire different skills and to move quickly from one part of an organization to another. How you manage that sort of talent and how you deal with their expectations is very different from what’s been done in the past.

So I guess that means that none of the London recruits will be stuck at the Embankment Place dump. That doesn’t sound like an environment where anyone would want to be.

PwC Chairman Aims to Keep Millennials Happy [WSJ]

Comp Watch ’11: Rumors of Deloitte Adopting New Raise Structure à la PwC

This just in:

I’m hearing rumblings that Deloitte might be the next in line to adopt a PwC-esque transparent raise structure. I don’t have the exact information, but I’ve heard something about making 1.5x your current salary in 3 years.

As you may remember, PwC announced “exciting changes” to their compensation structure back in May that involved three major parts: 1) Transparency 2) Earning Potential and 3) Milestone Awards. The multiple of 1.5x increase in three years is included in the roughly what PwC laid out in their “Total Rewards” document.

This seems to be a pretty typical move from Deloitte, who is notoriously conservative relative to its autumnally-hued rival. I’m sure if this plan is carried out, they’ll attempt to add in their own quirks to differentiate themselves but I’d be surprised if amounted to anything significant. If you hear any more rumors, contrary or supporting of this latest news, get in touch.

Promotion Bonus Watch ’11: Grant Thornton

The latest from the moneymailbag:

Hi Caleb,
Can we get a thread opened about Grant Thornton raises and promotions. We started finding out promotions yesterday and the raise info came along with it. Thanks,

Not much news out of Grant Thornton lately so thanks for reaching out. The last we heard from Purple Rose of Chicago was that auditors were wanting their raises and bonuses to rival the Big 4 after a hellish busy season. I’d still be willing to be that Michelle Bachmann has a better chance of becoming President than GT’s raises keeping pace with the Big 4 but I do like a good longshot.

So if you’re in the House of Chipman and got news about a promotion, let us know and share the details of your newfound riches.

Comp Watch ’11: Ernst & Young Keeps ‘Em Waiting

If I seemed impatient about hearing from the Black and Yellow, it’s because I was. Fortunately, someone answered the call:

As of now, we haven’t heard ANYTHING regarding raises/bonuses etc. On our performance management internal website the status of my annual review just changed from “Leadership Review/Roundtable” to “Release to Compensation” so hopefully we will be getting some news soon!

So, no news is…news, isn’t it? Last year, we started hearing Ernst & Young compensation rumors around the 15th and here we are, one week from our nation’s birthday and hardly a peep. Someone buy a partner a happy hour beer tonight or something, wouldja? Keep us updated.

Promotion Bonus Watch ’11: KPMG

In case you weren’t satisfied with all the talk of comp from this week. The latest from the mailbag:

Hey, I am an experienced senior in a small market, yearly performance evaluationss are coming up (July 11-20 or something), but promotes are learning their bonuses, Which are in theory a function of salary adjustments between now and October, just wondering how those are looking?

Btw, Ernst & Young peeps, you better not be holding out on us. I find it hard to believe with the fiscal year ending next week that a grip of you haven’t heard any rumors about comp. Get in touch.

Blind Item: Which Chicago Accounting Firm Is Giving Infuriatingly Meager Raises and Bonuses?

This just in:

Here’s a spicy meatball for you guys. My buddy works over at [Chicago Firm] and he was so upset when he got his $700 raise and $250 bonus as a Senior 1. Not sure if it’s performance based, but a lot of [Chicago Firm] peeps aren’t thrilled right now.

Will that even cover the rent?

Survey: CPA Combined with CMA Will Put More Money in Your Pocket

This survey was done by the Institute of Management Accountants, so of course the AICPA would encourage you to wait for the CGMA to get a dual certification but if you just can’t wait, then the CMA should work fine.

IMA’s Annual Salary Survey explores salary trends of accounting and finance professionals and reveals that certain industries are faring better than others. Public accounting ranked first in terms of average salary, at $125,488, and second in average total compensation, at $153,395, both in 2010 and 2009. The survey was mailed to respondents last December, and the results have just been released this month.

“The CMAs in this year’s study make a little more than the CPAs,” said Dennis Whitney, senior vice president of certification at the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. “For the younger professionals, it’s a little more per year. The number does seem to go up as you get older, but generally it’s a couple of thousand dollars. But the thing that’s the most dramatic is that people with both the CPA and the CMA fare the best.”

For those with both certifications, the difference can be not only $27,000, but $35,700.

“Dual certification is definitely worthwhile,” said Whitney. “It broadens your competencies. You have not only the financial accounting and auditing skills, but also the financial planning, analysis, and control skills and decision-making, which are very important today.”

Certified Accountants Earn $27,000 More [AT]
Earlier:
The Path to CFO: Is the CMA Credential Just as Important as the CPA?

Comp Watch ’11: Sit-downs at PwC Starting This Week

From the mailbag:

Any rumors on PwC comp going around yet? Partner discussions are supposed to start this week and go through next.

After all the discussion around PwC’s new compensation structure one may have thought that was enough to keep people talking for months. Fortunately, plenty of mini-BoMos out there are anxious about this year’s compensation adjustment and since the fiscal year ends next Thursday, it’s not a wonder. Sooo, if you’ve been (un)fortunate enough to have your little money chat let everyone know how it went. Don’t spare the details: office, level, practice, etc.

Let’s Finally Talk About How Much Money You Can Make In Advisory

Somehow I find myself pulling the Accounting Career Emergencies rabbit out of my hat (or, as I like to say, “Decide My Life For Me: GC Edition”) and for once it has absolutely nothing to do with the CPA exam. We get yelled at all the time for focusing too much on tax and audit and not enough on advisory, so now’s your chance to start the discussion.

Though this question ended up in my inbox, it’s obvious that it was directed at you, dear Going Concern readers:

There is a lot of discussion on GC about the compensation for the audit and tax arms of the B4, but I don’t remember seeing much on what the strategic advisory/consulting branches of the B4 can expect in compensation as one rises through the ranks. It is pretty much assumed that compensation is much better on the performance and strategic side of the business but can you lay it out what is expected at each level?

I know different markets will pay at different rates, so a general range would be appreciated. I expect for associates in all branches to start in the same general range between $45,000-$58,000 but at what point in the chain of command does advisory compensation really separate itself compared to audit and tax?

Signed,

New Advisory Associate

First off, you’re right that we don’t discuss advisory that often but we do discuss it when we can, dependent on how many emails like yours we get and whether anyone in the advisory family has embarrassed themselves enough to warrant a note to us telling us all about it. If you’re playing along at home, that’s a strong hint that we’d talk about other areas besides tax and audit more often if more of you non-tax-and-audit folk contributed to the conversation. This is a good start, keep it going.

Anyway, based on comments left here and there around this site, the separation between audit/tax and advisory is not so much defined by dollars but by quality of life. What good is making more (or less) money if you’re miserable and overworked doing it? So before you look at how much more (or less) you’ll end up making than your cohorts in audit and tax, it’s appropriate to look at how much having a life is worth to you. So keep that in perspective while you are trying to figure out just how much you can make and when.

While you’re waiting around for useful comments from the GC miscreants, we were able to dig up a useful discussion on the Wall Street Oasis forum that will give you some actual numbers (though the validity of those numbers is apparently up for debate). That’s a starting point, and puts you at 65K out the gate, average. Since we’re getting that information from the Internet, let’s be conservative and say 60. This doesn’t help much as you already knew as much.

You might want to check out this GC thread (granted it’s two years old) and see if you get any better numbers there. With 311 comments, chances are you’ll get your answer, or at least a reasonable ballpark to aim for.

Cue to comments from the advisory bad asses out there who have been dying to see a column all about them. Now’s your time – especially those loyal soldiers who have put in a few years – to shine. Or blow smoke up each other’s asses to see who spins the most unbelievable compensation tale. I’m cool with either but please, help your soon-to-be advisory brother.

Comp Watch ’11: KPMG Kicking Around the Idea of Loyalty Bonuses for Senior Associates

We’re still waiting to hear what the Next Level is but this should tide you over in the meantime.

I’m a second-year audit senior associate at KPMG in the New York Office. This past Wednesday there was a round-table discussion with about a dozen seniors to discuss compensation. I’ve been looking on Going Concern to see what has turned up, and since I’ve yet to see anything i figured I would send along what was discussed…

The meeting was run be a couple of our heads of compensation, and they were certain to tell us that in no way has this been approved by leadership, but as long as feedback from the round-table sessions is positive, they think it has a good chance of happening. They asked us about how the above and beyond award [Ed. note: aka utilization bonuses] was received, to which everyone responded negatively, and they unveiled their plan for future bonus compensation to reward loyalty for the firm. They said that this plan would be in addition to any raises and variable comp that the firm already has, so this would act as a reward for loyalty to the firm. I will highlight the details below.

-This plan is applicable for senior associates
– In December everyone makes an election that they classified as immediate, one-year, and two-year. The immediate pays $1,000, the 1-year pays $4,000, and the 2-year pays $8,000. This election would be made each December by senior associates. One example they gave of a first-year senior associate entering this bonus program was as follows:

December 2011: two-year election – pays $8,000 in May 2014
December 2012: two-year election – pays $8,000 in May 2015
December 2013: one-year election – pays $4,000 in May 2016

They were selling us on the fact that you would be paid out $20,000 in the span of twelve months, which of course sounds pretty great. One thing to keep in mind is that the terminology “immediate”, “one-year”, and “two-year” isn’t completely accurate. In reality it is more like one, two, or three busy seasons. Some of the particulars are that once you make an election you’re stuck with it, so if you take the immediate payout and happen to stay another few years, you are less loyal than someone who knew ahead of time. Also, if you leave the firm before you reach your payment date you obviously get nothing.

The plan was generally well received in the meeting, but didn’t get good reviews at all when I told some of my co-workers about it. I am curious to see how others feel about it. We all seemed to agree that it didn’t seem worth it to take the $1,000 payout because after taxes you’d barely notice it, and that it would take real guts to take the $8,000 payout, because as a first-year senior associate the length of your deferral is longer than your employment at the firm to date, so you never really know if you’ll still be there to collect.

Say what you will about the KPMG, they are trying to get creative with the bonus structure. Whether or not it takes with Klynveldians is another matter entirely but you can get started by commenting with your reactions below.

Deloitte Partners Get Some Pointers on What to Say Re: Bonuses, Compensation

As was mentioned on Tuesday, rumors around Deloitte’s compensation are starting to surface. This likely means partners are fielding questions from anxious employees about raise, bonuses and if they’re considering any part PwC’s new compensation structure. Of course, not everyone is comfortable discussing personal financial matters with Gen Y types, so TPTB have floated some talking points to the partners so they might reduce the number of awkward moments.

Question: What can we say to our people about this year’s compensation?

As we are in the process of closing our books for FY11 and completing our financial plan for FY12 over the next several weeks, we have not finalized the overall Deloitte or AERS compensation – both for [bonuses] and FY12 base compensation. Deloitte and all of the major audit, advisory, and consulting firms participate in Mercer and similar compensation surveys and use this information as a key benchmark for determining competitive compensation. We also continue to differentiate performance (and move AERS Advisory to a more incentive based pay mix). We do our best to be above the survey midpoint of the aggregate of our competitors’ with regard to compensation and make adjustments as necessary (as evidenced last year).

We will continue to implement our Rewards and Recognition program which is significant. We are confident that we will be rewarding our professionals in a way that recognizes their contribution and efforts over the past challenging year and the increasing performance expectations we all face looking forward. We also stay very abreast of what our competitors’ actions and claims are and, if appropriate, make adjustments based on factual information.

When speaking with your teams, please consider the following key points:

• We continue to monitor the marketplace and pay at or above market. The compensation scenarios we’re modeling will ensure that we maintain, and likely improve, our position relative to our competitors on a total cash basis this year.

• We are confident our [bonuses] will be at or above last year’s levels, which were the highest in the history of our organization.

• Our merit pool will provide for market based compensation for all of our professionals and appropriate pay differentiation on the basis of individual performance. Our people continue to tell us this is important to them, we owe it to them, and we will deliver on this commitment this year.

• We know that our people have worked extremely hard this year and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that they are rewarded accordingly. We have a number of options on the table but frankly we don’t have the year-end numbers in yet so it’s still too early to make those decisions.

Comp Watch ’11: Happy New Year’s Eve Deloitte!

It’s the final day of fiscal 2011 in GreenDotville and it seems fitting that we have a little comp discussion:

Word is coming out of the senior manager meeting last week that raises and bonuses are going to be “very good” this year. Of course, those are just rumors, and that’s what the firm said in 2009 when comp increases averaged less than 1% across the board. Other than the mid-year salary bump last fall, there have been no raises, bonuses, or any other incentives to keep slaving away since last summer.

As you may know, Deloitte moved to a decentralized audit planning approach this year, causing hundreds (if not thousands) of additional hours to be added to each engagement. With a shortage of seniors and managers as it is, it’s been close to a breaking point for everyone in the audit function. And, of course, it’s an internal mandate, so unlike the glut of work that came as a result of SOX, Uncle-D is unable to recover any of those costs from clients. Senior management is aware of the problem (Steve VanArsdell said it was the worst busy season he’s ever seen in his 36-year career), but as yet no solutions have been offered other than to say that “year 2” of the new approach should be easier.

Interestingly, the Ivory Tower here at D&T has been suspiciously quiet regarding comp and other issues. Consensus among the employees is that they’re panicked and haven’t yet figured out how to dig out of the hole that they dug for themselves over the past few years. They’ve moved up the timetable on the compensation and rating process by a couple of weeks, which means that we’ll be getting our raise and bonus information in early August instead of mid-August this year (to which, most employees have responded with, “BFD”). To most of us working here, it feels like it’s all going to be too little, too late to win back the loyalty of the current workforce here at Uncle D.

But hey, I hear PwC is hiring!

Our tipster sounds pretty glum for a NYE celebration, so if you can cheer him up with contrary rumors, please do so. Of course, you can always corroborate his suspicions if that’s what you’re hearing as well. And don’t forget to drop all your new leaders a good luck email. Everyone deserves a little thumbs-up on the first day in a new job.

PwC’s New Compensation Structure Gets the Spreadsheet It Deserves

As you know, PwC marched out a new compensation structure earlier this month and it’s been the subject of much interpretation, gnashing of teeth and even a fair amount of rejoicing. Of course, a complete analysis of this new structure would not be complete without the magic of Excel and lucky for you, a reader has taken the time to put some spreadsheet wizardy on it.

Here’s our tipster:

[Here] is an analysis of the new PwC compensation structure. It shows that the firm expects an approximate average raise of 8% per year and 16% per promotion year. The analysis also includes an approximate total compensation for each year of career progression.

I had to break up the image into two pieces so they could be readable. They appear on the next two pages.

Don’t forget that in Year 7, the bonus for promotion to manager is being phased in over three years, so that younger managers do not jump their more experienced colleagues in overall comp.

Obviously results will vary but this gives a pretty good picture of what your compensation will look like over the years at P. Dubs. If you’re busting, still not satisfied or have your own variables to add to the analysis provided, do share.

Here’s PwC’s New Comp Structure in Its Entirety (And Thoughts on Salary Multiple)

Last Friday we broke the news of the “exciting changes” to PwC’s new compensation structure. We now have obtained the document in its entirety (on Page 2 of this post) for those interested in perusing and any P. Dubbers who are unable to navigate their own email or internal websites.

The news has generated a healthy discussion with mixed reviews so far but one reader wanted to focus on the salary multiple specifically

Caleb – I think something that has been glossed over by everyone is the expectations PwC has set around salaries throughout your career.  While the attached excerpt [after the jump] shows that the firm wants you to think you will make 2X your starting salary as an average manager and 1.5X your salary as an average senior, it just doesn’t add up. 

No one is making that multiple, and most don’t think they will get there when we get raises on July 1.  Even the partners in our office said 1.5X for seniors and 2X for managers is an unreasonable salary expectation; they are also a little pissed that BoMo set such absurd expectations.  From what I heard about the associate and senior webcast yesterday, a lot of the questions were some form of “why are you a lying piece of shit about compensation?”  I haven’t had a chance to listen to the webcast yet, but I assume the answers to the questions were some sort of non-answer.

The firm has had a hard time keeping seniors around, so my best guess is they were trying to get senior expectations up to get them to stick around.  I guess they didn’t count on accountants to check those figures and do the math to make sure everything was accurate.

Well, P. Dubs new managers and SAs – do the numbers add up? Tell us in the comments.

PwCTotalRewards2011

PwC Unveils Changes to Compensation Structure

~ Note updates after the jump.

In the last week or so there has been lots of compensation news coming out of PwC, starting with the news from last Friday that “exciting changes” to the compensation structure were happening. There was a lot of speculation and up through yesterday’s Steve Beguhn capping Town Hall webcast about what those changes would be and now we’re happy to report that we’ve got the details for you.

Late yesterday we spoke to a person within PwC who helped develop the new compensati�������������������� employees and it sounds like their are plenty of exciting changes that are being unveiled today. These changes to the comp structure are part of a large shift in culture and values that all started last fall with the unveiling of the new logo (and here you thought it was all about colors and shapes). But enough with the pleasantries, you’re probably anxious to the know the details.


There are three major pieces to the change in the compensation structure starting with:

Transparency – PwC hopes to communicate to its employees just how they come up with the numbers that go into your numbers. For example, all those “surveys” and “benchmarks” that get thrown around? The firm plans to tell you exactly what surveys and benchmarks they are using, who participates in them, how many they use, etc. Once all that data is accumulated, the firm will present employees with graphs and other visuals to illustrate ranges of compensation for all the service lines and non-partner levels. They will also show the market midpoint and average vs. the PwC midpoint and average. This will allow employees to know where they are relative to their peers in terms of compensation and through an “open dialogue” in the performance review process, why they are making what they are.

Earning Potential – The next piece is your earning potential. In other words, how well you can expect to do while you’re working at PwC. From brand new associate to a new partner, you’ll be able to see what kind of scratch you’ll be pulling down at each level and in each line of service. Along with this, a new bonus structure will be announced in July for fiscal year 2012. Under this new structure, the firm will state exactly what will come out in the bonus pool; there will be no cap on the pool and it will be based on the following metrics:

Firm performance – The better PwC does, the better you can do.

Line of service performance – Yes, this means that if advisory had a kick ass year, their bonuses will be larger than the audit group’s. Likewise, the next time advisory goes through tough times and the tax group keeps on truckin’, they’ll enjoy a better bonus. Assurance, you’re just screwed (I kid, I kid).

Individual performance – The rating system relative to your peers will remain in place.

Each line of service will receive quarterly updates on the bonus pool. This is something that is already done in the advisory practice and will now be practiced in assurance and tax. All non-client facing support employees will also be eligible. The firm is launching a microsite and will provide flip books that will lay out all the details in case you ever forget all this.

Recognition and Milestone Awards – Spot bonuses have been around for some time but there was concern that it wasn’t always clear how they were earned and what they are. This will also become a more transparent process (sensing a trend yet?). Along with the spot bonuses, the firm is introducing milestone awards that will occur at the senior associate, manager and senior manager/director levels. Here are some of the details for each:

Senior Associate – In addition to compensation awards, new seniors will receive highly specialized individualized offsite training that will help the new seniors make decisions about their careers. This will last for 12-18 months as they adjust to their new roles. UPDATE: And by “offsite,” this means “an offsite marquis location.”

Manager – New managers will receive a bonus that is equal to 25% of pay. This will be phased in over a couple of years, starting with this year’s bonus of 15%, next year 20% and finally reaching 25% in 2013. Since the promotion to manager is such a major achievement, the firm felt recognition of that achievement is appropriate. UPDATE: The reason for the phase-in is so that recently promoted managers will not be jumped in total compensation by their less-experienced counterparts. The firm looks at compensation from a total cash perspective as opposed to comparing salary to salary or bonus to bonus.

Senior Manager/Director – New SMs and Directors will receive four-week sabbaticals to use however they like. They can work to further their professional credentials, spend time with family, take a vacation, whatever they choose.

So there you have it. Some people probably won’t be pleased by the changes because well, some people simply can’t be pleased. But from the sound of it, the firm is trying to give employees what they asked for and that is more information about the process, what “staying competitive with the market” really means and probably all kinds of stuff you didn’t even think you might want to know. Again, some people will be skeptical but those people also probably think OBL is still getting dialysis treatments.

So, let’s have it P. Dubbers. Discuss the new and exciting changes and throw the questions out there that you’re too afraid to ask – TPTB are definitely reading (and it sounds like they are fans of live-blogging).

Bonus Watch ’11: PwC Gives Most of the Staff a Pat on the Back

Along with last Friday’s news of “exciting changes” coming in the compensation structure, we’ve received word a little bonus paid out PwC’s last run:

I’m a little surprised no one has emailed you about the bonuses that were paid out this last pay period to PwC associates and seniors. This wasn’t across the board to everyone like the first December bonus [Bonus Watch ‘10: PwC Holiday Payouts Coming In]. I think first years all got $500 (since they didn’t receive the first December bonus) then everyone else received a bonus that was tied to performance/utilization (and I’m told some individuals received nothing if the managers/partners thought they didn’t cut it). I’m curious what the payouts were in other markets.

I’m a second year senior in the Midwest market and got $1200. I know of another senior up for manager that received more than that. I think this is separate from whatever changes they’re going to announce this week about our pay structure. Pretty much the message I got from my partner was this was something like a down payment on the year end bonuses, which makes me believe when our year end bonuses are announced, they’re going to immediately bring up the money they gave us in December (two bonuses for some) and then this, and say that’s why our year end bonuses are lower.

The webcast is supposed to be today but we don’t have the details and haven’t heard anything yet, so keep us updated.

Comp Watch ’11: Grant Thornton Auditors Want Some Love After a Tough Busy Season

From the mailbag:

Apparently, management finally recognizes that this was a real shitty busy season and as a last ditch effort to keep hemorrhaging seniors, is going to give some large bonuses and raises. Audit is to get increased comp because of how bad it was on our side. I mean GT-Chicago lost 3 seniors right before and 3 during busy season. Plus, we had a team working on a restatement that were working 80-100 hour weeks since November. I know GT will never pay out like the Big 4, but I’m curious to see if we’re in the ballpark this time around.

Who doesn’t love aggravated Grant Thornton auditors on a Monday morning? Frankly (and I know I’m not alone here), I’ll be floored like an Animal Kingdom Superfecta ticket holder, if GT pays out like the Big 4. However, because Stephen Chipman and GT have been on such a tear the past year – shedding less dynamic offices, making dynamic acquisitions – it’s possible some at GT may see better raises this year but it I’m guessing it won’t be the audit practice.

But our tipster’s email seems fairly optimistic (in a bitter, burned out auditor sort of way) since the attrition variable seems to be in full effect. If GT SAs are indeed heading for the exits, then perhaps there will be some pleasantly surprised GT dynamos after last year’s disappointment. Keep us updated.

Big 4 Senior Associate with ‘Offers in Hand’ Wants to Ask for a Raise Without Sounding Like a Greedy Bastard

Ed. Note: Give DWB a warm welcome back to regular posting. If you’ve got a question for the advice column, email us at [email protected].

Good afternoon, everyone. Caleb must have tripped and knocked his sombrero-wearing-head last night, because he has invited me back for a weekly post. Regardless, I’m excited to be back. Let’s knock the rust off, shall we?

I am a 2nd year senior associate at a Big 4 firm. I like doing public accounting but am thinking that at my level and performance I am underpaid. I’ve several offers in hand but I do like what I am doing.

Now this does seem like a silly question – how do I go about asking for a raise without making it sound like that all I care about is money? In this economy…what are the chances that I am gonna get what I ask for?

Thanks a bunch!

You don’t specify whether your “several offers in hand” are for positions in the private sector or with other public accounting firms, so I’m going to address both.

Private sector – why are you interviewing with companies if you “like doing public accounting?” Turn these down.

Public accounting – you should be considering these offers if they are with another Big 4 firm. Do not go from Big 4 to mid-tier. Don’t have any offers with the other Big 4? See your own comments above and interview with the other firms. All four have problematic staffing issues this spring as the young guns continue to burn out. Sure, you’ll receive a nice little bump in pay when you transfer from one firm to another, but remember you’ll be down at the bottom of the networking food-chain.

Considering both the fact that you work at a Big 4 and it’s only a few months away from mid-summer raises and/or compensation restructuring, asking for a raise now will probably not lead to much. You work for an international firm responsible for more than 100,000 employees…you are one person. Granted, you are a second year Senior, which is one of the areas that all firms have a shortage at.

It also depends on your what practice line, your performance rankings and industry, as all of these factors play into how much leverage you will have. If you’re a top-ranked staff member with your CPA and on track to be a lead senior in the fall, your firm may toss you a $1,500 bone to keep you salivating for summer raises. If you’re more of the middle-of-the-road-and-I’m-studying-for-BEC type it would not totally surprise me if you were not given a raise or even shown the door. It would take the length of an episode of “30 Rock” for the word to spread through your office that all it took to get a bump in pay was to claim you had an offer from another firm. Leadership isn’t stupid.

Regardless of where you stand when compared to your peers, be absolutely certain you’re comfortable taking one of the offers you have should the latter situation happen. Your best bet is to wait until summer raises come through. The other firms will still be hiring experience staff in September.

Comp Watch ’11: PwC Rolling Out ‘Exciting Changes’ to Compensation Structure

This just in:

Hey Caleb,

I’m surprised no PwC’er has posted this yet. Earlier this week, Bob Mortiz hinted into “exciting changes” as to compensation structure and transparency, with details to be provided this upcoming Monday on a webcast. It might be worth posting this on your website to get some reactions from fellow PwC’ers about what this means, or to facilitate blind speculation, which is always fun.

If this communiqué from BoMo is, in fact, a few days old, we are a little disappointed it took so long to reach our inbox. Regardless, we’re grateful for the tip now and let’s get on to the important matter of speculating about what ‘exciting changes’ entails, shall we? The possibilities are endless but we’ll try to kick things off:

A. Option to receive entire compensation package (including health benefits) in Omaha Steaks.

B. Spot bonuses given to employees with abnormally high utilization who manage to not die.

C. Elevator speeches will have bearing on employees’ merit increases.

D. Outstanding individual efforts will be rewarded with the choice between a serenade from Steve Beguhn or a special appearance by the DC-area piano player for your next fiesta.

E. Various competitive poaching payouts: KPMG Partner: $10,000; All other KPMG employees: $5; Ernst & Young Banking Partners: A punch in the face; Deloitte partner: $20,000; Deloitte partner with a full head of hair: $100,000 (hey, they’re hard to come by).

F. Your ideas.

Are Accountants Willing to Trade Salary for a Four-Day Work Week?

Apparently! Our sister from across the pond has gotten over their Royal Wedding hangover to report that two-thirds of “finance professionals” would take less money if they were allowed to skip one day a week:

It seems that finance professionals are getting a taste for a more balanced lifestyle after the recent spate of bank holiday weekends. According to a recent survey, two-thirds of accountants would be happy to give up some of their salary to enjoy a four-day working week.

A survey of 2,882 finance professionals conducted by recruiter Marks Sattin found that 66% of respondents were more attracted by the prospect of a four-day working week and would be willing to sacrifice up to £11,000 a year [about USD $18k] to achieve a better work-life balance.

Only 6% said they are less attracted to a four day week than this time last year, while just over a quarter of respondents said they felt no differently.

Marks Sattin managing director Dave Way commented, “Appetite for a greater work-life balance is a sure indication that people feel more secure in their jobs. Since the recession, people have had to knuckle down and work harder. But as the economy picks up and there is less pressure on employers to make redundancies, people are increasingly prioritising a work-life balance.

Of course what isn’t mentioned is that even with a four-day work week, a number of people would just end up working longer hours on those four days and would spend a portion of their free day checking email and other various work-related activities. In the Big 4 (and the rest of the top 10-20 firms) however, there are people who are completely satisfied with the status quo and others willing to give their lives for the firm, so there’s little chance that you’ll see a big shift in culture. That said, it’s a question worth putting out there – would you take less money to work four days a week? Tell us below.

(UPDATE) Comp Watch ’11: Things Are Looking Up for KPMG Advisory

~ UPDATE: Email sent to audit professionals added to the end of the post.

How do variable increases “larger than last year for most of you and much larger for many” sound?

With the first half of FY2011 in the books, we want to provide you with an update on the firm’s and Advisory’s performance and share information about our plans for employee compensation.

We are pleased to report that the firm and Advisory are ahead of plan for the first half of the year. Advisory’s revenues have grown 18% compared to last year and our pipeline of opportunities stands at a record $1.5 billion, confirming the marketplace relevance of our services.

We have also successfully added more professionals to our team (over 800 new and ennovated high value services (including services around cloud and data analytics), acquired a strategic sourcing business (placing us No. 1 in that important piece of the market) and strengthened our training programs (through Advisory University and many targeted programs).This is great news, and a direct result of your contributions!

Further, we are confident that we can finish the year in a very strong position if we continue to work together with a sharp focus on the marketplace, our people, the profitability of our engagements (including expanding the work we offshore to KPMG Global Services), and the timely billing and collection of our receivables.

So what does this mean for compensation? As we have said in the past, our philosophy is that as the business does well, we will share those rewards with our people. And, assuming we stay on plan the remainder of the year, that’s exactly what we plan to do:

Variable Compensation and Salary Increases

Based on our strong results to date, variable compensation will be larger than last year for most of you and much larger for many. Further, we expect that approximately 80% of you will receive a variable compensation award in October. And if you are a client service associate or senior associate, variable compensation is in addition to any awards earned as part of the Above & Beyond program.

Market conditions are dynamic and will vary greatly across our many service disciplines within Advisory. Therefore the range of salary increases will also vary greatly by individual and skill set. We have increased the planned spend for salary increases as well, so increases in base salaries on average will also be better than last year. We know that rewarding and recognizing our people is critical to fostering a high-performance culture, so you can be sure that we will continue to meet our commitment to provide an attractive and competitive total compensation package that differentiates exceptional performers with superior rewards.

Accelerated Compensation Communication

To help provide you with more clarity on what you can expect in the way of compensation come October 1, in July, a leader will meet with you individually to provide you with a line of sight into what you can personally expect to receive regarding salary increase and variable compensation. (As in past years, employees promoted as of July 1, will receive a promotion bonus at that time that will be in addition to any salary increase or variable compensation effective October 1).

And we ask that each of you continue working as a team, providing the best service you can to your clients and colleagues, and helping us to drive outstanding business results. Remember, the better the business does, the better we all do.

Thanks for everything you’re doing to build KPMG’s reputation as the best firm to work with, and to contribute to our success!

Reactions are welcome at this time.

UDPATE: Henry Keizer lays it down for the audit side of the house and while rosy (nearly identical wording as noted in the comments), there’s no specific “larger” or “much larger” language which may be of concern:

With the first half of FY2011 in the books, I want to provide you with an update on the firm’s performance and share information about our plans for employee compensation.

I am pleased to report that the firm is ahead of plan for the year. This is great news, and a direct result of your contributions. And, while there is still a lot more work to do, we are confident that, working together, we can finish the year in a strong position. We have good traction in the marketplace and anticipate that the demand for our services and skills will continue to be strong.

So what does this mean for compensation? As we have said in the past, our philosophy is that as the business does well, we will share those rewards with our people. And, assuming we stay on plan the remainder of the year, this year’s compensation pool will be enhanced compared to last year.

We know that rewarding and recognizing our people is critical to fostering a high-performance culture, so you can be sure that we will continue to meet our commitment to provide an attractive and competitive total compensation package that differentiates exceptional performers with superior rewards.

And we ask that each of you continue working as a team, providing the best service you can to your clients and colleagues, and helping us to drive outstanding business results. Remember, the better the business does, the better we all do.

Thanks for everything you’re doing to build KPMG’s reputation as the best firm to work with, and to contribute to our success.

Tax people – anything to report?

Compensation Watch ’11: KPMG Transactions and Restructuring Services May Get Some Extra Love

From the mailbag:

Thought y’all might be interested in hearing about a practice specific mid-year salary adjustment announced today [Monday]. Transactions and Restructuring (aka Transaction Services/TS; 750 people nationwide) had a national update call today during which, the partner in charge, Dan Tiemann [a Top 25 Consultant, no less], announced that he is very close to having firm leadership approve a mid-year comp adjustment for up to 5% for all members of the practice.

He mentioned that he is aware of the PwC iPad program and the Deloitte midyear raises and that it’s time that KPMG (well, at least the T&R practice) did something as well. This is in addition to the staff bonus program announced before xmas, and will be in addition to merit raises/incentive comp later this year

He said he’s well aware that somebody who wants to leave for a salary bump (as myself and many of my colleagues are considering) will not be deterred by a paltry 5%, but that he thinks the practice needed to do something to “show appreciation” for those who have sacrificed weekends and vacations during the past few months.

As our tipster notes, this is not yet approved by the brass but notes that “the recent barrage of defections” may have been a motivating factor. Also, our source doubted that anything like this would occur for large practices like audit or tax, “there is hope for the rest of advisory or other specialty practices.” If you hear any hopefulness for your practice – advisory, speciality or otherwise – email us.

Bonus Watch ’10: Some McGladrey Employees Are Getting Impatient

Last month, we shared some bonus news with you courtesy of McGladrey that included a couple of extra days off (including tomorrow), access to baby/pet/parent sitters and yes, there is money involved.

Maybe because there are only less than two shopping days, some people are getting impatient:

Well, it’s the morning of our last day of work before the holiday break and employees still don’t know if they are getting a holiday bonus. It was stated to us bonuses are back but no communication has been sent out. What are they waiting for? Many people are on vacation already since we are off Thursday and Friday. Is Santa going to deliver it to each of us individually?

You think they could communicate that. Or maybe you have to be a hot shot partner to get a bonus. I for one know I will be pretty pissed off if there is no bonus, especially after the company wasted all that money on a 144-foot cake that went to waste earlier this year.

They can talk about how great we all are and what we have to do in the coming years but it’s all hogwash if they don’t give us a bonus. I know one thing, Steve Tait [former President of RSM McGladrey] would have made sure we got bonuses…will C.E.?

– Disgruntled in McGladrey Land

We have three main points here:

• Ranting about “no bonus” after a lengthy email from C.E. Andrews and Dave Scudder explaining that there would be bonuses could easily misconstrued as “psychotically cynical” but perhaps there have been broken promises in the past. If so, we haven’t been made aware of this.

• The email C.E. and Scuds stated “the pool will grow based on our year-end performance,” and “In January, we will be introducing a new program to provide real-time recognition and monetary rewards,” so maybe “nice” is virtue in Minnesota but “patience” obviously isn’t.

• We hate to break this to you but Santa Claus will not be delivering your bonus. Santa Claus is not real.

Big 4 Auditor Respectfully Requests an Audit of Big 4 “Compensation Studies”

From the mailbag:

Hey Caleb,

So recently I was found out that KPMG will be conducting a compensation study as to whether or not we are in line with “market” and the effects of the results, if any, will be announced mid-January. This came as the result of the follow up on the Mid-America senior council meeting. Apparently the question was raised in this meeting about why KPMG employees weren’t receiving bonuses similar to the other firms [Ed note: We received the following message prior to the announcement of KPMG’s new bonus program that we reported on Friday.]. During the follow-up call it was told that a “compensation study” was being performed.

I always hear all of the Big 4 talking about how they did a compensation study and found out they were in-line with the market but obviously after all of the posts about compensation raises and bonuses nothing seemed to be consistent. My question to you is where are all of these supposed studies done by the Big 4? They say they perform them but do we actually see them? As an auditor I’m inclined to ask where is the supporting documentation? We don’t take our clients word that they have $50 million in the bank we have to agree that to something, so why don’t we get some proof of this study or in your experience with goingconcern have you actually ever seen results of these studies?

Thanks,
Disgruntled Employee

Dear Disgruntled,

We understand your frustration with regards to these so-called compensation studies. To directly answer your question, we have not seen any of these studies nor do we know how the firms commission them. (If you are familiar, get in touch.) The transparency of the process, as you rightly point out, is virtually non-existent. While your call for more information regarding these studies may get some attention and even a brief consideration, don’t expect any “supporting documentation” in the near future. Keeping the compensation sausage recipe secret is advantageous for the firms and since “in-line with the market” is another way of saying, “right in the meaty part of the curve” people have very little room to complain.

Now, if it appears that one firm say, PwC, is compensating employees in a more generous manner than say, KPMG, the only way to conclude that for certain is to speak to a recruiter who talks to employees from both firms. Sure you can mine the comments of posts here or read Bob Half’s salary report to get an idea of what’s what but if you want to know the actual compensation disparity between two firms (especially for your skill set), you’ll have to do a little digging for yourself.

So, do you have the right to be annoyed by the lack of information around these studies? Of course. But don’t expect an in-depth breakdown firm by firm to be presented at your next townhall or webcast.

Holiday Bonus Watch: Deloitte Advisory

What the hell is in the water today?

FYI – “Select” resources in Northeast Advisory are getting notified that they will be getting a small holiday bonus (ranging from $500 – $2000) in their next paycheck.

Happy Holidays 🙂

If you’re not “select” feel free to get Grinchy in the comments and if you are, then go but an iPad.

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 [email protected] 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.

Big 4 Manager Needs Help Determining If He Is Underpaid

Welcome to the squelch-the-tryptophan-withdrawals-with-cyber-Monday edition of Accounting Career Conundrums. In today’s edition, a Big 4 manager is pret-tay sure he is underpaid. How can he broach the subject with a partner without causing major blowback?

Need career advice? Want gift ideas that will score some points with a boss in your life? Wondering where you can find an old PwC backpack? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll sniff out a deal or a homeless person.

Back to our short-changed manager:

I was wondering if you could provide advice in how to determine if I am being underpaid and if I am how to go about asking for an increase? I am a 1st year Manager for a Big 4 firm in Kansas City. I have been with the same firm/office my entire career sans a 2 year secondment I completed in Dublin just in August. In addition, to having my CPA license I also hold the CFE certification and the CFA charter.

My feelings for asking for a raise are based on the additional certifications and knowing that my salary as a 1st year Manager is less than what 3rd year Sr. Associates were making in my office 2 plus years ago. I know the economy has changed during the subsequent 2 years but still feel like I am not fairly compensated. What advice do you propose? I am nervous about sharing my thoughts with my Partner as I am afraid of a potential backlash. Thanks in advance.

Dear Alphabet Soup,

Think you’re underpaid, huh? Seems to be theme around here. However, your situation is more unique than most so we’ll make a run at this.

First thing we noticed about your situation is that you’re a M1 which means you were recently promoted, which also mean you should have just received a better-than average raise. And we’re more than a little skeptical about your assertion that a SA3 is making more than you. That would have to mean that SAs are getting insanely good raises while you – the newly promoted manager – got an abysmal one; it seems unlikely. If this in fact the case, then you’ve had a serious string of bad luck.

As for determining whether or not you are underpaid, we suggest you speak to a professional recruiter in KC to find out whether or not your credentials and international experience or currently undervalued. If the recruiter takes a look at your résumé and starts drooling, you’ll know that he/she can earn a fat commission placing you somewhere else. If they shrug and say, “Look friend, you’re doing pretty well. But let me tell you about this great opportunity…” then your salary is probably fair.

When it comes to talking to a partner about this, be sure you’re speaking to someone you trust and just be honest. Make your case with facts. Don’t go speculating about what a SA3 is making because that turns the conversation to something that is out of your control. Highlight your credentials, international experience and why they bring value to the firm and your partner.

They’ve heard the “I’m underpaid” sob story a million times. You’ve got to prove to them that your case is an exception to the run-of-the-mill bellyaching.

Grant Thornton’s New CPA Policy: Bonuses and Requirement for Promotion

Grant Thornton rolled out some policy updates today related to obtaining a CPA (full email after the jump), including some impressive bonuses for its newest employees (hired after April 15, 2010). The largest available is $10k if you happen to be of the Elijah Watts types and “are among the top 10 candidates earning the highest cumulative scores on the four sections of the CPA Exam in the country.”

Other bonuses include:

• $5k for passing all four sections within one year of full-time hire.
• $3k if you pass within 18 months of full-time hire.
• $7.5k for those in the top ten in their state but not good enough for national recognition.

The firm is also paying a small bonus ($1k) for current employees who have epicly failed so far but��������������������exam between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011.

While most people easily get hung up on the money aspect of things, the bigger change is the requirement for new employees (again, those hired after April 15, 2010) to have passed all four sections of the CPA prior to being eligible for promotion to Senior Associate. That goes for both audit and tax employees.


We covered CPA exam policies in a couple of posts earlier this year and the only other firm that has this requirement is PwC for the audit practice. The tax practice requires a CPA for promotion to manager.

So some pretty interesting developments at GT and it seems to be a fair transition – from a timing standpoint anyway – as those hired in the last six months can hardly find their ass with both hands, let alone be ready for a promotion to SA. But again, this is major policy change going forward and GT is, at the very least, making the case that they will be holding all of their associates to a higher threshold of performance than firms that don’t have such requirements.

Sound off your support or displeasure in the comments on the bonuses or promotion requirements below. And for the non-GTers out there, what do you think of your firm’s policy? Does it need updated to keep the pace with GT’s move? Are changes in the works? Keep us updated by emailing us at [email protected].

Policy update
Important information regarding CPA licensure

At Grant Thornton, we are a dynamic global organization that is committed to making a difference to our colleagues, clients, the profession and our communities. As part of our commitment to providing our clients with distinctive service and the highest quality, I am pleased to announce two important changes effective immediately.

Introducing the CPA Pass Bonus
It is our goal to continue to attract intellectually curious, talented individuals to our firm and to encourage them to pass the CPA exam and earn their license as soon as possible. As such, I am delighted to announce that Grant Thornton will now offer a CPA Pass Bonus.

Grant Thornton will pay professionals who joined the firm as entry-level associates from campus on or after April 15, 2010
· $5,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam prior to or within one year of their full-time date of hire

· $3,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam within 18 months of their full-time date of hire

· $10,000 – For those who are among the top 10 candidates earning the highest cumulative scores on the four sections of the CPA Exam in the country

· $7,500 – For those who are recognized as earning the highest cumulative scores on their initial sitting for the four sections of the CPA Exam within their state and were not national winners

To recognize a transition within the spirit of the new policy, Grant Thornton will pay a one- time “catch up” to experienced associates through senior associates

· $1,000 – For passing all four parts of the exam, if they pass during the August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011 time period only

CPA requirement for promotion to senior associate
In addition to paying a bonus to those passing the CPA exam, the firm has made the decision to require audit and tax employees to have passed all four parts of the CPA exam in order to be promoted to senior associate.

For employees hired on or after April 15, 2010

· This new promotion policy is effective immediately.

For employees hired before April 15, 2010 or as experienced associates and senior associates:

· Employees who have not yet passed the CPA exam will be “grandfathered” under our current policy. In that regard, we encourage all individuals currently at the associate 2 level or above to pass the CPA exam within the next 2 years. However, they must be a licensed CPA prior to being promoted to manager.

For additional information, please see the CPA Pass Bonus Policy linked here.

If you have any questions about either of these changes, please contact your practice leader or local HR professional.

Lou

Do Women In Accounting Get the Shaft When It Comes to Pay?

Ed. note: delirious from a cross-country move this past week, AG mistakenly switched around percentages. This has been corrected and she will be meditating on the matter hoping for forgiveness.

A recent Mergis Group survey reveals 47 percent of women in accounting are less than content with compensation and the always popular with the ladies work-life balance, leaving us scratching our heads wondering who these 47 percent are (we already know plenty of the 53%). If any of you are in that group or know someone who is, please get in touch, we’re desperate to connect with a woman in accounting who actually feels appropriately compensated for her work and redeemed by the challenges of her career while rewarded with a perfect balance of work and family. Seriously. Anybody?

Anyway, the details from the survey if you are still interested:

Women are less satisfied with the progression of their accounting and finance careers than men. Specifically, 60 percent of male workers in accounting and finance consider themselves to be satisfied, as opposed to 47 percent of women.

Women in accounting and finance ranked being challenged (31 percent), compensation (25 percent) and flexibility (15 percent) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their career.

On the other hand, men in accounting and finance ranked compensation (32 percent), being challenged 26 percent) and flexibility (15 percent) as the most important factors to satisfaction in their career.

Mergis breaks down these results further, pointing out that women in accounting and finance are more than generally upset with the challenges and opportunities offered to them. Hey, they don’t say “it’s a man’s world” for nothing.

“Based on the findings of our Women in Finance survey, more than half of the women surveyed are dissatisfied with the progression of their careers and nearly three-quarters believe they face a separate set of professional challenges in comparison to their male counterparts,” stated Patricia Dinunzio, regional managing director of The Mergis Group. “While there are certainly many different viewpoints in how workers in general define career satisfaction and success , it is interesting to note that both men and women are highly likely to recommend the profession to others. One of the greatest take-aways from this survey is that there is a clear need for mentorship programs within the profession. It is our personal and professional responsibility to enable existing and future accounting and finance professionals to achieve their full career potential. Doing so will only contribute to the future development of the profession.”

My 2¢? The profession – and your career – is what you make of it. Mentors don’t just come along and decide to kick down their knowledge, you’ve got to get out there and find one. We don’t need the AICPA to set up play dates with young CPAs and OGs of the industry in order to accomplish this; instead need to take matters into our own hands if we are upset with how things are working out at the moment. In other words, get off your lazy ass and stop expecting everything to be handed to you, go out and get it if you don’t think you have enough of it.

The disparity is greater between generations than the sexes if you ask me but who is asking me?

Full survey results and methodology may be found here. As always, you are welcome to submit your opinion on surveyed subjects in the comments.

Some People Are Wondering When/If KPMG and Ernst & Young Will Ante Up

From the mailbag, courtesy of an E&Y senior associate:

I work for EY. Roommates are Deloitte and PWC. I’m hearing from the PWC employees that in addition to a holiday bonus, as well as a March compensation adjustment similar to Deloitte’s, PWC is also giving their employees the last two weeks of December off without requiring them to use their vacation days.

Thoughts on whether EY or KPMG will ante up? Hot topic at my client site today as you can imagine 🙂


Before we get to E&Y and KPMG, it should be noted that PwC is really playing hardball here. A quick recap:

Mid-year bonuses that include an option for an iPad. Steve Jobs hater or not – that’s a cool bonus.

• Rumors of poaching seniors in Chicago and New York.

• New Yorkers given the option to shovel Thanksgiving sustenance at a Manhattan location to be named later (btw, we really want to know where, so get in touch with details when known).

• iPhones are now available and Christmaskuh festivities return.

Now there are rumors of a merit increase in March and two free weeks of time off? This is quite the run of employer gratitude. We won’t say “unprecedented” but it is an impressive show of generosity.

Maybe PwC has gone on this offensive because they had a kick-ass first quarter. Or maybe it’s because they lost the number one spot to Deloitte and they still want everyone to know that they’re still capable of equating love with money. OR maybe they’re trying to make people forget about Logogate. Whatever the motivation, the firm is throwing money around with the gusto of Charlie Sheen and they are getting a relative amount of attention for it.

Now, then – Ernst & Young and KPMG. Maybe these two firms are spreading the wealth on the Double-DL but if not, TPTB have to be aware of the what the competition is up to. If not, maybe someone should clue them in. Regardless, there has to be heat to act in some way.

One explanation for the House of Klynveld is that the fiscal year just ended, so it is too early for leadership to communicate “the great first quarter,” thus rationalizing a mid-year bonus. If KPMG comes out to soon with the news, they risk the “Monkey see” effect.

As far as E&Y is concerned, we’re stumped. They have the same fiscal year as PwC and should have a pret-tay good idea how Q1 went. Now that PwC has made the first move, any action by E&Y is going to look reactionary .

So for the E&Y and KPMG crowd – you clearly have some expectations for something but are you hearing anything about mid-year bonuses or will the belly aching continue into the holidays? Discuss below and get in touch with details.

Bonus Watch ’10: PwC Announces Across the Board Mid-year Bonuses

We reported last week about a rumor that PwC would be paying bonuses and making salary adjustments this December and we now confirmation of the bonuses, courtesy of an email from PwC’s Bob Moritz.

BoMot that thanks to a solid first quarter, the firm would like spread a little wealth around in the form of $1,000 bonuses for “client service and IFS” employees who were with the firm prior to June 30, 2010 and $500 bonuses for those hired after June 30.


The firm is letting employees choose their “recognition payment” from one of the four following options:

• Net payment of $1,000/$500 included in the December 15 pay cycle.

iPad

• Visa gift card

• $1,000/$500 charitable contribution to the PwC Foundation in your name – Aka the PwC Human Fund

In addition, Roberto informed everyone that the spot and bonus pools are being increased across the firm. There was also the standard words of encouragement, repeated “thank yous” and whatnot. The email appears in its entirety below.

So, P. Dubbers – doesn’t look like a mid-year salary adjustment but it beats a sharp stick in the eye. Discuss your contentment or your undying resentment in the comments.

Recognizing your contributions
Thanks to your efforts in providing quality service to our clients, our first quarter results are showing a strong revenue increase year over year. We all should be proud of these results. We’ve supported one another, served existing clients and stakeholders at the highest levels of quality in an extremely competitive environment, and won new work–all achieved through delivering the PwC experience and the new brand promise!

Rewarding your efforts
Because your efforts helped us drive our results, we want you to share in the rewards. Last month I told you that we have taken the results of our top-line growth and have begun reinvesting in you through our holiday time off and celebrations, in-person training events, and more. To further acknowledge the role you have played in our success to date, every staff member–both client service and IFS–will receive an after-tax “recognition award.” Those hired prior to June 30, 2010, will receive $1,000. Those hired on or after June 30, 2010, will receive $500. We debated whether the recognition payment should be in the form of cash or a gift, and concluded that you should decide. So, every staff member can choose from one of the following:

An additional net payment of $1,000/$500 to be included in your December 15 pay period.

Order from several versions of the iPad (total value of iPad and gift card will depend on whether you’re eligible for the $1,000 or $500 gift award).

A Visa gift card valued at $1,000/$500 to use for the holiday season, vacationing , technology gadgets or anything you’d like to purchase for yourself or others.

We will make a $1,000/$500 charitable contribution to the PwC Foundation in your name.

More details to come shortly on each of the options above, as well as how to choose your recognition via a special website.

Increased bonus pools
In addition to the benefits we announced previously and the recognition award mentioned above, we have also decided to increase our spot and bonus pools across the firm, enabling us to better recognize and reward those individuals who are truly delivering for our clients and driving our results. As our top and bottom line continue to improve, we are committed to sharing those results with you. Shortly, you will be hearing from your LOS on how these increased bonus pools will be earned and rewarded over the remainder of FY11.

Increased hiring to help your workload
You’ve been working hard, and we recognize that monetary rewards and compensation are only part of the value you look for from your PwC experience. You have told us that personal and professional development, career advancement potential, peer and team relationships, and even having a little bit of fun along the way, are also important to you. We want you to know that we are also working hard to relieve some of your workload through our increased hiring efforts. In fact, to help lighten your load, we’ve hired more than 1,400 new experienced people in the first quarter alone (for comparison, we hired a total of 1,725 in all of FY10), increased our campus recruiting from last year and are bringing resources to our practice from around the world. Many of you played a key role in bringing in that new talent, whether referring people, interviewing potential candidates, or on-boarding new people. Again, we thank you for those efforts and encourage you to keep them up. We will continue hiring resources to support our current and future needs as we look ahead towards achieving our long term goals, while also providing appropriate work-life flexibility for you.

Thanks for all you do
Again, on behalf of the partners, I want to recognize you for all you do for your teams, our clients and other stakeholders. To me, this demonstrates the power of 30,000 people coming together to build relationships and add value for our clients and one another–delivering on that new PwC brand promise! The fact is, you are making a difference, and our collective efforts are paying off.

Join me on Wednesday!
I look forward to speaking with you on Wednesday at 3pm ET during our third firmwide Town Hall webcast. If you haven’t already, check out the blog and help your colleagues get ready to put me and the LOS leaders on the hotseat with your questions.

In the meantime, I look forward to continuing this journey of success together!

Regards,

Bob

The Latest Results from the Deloitte Mid-year Salary Adjustment

Deloitte Raises 2.0 rolls along with the latest news from New York and Cleveland. Continue to keep us updated.


New York:

I am a senior at Deloitte based in New York.
Our engagement partner and I had a brief meeting- a 8k raise for seniors.
The second year was told a $5k raise for his level.
My manager also spoke to a partner and was told a $6k raise.
Nothing for new hires and senior managers.

There will not be a retrospective adjustment to pay us more for the past two months as if the increase happened in end of August.
The increase is effective starting 11/1/2010, meaning the first paycheck to reflect the increased pay will be 11/12/2010.

Cleveland:

1st years – $0
2nd years: $2,500
All seniors: $4,000
All Managers (excluding sr. managers): $3,000
Sr. Managers and up: $0

UPDATE – Friday circa 12:50 pm:

The latest from Houston:

2nd year: $3,500
Seniors: $5,000
Manager:$6,000

Some Early Returns From Deloitte Salary Adjustment 2.0

As you’re no doubt aware, last Friday Deloitte made the announcement that the market for audit salaries had been misunderestimated and a second adjustment was going to be communicated to opiners this week.

Checking with a source inside Deloitte, we’ve heard some of the preliminary returns:

I have heard rumors of 5k in Hartford and 4k in Chicago for Seniors. But nothing to prove them out. The general range I have heard though is 2kish for 2nd years and 5k for seniors.


No word at at this point on what managers are receiving, so if you’ve gotten the news, let us know below.

The question now is – was all this hoopla worth it? Granted it’s early but if the range is in the ballpark, there’s likely a few people that are simply, “meh.” On the other hand, maybe if you got called in for another meeting to be told that you’re getting an extra $2k – $5k you might be really flippin’ stoked. However, many people will likely remind you to get some perspective.

Either way, the tax practice is feeling short-changed and advisory is too busy rolling around in their cash-filled bathtubs to care.

Discuss the situation at present and keep us updated with the adjustment news just as soon as your sit-down is over.

UPDATE – 12:45 ET: This just in:

Deloitte experienced assistant from South Florida – $2k for audit assistants, $5k for seniors.

total raise for the year with comp adjustment – 8%. Could be better but could be the original 4% I got in August…

UPDATE – crica 2 pm ET: The latest:

Miami: 2nd years: $2k, Seniors: $5k
Parsippany: 2nd years: $5K Seniors: $8K Managers: $6K

Compensation Watch ’10: Deloitte Wants to Keep Up with the Joneses

Or the Kylnvelds, Ernsts, Coopers (aka “c”). Take your pick.

From the mailbag:

All staff just received a voicemail from the firm stating that they will be performing a salary adjustment for all staff 2nd year through manager as they have realized the marketplace is providing different salaries than expected and would like to stay competitive. No word on amounts, one on one meetings with partners are occurring in the next week.


This little Friday Surprise was brought to you by Carlos Sabater (listen to the full message below) and the salary adjustment will be for audit professionals only. We’ll definitely be interested to hear what comes out of the meetings next week so keep us updated.

Reactions welcome.

Listen to voice message here

In-Demand Accountant Wants to Know If He Can Ask His Prospective Big 4 Firm for More Money

In today’s edition of “I’d like advice from a bunch of strange accountants,” an experienced accounting associate is interviewing with the Big 4 and wonders if makes sense to waltz in, slam their fist on the table and demand more money.

Need some advice on your next career move? Want some pointers on how to win that coveted item at your local IRS auction? Having trouble with the law and wonder if you should share it with someone your firm? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll get you on the road to sobriety in no time.

Back to our prospective Big 4 associate with dollar signs in their eyes:

I will be going on a job interview with one of the Big 4 firms (currently employed with a large national firm), and they are interviewing for experienced associate/senior associate position. I have experience in an industry their office has a large need for, but not all the candidates to fill it. Even though I am a senior associate at a smaller firm, and may come in as a experienced associate, does it make sense to ask for a pay increase from what I am currently making? I will be relocating to another market, but I would assume the markets are comparable. Just wondering if anyone may have some thoughts on the salary I should be requesting.


Always about the money, isn’t it? Very well, then.

You’re with a large national firm which means you’re near the high end of the accounting salary range already. This doesn’t exactly help your negotiation for a higher salary with a Big 4 firm. To take that a step further, the Big 4 aren’t exactly the negotiating type. The range of salary at the Associate/Senior Associate level isn’t a huge and if you come in at a higher salary than your peers, you’re likely to be on the short-end of merit increases come merit increase time (as this is SOP). Plus, it’s unlikely that your work experience to date will impress the firm you’re interviewing to the extent that they’re A) begging you to join the firm and B) they’ll throw thousands of extra dollars your way (not that it makes that much of a difference).

All right, now that we’ve mercilessly shot you down, you’re ready to hear some good things – if the firm you’re interviewing with really has a need for your experience, it is likely that they are willing to pay you more. If you can demonstrate in your interviews with the partners and managers your knowledge and accomplishments, they will let HR know that want your hot auditing (or whatever) ass ASAP. And that’s the key – what do you offer that the clowns that started with the firm don’t? Run-of-the-mill statements like, “good work ethic, do what it takes” blah blah blah won’t do anything for you. Have you already reviewed other’s work, supervised staff, etc, etc? Differentiate yourself in substantive ways. Make that firm want you for what you bring to the table.

Bottom line: you probably won’t get to “request” your salary, you’ll simply be made an offer. But if you can present your coveted experience in a way that will make your interviewers crave you like Kardashians crave cameras in their faces, coupled with a jump to the higher pay scale of the Big 4, you’re likely to be happy with the salary they offer you.

Big 4 Manager Would Like Staff to Get Some Perspective Re: Raises

Now that compensation season has passed for the major firms and most of the belly aching has died down, we’ll present some thoughts from a friend of GC and a Big 4 senior manager who shared the following with us earlier in the summer.

Hey Caleb,

A few of us were talking today at lunch about compensation and how we like reading how much everyone bitches about what % raise they got and what they feel they should have been entitled too. An A1 thinks they deserve a $10,000 raise, and that would make them happy, c’mon give us a break?

It is easy to understand this is a prime area to feel you have been cheated in, however, we thought it might be interesting for some net dollar coeffect, for those complainers who feel they were cheated with their raise %.


Interesting idea, we thought. Our muse suggested the following assumptions: 1) 40% tax rate – federal and state combined 2) 24 annual paychecks.

Our friend/source continues:

Would be interesting to see and shed a different light on a cash pay basis what the real difference is in pay for those who think they got cheated from a 8% raise and only got 6% or something, does the $35 per paycheck really require a personal vendetta or hours of frustrated Facebook status updates? Probably not.

My guess is that on an after-tax, per paycheck basis, some of these raises are equivalent to cutting out the morning Starbucks run, or latest iTunes download.

So we decided to dust off the Excel skills and crunch a few numbers to see if our Senior Manager friend was onto something.

We took a humdrum salary of $70k and applied the 8%, 6% comparison and tabled it:

Salary $70,000 $70,000
% Raise 8% 6%
$ Raise (Annual) $5,600 $4,200
Taxes withheld 40% 40%
Net Raise $3,360 $2,520
Bi-monthly # of paychecks 24 24
Net $/paycheck $140 $105

BFD you say? You got a 6% raise while some clown who couldn’t audit their way out of a paper bag got 14%? Fine, we’ll take a look at that too:

Salary $70,000 $70,000
% Raise 14% 6%
$ Raise (Annual) $9,800 $4,200
Taxes withheld 40% 40%
Net Raise $5,880 $2,520
Bi-monthly # of paychecks 24 24
Net $/paycheck $245 $105

So let’s say you’re the average shmo with the 6% raise and your friend/sworn enemy is getting the 14%. Are you really spitfire pissed that you’re missing out on $280 a month? We’re not talking life-changing sums here. If you’re consistently average over your career, maybe this will add up but hopefully your better sense will grab ahold and you’ll either A) step up your game B) move on with your life C) eliminate the competition (not condoning violence here, just pointing out that it’s a variable in the equation and maybe that it’s an option).

Rebuttal? Agree? Let it rip.

Making Sense of Robert Half’s 2011 Salary Guide

Robert Half rolled out its annual salary guide today (available for download here) and they’re saying that “compensation for accounting and finance professionals should see commensurate gains” with the “slight uptick in financial hiring,” that RH predicted last month.

You could interpret this as exciting news since “slight uptick” beats the hell out of the consistent “disappointing outlook” that we’ve seen over the ars.

Anyway, Roberto reports that for most positions, salaries rose anywhere from 1% to 3% but if you’re the type to sell out to the highest bidder (you know who you are) you’ll be most interested in the following:

• Senior business analysts are expected to see the largest boost in base pay in 2011, with their average starting salary rising 5.0 percent to the range of $66,500 to $85,500.

• Projected base pay for tax accounting managers at midsize companies ($25 million to $250 million in sales) is $69,500 to $92,500, up 4.9 percent.

• Starting salaries for financial analysis managers at both large (more than $250 million in sales) and midsize companies are predicted to climb 4.8 percent; senior financial analysts at midsize companies are predicted to see their base compensation rise to $60,000 to $78,000, a 4.7 percent increase.

• Senior compliance analysts at small companies (up to $25 million in sales) are anticipated to receive starting salary offers between $58,750 and $75,250, a 4.1 percent increase.

• Average starting salaries for tax services senior managers and directors as well as senior tax accountants at midsize public accounting firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales) are expected to climb 3.9 percent in the year ahead.

• Base pay for senior auditors at midsize public accounting firms is expected to range between $62,000 and $81,750, up 3.8 percent over 2010 levels.

• Within financial services, compliance managers can anticipate a 4.4 percent gain in base pay, to a range of $64,500 to $89,000.

Emphasis is Bob’s. What do these numbers mean? Honestly, not much for anyone that is happy with their current job situation. However, since compensation news season has more or less ended, those that are not happy with the news they got this year will be looking to the hot positions. A little bit of our own digging and impressions are as follows:

Corporate Accounting
Mining through the report, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many surprises. If you’re looking for a Corporate Accounting gig, something with “Controller,” “Director” or “Compliance” in the title is going to have some of the highest salaries.

If you jump down to the rank and file you’ll find that if you’re a tax, IT or audit maven, then you’re likely to do better than your average humdrum general/cost accountant.

Likewise, an “analyst” of any stripe will have a little more earning power than your average non-analyst, although “Financial Analysts” saw a larger bump in salary than its fellow non-financial analysts.

Public Accounting
Salaries for tax, audit and “management services” are surprisingly tight with audit on the low end followed by MS and then tax. This is consistent across all levels (i.e. associate, senior, manager, senior manager/director).

Also noteworthy is that public accounting salaries keeps pace with the in-house gigs at their relative corporate ladder levels. For example, an audit manager at a “Large Firm” makes only $4k less than a Internal Audit Manager at a “Large Company” and actually does better than many analyst positions at the “manager” level.

In other words, if you’re considering a lateral move, DON’T. You likely won’t make more money and you may end up making less. If you’re dying for changing, this of course means that you’ll have to find your way into a position that is a step above your current job to get a significant boost in salary.

You could argue that based on the data, this report at gives a lot of credence to the “Staying Until Manager” when it comes to salary and entry into a top-level position. As for practical experience, that’s a debate for another post. And based on our traffic numbers, accountants are all about salaries.

Robert Half Releases 2011 Guide to Accounting and Finance Salaries [PR Newswire]

More KPMG Comp News: For Some In Chicago, Expectations Are More or Less Met

Some of you may have heard enough KPMG compensation news but judging by traffic patterns, most of you have not. And reports are still coming in, so it’d be a disservice to keep you in the dark.

The latest news out of Chicago:

This info is for Chicago, Audit. Most of us had our talks Thursday or Friday, however I hear that some are still continuing into Monday.

A2 to SA1, SP+ rating, received 10% raise and 2% bonus. Same level, EP rating, received 13% raise and 5% bonus. I am also finding out that SP vs. SP+ has no difference at all. This is based on a salary of $56,000 which was our original starting salary (also included a $5000 sign on bonus) as we received no raise last year. This is pretty much in line with what the now S2’s received over the past couple years, as they got 5% raise after their first year and 5% raise for being promoted to senior last year when everyone’s salaries “stayed flat” as my partner put it. What I would really like to know is what A1’s to A2’s received, as last year they had the same starting salary and bonus as what I began with, so they were essentially making more than A2’s for an entire year due to the bonus.

SA 2 to SA3, EP rating, 8% raise and 5% bonus. My managers also don’t seem to excited, but I obviously did not ask them what their actual numbers are.

I believe everyone on my team feels this is what they expected raise wise, but are rather disappointed with the bonuses. Some additional information, raise numbers are consistent across all business units within the office.

It’s also our understanding that convos are still going on in New York this week, so continue to keep us updated.

The Latest on KPMG Compensation: Been Better, Been Worse

Just a quick follow-up to our earlier post on KPMG compensation. There’s been a fair amount of bellyaching about the less serious comments on the thread so we’ll alleviate some of the bitching with reports from trusted sources:

Senior associate promote in West advisory, SP+ rated, 11% raise, 3% bonus. Raise was higher than expected but bonus was definitely lower than what I thought it would be. It was explained to me that the 11% is inclusive of the promotion bonus so it’s really 5% promotion + 6% merit

And back on in the East:

NY Metro M1 to to M2: 10% base increase, $2,600 bonus, SP+ using 9-box system.

We understand that there are still sit-downs going on so do keep us updated.

Earlier:
KPMG Gives Green Light to Start Pretty Disappointing/Pleasantly Surprising Conversations

UPDATE:
Apparently some Klynveldians (we hear in NYFS) will get the esteemed pleasure of sweating this out through the middle of next week. We also had a mini-Flynn close to the situation inform us that “1st year managers can’t be exceptional performers [highest rating in the House of Klynveld].” Keep the tips coming in.

KPMG Gives Green Light to Start Pretty Disappointing/Pleasantly Surprising Conversations

This just in (late on Friday):

Heard from a partner in our office, corroborated by the HR manager, that they can officially start having comp discussions with employees starting on Monday, 9/27.


So if you’ve got a scheduled sit-down or call today to have a little chat, let us know how it goes and spare no details. This includes – but is not limited to – percentage raise, bonus, your subsequent tirade (or jubilation) to hearing the news, any explanation that your messenger offered to make you feel better, the number of people crying in conference rooms, etc. And if you too shy/ashamed to share, just email us and we’ll update the post.

UPDATE:

This is just in:

Multiple partners in my office (including a sit down meeting with all senior associates) have floated numbers from 8% to 12-14%. We’ve been told Hearing that we will be “pleasantly surprised” by the numbers and that they will be higher than what Johnny V said this summer. Partners have received the comp numbers but have NOT yet been given the green light. Later today is the plan.

Discuss.

UPDATE 2: The latest from a Southern KPMG office:

SP: 5-7%, 2% bonus
SP+: 7-12%, 4% bonus
EP: 10-14%, 6% bonus

Range is attributable to prior year ranking and individual performance. For example, there may be a “really good” SP+ who was an SP last year, who may get 12%, or a “barely there” SP+ who was an EP last year getting 7%. Needless to say, morale is fairly high.

Also, all practices and divisions are having “EOCircle” events, which are small events ran by the partner. Mine is occurring at a bar, for example, for a happy hour. These are occurring this week.

UPDATE 3, September 28th:
Early reports are in:

I’m an SP+ SA3 (I was an EP each of the last few years) and got a 6.7% raise with a 2.5% bonus. I know an SP+ SA3 who was an SP/SP+ (no differentiation in prior years) who got 10.3% bump with a 2.5% bonus. We are now both making the same. It looks like the percentages were relatively correct but that the bonuses are slightly below what was originally communicated to us.

Experienced Associate Concerned About New Hires’ Salary; Is Having a Sit-down with a Partner a Good Idea?

Today in accountant avarice, a youth took a cut prior to their start date last year and now wonders if this year’s crop will be raking in more. Will bringing injustice to a partner’s attention help?

Have a question about your career? Need help crafting the perfect prose in an email to your firm’s CEO/Managing Partner? Are you a firm thinking about getting a makeover but don’t know where to start? Send us an email to [email protected] and we’ll give the best free advice you can possibly find.

Back to our accountant in the poor house:

I work at a regional firm for about one year now. Prior to my start date my offer was reduced due to the economy. After recent discussions with the partner, I was told that I will be getting a “raise” but even after the bump, my new salary is below my original offer amount. Is there any chance, new hires coming in can make more than I, because my revised offer seems below market and I think my firm will be offering higher salaries to the new hires to remain competitive? Also, should I bring this up to the partner’s attention because I don’t think that they know my salary has been reduced and how would I go about doing this?


First, before we answer your question more directly, we should point out that worrying about what other people are making at your firm will drive you crazy. But because of the world we live in, knowing whether a co-worker is making more or less than us is a God-given right, we understand your desire for this knowledge.

As to whether the new grasshoppers at your firm are making more than you, we suggest checking out our salary thread from late last year, our map that shows salary by region and this year’s Big 4 starting salary thread to give you an idea where you fall on the scale.

But the short answer is, yes, it is possible that your first year associate is making more than you.

Now, what to do about that exactly? Well, before you scream at the cruel and unusual universe for being completely unfair to you, do your research and get a really good idea of what you think you should be making. Nothing will get you thrown out of a partner’s office faster than, “I need a raise because I said so.”

But market research may not be enough. You’ll need to demonstrate to the partner getting your pitch why you’re a valuable resource for the firm and point to specific accomplishments that support your argument. As a second-year associate, that can be a pretty tough sell.

What have you accomplished in the past year? Are you making it rain? Are you a trusted go-to on anything and everything for your clients? Are you involved advancing the firm’s brand and culture and mentoring other colleagues to do the same?

Partners like to hear about all that stuff because A) it gets their blood boiling in the nether regions and B) it means that you care about making them (i.e. the firm) more money and advancing its reputation.

So yes, you can bring your concerns to a partner but be prepared to sell yourself all over again because it’s a “what have you done for me lately?” situation.

Compensation Watch ’10: Is Anyone at KPMG Getting Impatient?

It’s bad enough that KPMG is the last of the Big 4 to announce their compensation numbers.

But here’s the real problem Klynveldians – now that the Fighting Irish have blown two big games, two weeks in a row, to two Michigan rivals, John Veihmeyer is desperate for a Lou Holtz pep talk which means watching the old man on TV. This also means suffering through the shallow diatribes of the horrendous Mark May which we don’t wish upon anyone. But that’s a whole other matter.

What concerns us is whether J. Veih manifests his frustration by going back on his word on merit increases and bonuses from earlier in the summer. While this would be unprecedented show of loyalty to Touchdown Jesus, it probably wouldn’t do much for the morale of the firm.


Gridiron failure aside, it’s our understanding that more than a few people are getting antsy over the compensation news and now that KPMG has announced the new partners, the only thing left is to share the shockingly good or heart-wrenchingly disappointing news to all the mini-Flynns.

We invite those with first-hand knowledge, well-researched theories or wild-ass guesses to share their thoughts on KPMG’s eagerly awaited compensation news. And of course, keep us updated with any weepy communication from John. That is, if he managed to get out of bed this morning.

SHOCKER: CFOs in New York Make Good Money

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Thomas Dooley, CFO of Viacom, received a total compensation package of more than $26 million in 2009. John Killian of Verizon Communications made a lot less–a mere $9.6 million. And Ian G.H. Ashken of Jarden Corp. got $9.5 million.

Those fellas are the three highest paid executives included among the 25 most richly compensated CFOs in the Big Apple, according to a list just published by Crain’s New York Business, drawing on data from compensation research firm Equilar.

Indeed if you’ve been wondering how CFOs in big New York-based companies have fared during these tough times, the answer seems to be: pretty darn well. The lowest paid on the list, Laurence Tosi of the Blackstone Group, made a mere $4.6 million. Second to last Adena Friedman of Nasdeq OMX Group: $4.8 million.


The biggest jaw dropper, however, is Dooley, who received $10 million in non-equity compensation and $10 million in stock awards. That, in fact, is somewhat of an anomaly among the group members. Generally the CFOs received a hefty sum in either non-equity compensation or stock and option awards, not in both. (An exception is Colm Kelleher of Morgan Stanley, who made $9.4 million but got zip in both non-equity compensation and stock/option awards. He did, however, get a $64 million bonus).

Also noteworthy: About nine of the executives received these breathtaking compensation packages even though the company had a net loss from 2008 to 2009. Gregory Hughes of SL Green Realty Corp., for example, made $6.1 million, while the company had a loss of 84.9 percent. Pierre Legault got $4.9 million even as the corporation had an 82.8 percent loss.

Of course, this pay isn’t typical of the compensation at most companies. “These CFOs are going to get paid more than your typical CFO, simply because they’re in a large metropolitan area and a large company,” says Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar. According to Boyd, a recent report on CFO compensation among the S&P 500 found median pay to be around $2.5 million.

Hey I’ll take it.

Comp Watch: Deloitte Advisory Breaks Double Digits

The news from the House of Salzberg continues to roll in; following the news from the audit practice yesterday:

The Deloitte advisory P/P/D group had a call today discussing the raises for this year. The raises will run between 5%-15% for anyone rated 1-3. 4s will get no raise. The breakdown will be based on level, promote status, rating and some potential variable factors to determine percentages. Most likely staff and seniors will get the best raises, as they are most likely to bolt once bonuses (AIP) are paid.

No word on what bonuses are, as this can vary much more on a person to person basis.

Tax practice was supposed to have their call this morning; was there a mass hari kari or a riot?

(UPDATE) Compensation Watch ’10: More Deloitte Results Lag E&Y, PwC

From the mailbag:

Managers in the Northeast for Deloitte had their compensation call today, raises for [audit] senior promotes (2nd year to 3rd year) are confirmed at 5 to 9 percent, depending upon rating. 1st year to 2nd year are 2 to 5 percent, depending upon rating. Experienced seniors are 4.5 to 6.5 percent with bonuses from $3k to $7k depending upon rating.

This is materially flat year over year for Deloitte. Although they are giving bonuses and raises to experienced seniors which did not happen last year.


So this is similar to the news from the Midwest we reported on Friday which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the country who may have been hanging on to a sliver of hope for PwC/E&Y-esque numbers.

Discuss and keep us updated.

UPDATE, August 18th: This just in:

Confirmed on audit senior compensation webcast this morning:

Base salary increase for New Managers by Rating:

1 – 24%
2 – 23%
3 -18%

Base salary increase for Experienced Seniors by Rating:

1 – 9%
2 – 6.5%
3 -4.5%
4 – 0%

Bonus for Experienced Seniors by Rating:

1 – 7k
2 – 5k
3 – 3k

Base salary increase for 1st to 2nd year staff:

1 – 5%
2 – 3.5%
3 – 2%
4 – 0%

Base salary for new hires will not change from prior year.

Annnnd discuss.

Compensation Watch ’10: Early Returns from Deloitte Are In

The first reports of Deloitte raises for audit professionals have come in from the Mid-America Region:

I’m surprised to see absolutely nothing posted about Deloitte raises. We have had the raise discussions in my office for staff and seniors, no double digit raises in sight. AIP (bonus) for Seniors and above. Managers- TBA.

Mid America Region- it’s looking like 2-9% for staff/seniors. AIP is supposed to be in the range of 2-12%, but that is the range for both seniors and managers. I spoke with a friend in another office in my region and their raises are looking pretty consistent, if not lower. Starting salaries are frozen- start classes from fall 09, 10, 11 will all at the same rate.

This is the earliest word we’ve received and comments have suggested that more news would come early next week. The tax practice still has their town halls next Tuesday but that could be to explain the numbers if in fact they are similar to audit’s.

So this could be a John Kerry-esque exit polls effect or maybe this is a sign of things to come. Either way, if you’ve gotten word, discuss below and keep us updated with any developments.

Starting Salaries for The Big 4 Class of 2010

Per a request from our earlier post on full time offers for interns:

Hey Caleb,
I think it would be interesting to start a post on full time/internship compensation offers that have been rolling in and will continue coming to students for the next few months. Are the firms trying to lower starting compensation?

And a reader considering a mid-tier offer:

I am going into my fifth year this fall at a large university in the Southeast. I recently received an offer from mid-size firm to the tune of $49k, no signing bonus, and no CPA bonus (firm policy). My question is, in this market, is that what students are being offered in public accounting? I would just love to know what my friends at the Big 4 are getting! Because of these numbers, and me not being sure about whether or not I want to work for them, I am tinkering with the idea of going through another recruiting season. Do you think it’s a bad idea to keep this mid-size firm waiting?

So then. For those starting this fall in the Big 4, kindly enlighten the requesters with 1) your starting salary 2) your office 3) practice 4) signing bonus (if applicable) 5) Bonus for CPA (if applicable).

And give your thoughts on the reader’s question – should they keep the mid-tier firm waiting or take what they can get?

Or the commenter – are salaries looking lower from previous years or are the A1s already making A2s jealous?

All This Talk of Deloitte’s “Double Digit Growth” Has People Wondering

On Monday we learned that Deloitte Tax had a STD and now there’s more chatter about the firm’s performance that could maybe, possibly affect comp for this year:

A new set of video blogs came out from the northeast regional managing partner. He announced double digit growth in perdiods [sic] 9-13 of FY10 and a plan for “continued double digit growth through FY11”. I know everyone is getting antsy over compensation (discussions are supposed to take place beginning next week, with raises hitting on the 9/3/10 payroll), and they keep dropping comments about “substantial raises” and “double digit growth.”


So while some people remain skeptical, it appears that Deloitte is warming you up the troops for a nice surprise next week. Deride if you must but can Dr. Phil & Co. really afford to come in with lower raises than PwC and E&Y?

For a firm that talks like they’ll be numero uno in a few short years, it would be pretty embarrassing to bring in some paltry raises while the firm they’re chasing managed to make it up to at least a few of their people. Discuss the latest and keep us informed.

Compensation Watch: Deloitte Tax Sets a Date

Rejoice Deloitte Tax Troops. Your wait is nearly at an end, although from the sounds of it, you might be disappointed:

Word from our office tax managing partner has been that the compensation pool for raises is about 4-5%, which I think is going to make a lot of people pretty unhappy. But I guess with all the rumors out there and with Deloitte being the last of the Big 4 to release comp numbers, they decided to hold this forum. I’m expecting the same song and dance (weak revenue, highlighting all the other benefits besides comp) to try to stem the tide of people leaving. Since January, we’ve lost about 15 people (at all levels) out of about 110 in our office tax practice, and I doubt the news regarding comp will keep others from jumping ship.

Who: All US Employees

What: Overview of FY11 US employee compensation, including:

• Review the objectives and strategy of our compensation program
• Review the components of compensation
• Review the FY10 annual incentive plan
• Review the Tax compensation process and next steps
• Answer your questions

When: Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time: 8 am to 8:30 am –regional compensation town hall
8:30 to 9:00 am -optional local office debrief with practice lead

Depending on how the town hall goes, the “optional” debrief could be an extremely interesting discussion. If audit or advisory have receive similar communiques, send them our way and we’ll continue to keep you updated on the countdown.

Comp Watch: Early Returns at Ernst & Young Keeping Pace with PwC

So far there are several reports of low to mid-teens and some as high as 20%, which some simply don’t believe.

We do have some specific details for assurance associates in New York and they don’t sound terrible:

NYC first year associate went from $55k to $64k, associate raises [are] coming in around 11-18%


So if you’re keeping score at home (and we know you are) it appears that the partner at E&Y who prognosticated that raises at his firm would beat PwC’s Raises appears to be right in some cases but perhaps not all.

Sooo, Ernie troops – are you happy? Disappointed? Suicidal? Ready to jump ship? Or calling your friends at PwC to brag how you’re keeping the pace? Discuss.

Earlier:
Are Ernst & Young and PwC Neck and Neck in the Compensation Race?

AFP Survey: Financial Staff Salary Growth Outpaced CFO’s in 2009

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Salaries of financial executives and their staff continued to outpace national averages in 2009, and raises were also larger than other white-collar professionals. But the pay of lower level finance professionals outpaced those of CFOs and other senior-level types.

Average annual salaries for financial professionals increased by 2.5 percent in 2009 and were 13 percent above the national average, according to the Association for Financial Professionals’ 2010 compensation survey.


But like other workers, CFOs, treasurers and their staff also enjoyed smaller salary growth than what they had been used to. The average salary increase for financial professionals in 2009 was a full percentage point below the average increase reported in 2008. Salaries went up 3.4 percent in 2008 and 4.5 percent in 2007.

But in previous surveys, executives and management-level financial professionals earned the largest salary increases, but that wasn’t the case in 2009. Instead, staff-level financial professionals experienced the highest salary growth, with a 2.7 percent increase on average compared with 2.5 percent for executives and management.

On a more granular level, budget analysts averaged the highest base salary increase within staff professionals, with a 3.4 percent increase. Treasurers saw the highest average increase of all senior executives, with a 3.2 percent boost, and assistant cash managers received the highest average salary increase within the middle management tier, with a 3.8 percent increase, also the highest increase of all positions.

With high losses at banks and the prospect of regulatory changes impacting Wall Street as well as great technological innovation in 2009, financial professionals in the Western half of the US earned the most, although those in the East had earned the most in prior years. Financial executives at technology companies earned the most in 2009.

The latest AFP compensation survey also found that the economy had almost no impact on bonuses of financial professionals. In 2009, 71 percent of organization awarded incentive-based compensation bonuses to financial professionals, down four percentage points from 2008. Incentive pay in 2009 was stable at about 14 percent of base salary.

Compensation Watch ’10: The Teasing Continues as News from Deloitte Inches Closer

By now everyone is borderline freaking out due to Deloitte partners’ ability to remain coy throughout this process, using words like “substantial” and “better than last year” which, considering the love shown last year, is ironically accurate.

Annnnnnddd it continues. A source dropped us part of an email from Nick Tommasino, Deloitte’s Chairman and CEO of audit and enterprise risk services:

Understand your compensation package
• Deloitte provides a comprehensive Total Rewards package, which is designed to:
· Attract, retain, motivate, recognize, & reward high-performing talent
· Demonstrate the value of individual contributions as it relates to business performance
• When your individual compensation discussions occur in mid-Aug, keep in mind these main financial components of the Total Rewards package:
· Base salary
· AIP*, aimed at eligible high-performing seniors, managers, & senior managers (Reminder: AIP payouts will be subject to taxation & 401k deductions)
· Rewards & Recognition program, which includes Applause Awards, Outstanding Performance Awards, Promotion Awards, & Service Anniversary Awards
• Key compensation dates include:
· Mid-Aug: Compensation discussions begin
· Sun, Aug 22: New salaries effective
· Thu, Sep 2: Updated compensation statements available on DeloitteNet
· Fri, Sep 3: New base salary & AIP award amounts reflected in pay statements available on DeloitteNet

The motivation behind such a message is subject to interpretation. Some may think this is a friendly reminder (one of several, no doubt) of the upcoming discussions OR it’s a friendly reminder that doubles as a reality check that this isn’t 2005-2006.

Meanwhile, in the consulting part of the house, one commenter is claiming that news is going to be extra good, courtesy of some Punit Renjen prognostication:

Punit said “Compensation will be highest in history” via video for Consulting…

So who knows! The good news is that you will know soon enough but numbers remain a mystery. Unless someone finally coughed up a range. In that case, we strongly encourage that you share.

(UPDATE) Comp Watch ’10: Ernst & Young Numbers Coming Out This Week?

Last time we checked in on E&Y in the comp department, convos on promotions and ratings were to have gone down by last Friday. That appears to have happened right on cue and now we’re told that starting this week, the numbers will be coming down from 5 Times Square:

Latest regarding compensation (exact $ amount) in both FSO/New York and Northeast/New York regions is discussions should start today and run for 2 weeks. Big push right now in all business units to try and appear to care about people; people advisory board members have been reaching out for ways the firm can improve.


Feel free to speculate as to why the “caring” and “reaching out” is happening at this particular time of year (and if the Facebook downloading is at all related). Also, if you’ve had the talk and have great/disappointing news to report, do share or get in touch with us.

UPDATE: Word is that meetings are still being had this week and the numbers are still good. One source (Manager) in the assurance practice reported a 5 rating and a 21% bump. Not too shabby.

Compensation Watch: Deloitte Advisory Can Expect ‘Substantial’ Salary Increases

From the mailbag:

Just got off an “All Hands” call for Deloitte Advisory (not Audit). TPTB said to expect “substantial” base salary bumps for staff and seniors, but that they are moving toward a “base+bonus” structure for managers and up. As such, the bulk of the increase in salary pool will be to staff/seniors.

I dont know what that means – it would sure be nice to see 12-15% percent, but I dont think that is being too realistic. Whatever the case, I doubt there will be bonuses for staff/seniors like you saw at PwC. They bandied about a “$36MM” number a couple times, but that is really irrevelant without a discussion of the distribution.

People are sure giving a lot of credit to PwC. Maybe firing out of the gate was a way to put pressure on everyone else but don’t forget, not everyone at PwC is thrilled with their compensation season.

We aren’t expecting official word out of Deloitte for awhile but in the meantime, feel free to speculate on ‘substantial’ and keep us updated.

Compensation Watch: McGladrey < McDonald's?

One unhappy Mickey G’s employee would like to get something out there:

Now that salary adjustments have been communicated to employees, many are griping at McGladrey – and for good reason.

More than a few people are grumbling about the recent golf signings and ridiculous sports marketing platform as well as the fact the company spent money on a 144-foot cake, but only gave thousands of people 1 to 3% raises.

Combined with the fact that no one got raises last year, and with inflation, rising costs of benefits and everyday living expenses, well, many employees are not too happy about this slap in the face. Let one thing be said, if you are not looking out for yourself with this company, then you are doing yourself a disservice. The company doesn’t care about you, they only act like they do.

The great place to work platform is BS – it’s a marketing crock.

McGladrey? Heck, I’d rather be McLuvin and at work at McDonald’s…they treat employees better.

Earlier:
Compensation Watch: McGladrey Promises That the Good Times Will Keep Coming
Compensation and Promotion Watch ‘10: Discussions at McGladrey Starting Soon; Forced Ranking in Effect?

Compensation Watch ’10: KPMG Puts Some Ballpark Figures Out There

Since it’s Monday in late July (and many people probably had one old fashioned too many last night) we figured this day would have gotten off to a slow start. Well, we’re in luck! KPMG comes roaring out of the gate today with a little compensation update from none othercall me Rudy” Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer.

The news? Well, the promotions bonuses have caused some belly aching so the boys thought they would give you a sneak peak at what you can expect come merit increase time:

Update on Our Plans for 2010 Compensation
A Message from John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer
8:19 AM ET, July 26, 2010

In April, we told you that there would be compensation increases for the great majority of our people and, assuming KPMG meets its FY10 plan, higher bonuses than last year for EP performers, and bonuses for higher performing SP employees as well. Now, as we head into the fourth quarter, we would like to provide you with an update on this matter. As you view this information, please keep in mind that compensation increases are determined on an individual basis, and reflect each employee’s role, skills, performance, geography, and experience, among other factors.

· Merit and Promotion Increases – For employees who are not being promoted, we expect SP performers will receive merit increases that will range from the low to the mid-single digits; EP performers will receive increases up to the high-single digits and in rare cases double digits.

In addition to any merit increases, employees who have been promoted should expect to receive a promotion increase of approximately 5 percent, with one exception: newly promoted CSD Managers should expect to receive a promotion increase of approximately 10 percent.

· Variable Compensation – The FY10 pool for variable compensation will be more than double what it was last year. This means that EP-rated employees will generally receive bonuses that are significantly higher than those of last year. In addition, approximately the top half of our SP performers will also receive variable compensation awards.

Please keep in mind this information is preliminary. Final compensation decisions will be made based upon our full-year results, so the ranges above could be adjusted based upon our firm’s performance between now and September 30. But, consistent with our commitment to keeping the lines of communication open, we wanted to share with you our best current forecast about these important matters.

In line with our compensation philosophy and our focus on a high-performance culture, we remain committed to sharing the rewards of the firm’s financial performance with our employees and providing a competitive total compensation package that differentiates exceptional performers with superior rewards. As we have said before, the strong foundation we have built within the firm, as well as our near- and longer-term business prospects, make us very optimistic. But to finish this year strong and begin FY11 on a positive track, it is critical that we continue to drive a high-performance culture by doing our best work, providing the highest-quality service to our clients, growing our business, and operating efficiently.

Thanks again for your continued hard work and for all you do to help our firm succeed!

So now that you have that to chew on for your last Monday in July, feel free to discuss the “low to the mid-single digits” for the strong and “high-single digits and in rare cases double digits” for the exceptional. And if you’ve got thoughts on the variable comp pool, you can go there too, if you like. Keep us updated.

Show Me the Money: Six Tips to Getting the Raise You Deserve

Ed. note: The following post was submitted to Going Concern by a reader who wished to remain nameless. The author works at a “local” CPA firm somewhere in this great land of ours.

The topic is actually very amusing and can cause several different angles over the almighty dollar. As an American culture, we seem to be quick to talk about the personal financial well being enclosed in our own homes. The items that separate the big dogs from the goldfish are numerous. Below are the reasons why I am a big dog and why you need to show me the money.


Know who you’re trying to convince – People often equate success to dollar figures, and I personally think salary or raises don’t always speak of high ethics or quality of a peords of caution are: know how your boss judges success. My boss judges it on money. The buck stops at that point. Therefore, when I spoke of my personal salary to him, I adjusted my strategy accordingly. He always talks with me about how he is doing personally, and how he is doing better than people at his level. This is due to the amount of responsibility and client base he possesses. Therefore, I changed the pace of my conversation so my point of view mirrored his. I brought up the point that the work I do helps him with his client base, and that my level of responsibility is more than a vast amount of my peers. As such, my salary should be adjusted accordingly.

Have the math to prove your position – Being in public accounting, we deal with numbers every day. Therefore, I made a spreadsheet that listed out changeability and realization (for those who don’t know, we bill by the hour). My numbers are then compared against my peers and when they are, statistics don’t lie. I am a big dog swimming with mostly fish. Point is again related to your audience in a way they can understand you. Accountants love numbers.

Tout your level of responsibility – I manage a large client base so the partner I report to doesn’t have to get involved as often as most. The reason for this is because I have set up and maintained client relationships so the client calls me instead of the partner. The clients understand that this is cheaper for them and also job security for me. When you do this, you make yourself more marketable and the partners see me as someone that his clients trust. With those client relationships come higher dollars. You have to separate yourself from your peers by going above and beyond. If you want to do the average and be a run of the mill employee, then expect the run of the mill pay.

I am involved in the community – By coaching little league football at a well known church, I interact with parents that might need a CPA firm to help them with tax issues or own a business that might need accounting services. Also by doing this, it shows the firm that I have no problems interacting with successful business people and can help them in various situations. I can grow the firm by doing this. Again, my peers don’t involve in the community as much as I do. This should be financially rewarded. I have an interest to bring in business, and should be compensated because of it.

I can leave this at any time – If my boss did not give me a descent raise, I was going to quit. I saw the storm coming, and therefore did all that I could prior to my salary evaluation. Quitting a job without another one lined up is a dumb move and would put my wife and me in jeopardy. I had (have) a job currently lined up and I could take it in a heartbeat. Therefore, I had my ducks in a row when I started to see the storm brewing three months ago. Always have a current résumé.

Be ready for the rebuttal – I know my weaknesses and had to be ready to discuss what I was lacking. I have not passed the CPA exam yet and that’s a huge drawback in my profession. So when I went in there, I had to tell him where I was in the process. Him knowing that I am taking care of it and not blowing it off, gives him a piece of mind that I am not average.

Case in point, just saying you want a raise and basing it off “because your deserve it” would make the employee look uneducated and should be embarrassed. You need to have a firm understanding of the reasons to justify your pay. In a pinch, always look at numbers. There is a reason 2+2=4 and will never equal 5. In a tough economy, you better have everything straight prior to walking into the boss’s office. When the economy settles, I’ll be expecting another sizable increase. If not, I will be very upset and will repeat the mentioned steps.

Compensation Watch: Anxiety Continues at Deloitte

Why? Because the partners seem to be pretty good at keeping a lid on things:

[N]o word on raises or communication of raises- all I’ve heard from some partners is “they will be better than last year, but not as good as they have been in the past”, I know most people around here are starting to get anxious.


As we mentioned on Friday, PwC and E&Y have been having a pissing match of sorts but only P Dubs has dropped actual numbers. E&Y will be coughing up official word in a couple weeks-ish or so, but Deloitte? Our understanding is that D’s comp news won’t be known for another month.

Some vets of the firm are used to it. Like GuestDT:

This is really just the blueball conversation for most people – there are a handful who will get unexpected drop in rating or not promoted, but most of that stuff is hinted at as we plan for the next audit year. This is the time of year to go to lunch and hear your counselor say, “Noone’s really said what compensation will be…” But you do get a free lunch.

But the NKOTB are more anxious. D&T 1st Year:

We’re all sitting on our hands as we see managers coming out of counselor meetings crying because they didn’t get promoted to SM. Worse yet, being a 2nd year next year will be rough as we are all going to be senioring our jobs as there are no seniors left. Look out 5th years, you might be senioring again next year too.

So what to do (besides console your emotionally unstable manager)? Start tickling partners until they cough up some ballpark figures, pull out a dartboard or just drop your best guess below.

Compensation Watch ’10: Grant Thornton – Was It Worth the Wait?

Hard to believe that it’s been nearly two weeks since we first wondered out loud about the waning patience at GT. From the Blagojevich Circus grounds:

GT is releasing salary info across the US this week. Can we get a thread going about it?


Preliminary reports are looking bleak, per the last thread’s comments, including

Just had my fears confirmed…comp adjustments will be throughly disappointing. So much so that the partner charged with communicating those adjustments is stressing. That’s a great sign, right?

And:

a 5% raise and i am a 4 overall. grant thornton can watch their firm progress with one less person…

AND:

I could wipe my ass with the raise I got. Actually, I better not wipe my ass with it, it may be the only I can afford bread and water

Oh. Dear. So here’s your fresh thread – spread your joy/misery/reactions to your comp news below.

Are Ernst & Young and PwC Neck and Neck in the Compensation Race?

From the mailbag:

I heard some scoop and wanted to share with my fellow indentured servants in the big 4 field. Word on the street is that P-dubs gave 10% raises to staff 2s becoming senior 1s (early promote) and 16% raises to staff 3s becoming senior 1s.

However, P-dubs doesn’t hand out the 5k bonus that Uncle Ernies offers to its staff 2s becoming senior 1s. I’d like to see how EY will top this, per an earlier promise from a partner that EY raises will be higher than P-dubs (maybe can some low performing partners?). In addition, the variance between average performers and high performers at P-dubs is only .6% (not significant at all).


If you forgot what this is referring to, back in April we reported a tip out of the Ernstiverse that a partner had claimed that the raises at E&Y would beat PwC’s. The reports out of PwC have been better than expected, although not for everyone.

So if this partner’s prognostication holds up, how will they pull it off down the stretch? Seems like a good question. Conversations are going on right now and the official news will reportedly be out in a couple weeks.

Since we’ve got half of the Big 4 involved here we’ll just mention that the belly aching at KPMG is in full force on the bonus front but maybe there’s hope for a strong move down the stretch?

As for Deloitte, apparently communication has occurred for promotions but it sounds like word on comp could be more than a month out. If you’ve got the scoop get in touch with the details and discuss this four horse race but as it stands right now, it looks as if PwC has E&Y by a nose.

(UPDATE) Promotion Watch ’10: Grant Thornton Admits 22 New Partners/Principals

From a voracious reader of Stephen Chipman’s blog:

GT just announced the admission of 22 new partners/principles notably 5 from NY, 5 from Alexandria and 3 from NC – 9 from audit 3 from tax and 3 from advisory


Yes, we realize the numbers don’t work but we’ve confirmed the details we’ve got. We hear there’s an email floating around out there so if you’ve got it handy, fire it our way.

We also heard that comp news has finally gone out so kindly report below or shoot us the details.

UPDATE – July 14, 2010: We received a copy of Stephen Chipman’s email which we’ve presented here for your reading pleasure.

Internal distribution only
Partner/Principal Admissions
One of the highest and most visible forms of demonstrations of stewardship within a partnership come thorough admitting new partners and principals. This represents a critical underpinning for our continued vitality and success. It is within this context that we are pleased to announce the following individuals will be admitted to the Firm as partners or principals, effective August 1, 2010.

Having outstanding partners and principals is an important differentiator for our Firm in our ability to serve our clients with distinction. Each of these professionals has demonstrated their dedication to making a difference – to our clients, to our profession, to our communities in which we live and work, and to our Firm. Their commitment is reflective of personal responsibility, sacrifice, and accountability which we now pause to recognize.

Please join us in congratulating them on this significant recognition of their contribution and in wishing them continued success as partners and principals of Grant Thornton.

Stephen

And here’s a further breakdown of the promotions by service line:

Global Public Sector – 5
Transaction Advisory Services – 2
Corporate Tax – 2
Audit – 9
Corporate Advisory and Restructuring – 2
Corp. Strategic Federal Tax Services (can some demystify this acronym?) – 1
State and Local Tax – 1

And by city:

Alexandria – 5
NYC – 4
McLean – 1
Kansas City – 1
Cleveland – 1
NY – Melville – 1
Charlotte – 2
L.A. – 1
Raleigh – 1
San Diego – 1
Denver – 1
Atlanta – 1
Wisconsin (Milwaukee?) – 1
Chicago – 1

Congrats to all the new partners and principals at Grant Thornton!

Compensation Watch: McGladrey Promises That the Good Times Will Keep Coming

Just last week we learned that compensation discussions at McGladrey were going to be occurring in the coming days and weeks and it appears things got rolling right away and there are even some numbers to report:

We just received correspondence from national regarding our Firms performance and a cryptic breakdown regarding upcoming comp discussions [memo after the jump].

Furthermore, they have begun the comp discussion process in the southeast. Apparently the partners received official compensation breakdowns for each employee either Wednesday or Thursday of this past week. A newly promoted senior itheir discussion already and he received a 11% raise and $1k bonus.

To circle back to correspondence from C.E., I think it’s particularly insulting that he mentioned that “this year, as in previous years, we will continue to follow a “pay-for-performance” approach when it comes to individual compensation”; Interesting how there were people who received 5s last year who received a 0% raise in 2009, and those promoted received what amount to an inflation adjusted raise-just under 4%.

So 11%/1%? Thoughts anyone? If you’ve received your numbers, report below.

It’s also worth noting the following from C to the E and Dave Scudder, “In spite of a very weak economy, we held our own. We had several unique one-time charges that impacted our profitability (see Rene’s financial update on The Point for more details). Without these, our pre-tax margin would have been essentially flat with last year.”

So “we had a pretty solid year if you ignore a few major things,” is more or less an echo from the H&R Block press release that we saw late last month. In case you forgot, those one-time charges include costs associated with the little divorce and reconciliation between RSM McGladrey and McGladrey & Pullen as well as a goodwill impairment charge.

Despite the tough year, leadership assures everyone that the good times will continue to roll at Mickey G’s, “You’ve seen a number of exciting announcements in the last month, and let us assure you that the good news is going to keep coming.” In other words, more golfers that aren’t Natalie Gulbis and plenty of refreshments.

McGladrey Comp

Promotion and Compensation Watch: Ernst & Young Communication to Come Eventually, Someday

Straight out of the Bubba Gump Shrimp location up the street from 5 Times Square:

Ernst & Young, Financial Services Office, NY
Received communication that our annual ratings were finalized and discussions between counselors and counselees to occur by July 30. Promotions are still not final, but promotions and compensation will start to be communicated in August (to be effective October).


So t-minus three weeks (give or take a day here or there) until “you’re not going to be disappointed with raises” which apparently could mean that they will make PwC’s raises look like chump change (for auditors anyway).

BUT! In case you need a refresher on the numbers so far: 3-5% is what we last heard for those in the meaty part of the curve. No word on what top performers are getting but speculation is welcome. Keep us updated.

Good News Bosses: Lots of Employees Are Satisfied with Not Being Fired

This story is republished from CFOZone, where you’ll find news, analysis and professional networking tools for finance executives.

Here’s one thing you don’t have to worry about: whether your employees care a great deal about getting a raise. Looks like they’re not all that focused on their pay, as long as they can keep their job.

A recent study asking employees to rate contributors to job satisfaction conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that compensation dropped to number five for the first time since the organization started doing the survey eight years ago. It was number three on the list last year.

But top on the list of contributors was “job security”. That outranked such choices as “benefits,” “the work itself,” “opportunity to use skills,” and “feeling safe in the work environment.”


What’s more, a new contributor to job satisfaction, “organization’s financial security”, also outranked compensation, placing fourth on the list.


It wasn’t always thus. In 2006 and 2007, compensation was the winner. In fact, in 2006, 67 percent of respondents picked that as the most important factor in job satisfaction. In the most recent survey, just 53 percent chose pay.

Apparently, that attitude is not shared equally among all levels of the organization, however. Job security ranked at the top for non-management and middle management employees. But it didn’t make the top five for executives, who chose “the work itself” as the number one contributor.

Other data indicates that it’s probably a good thing employees are less focused on pay than they were in better times. According to a survey of small businesses by SurePayroll, a Chicago-based payroll processing company, the average paycheck dropped .4 percent year-to-date. June marked the first month this year with negative year-to-date paychecks. In fact, pay hasn’t been this low since October 2005.

The bottom line: Quite simply, for most employees, it’s the job, stupid. And that means wage pressure is unlikely to require employers to raise prices to maintain margins anytime soon.

Inflation? Where?

Compensation Watch ’10: Is Anyone at Grant Thornton Getting Impatient?

Because “early July” becomes “mid-July” in about two days and some people would like to get this over with:

“Just as an update to GT’s “early july” announcement about raises. It hasn’t come yet, but some have been told that they’ll be getting promoted (I’m guessing seniors and managers) and were told that National is still trying to figure out what they’ll be.”

So you can take that as “Chipman and Co. are stuck in an epic game of Risk and can’t be bothered at the moment” or something else entirely if you like. If your anxiety level is at double-Lexapro levels or if you’ve heard something other than the earlier rumors, discuss below.

Apparently a Few People at PwC Are Feeling Shortchanged

The PricewaterhouseCoopers compensation post is still a hot thread, as the majority of news was about double-digit raises and bonuses have been reported from many although at least one commenter was skeptical that all the news was good in the PwC world:

“[P]robably the people most willing to share are the ones who got the most $.”


That comment was in response to someone who assumed PwC was throwing around “1” ratings (the firm’s highest) like boomies at a Phish show. Of course, not everyone can be so lucky and apparently there are a couple of terms being thrown around by the less fortunate.

Late last week a source close to PwC dropped us the following:

“Fonus”– noun; the much-diminished bonus Big 4 firms give to borderline staff they can’t afford to pay properly, but don’t want to quit.

Not to be confused with the ‘nonus,’ which is no bonus at all.

Apparently these terms have emerged this week as fonuses started appearing in people’s paychecks.

So not to worry “as expected” staff that can’t afford to quit your jobs! If you ended up with the 6%/0% instead of the 14%/10% or whatever, whathaveyou, you’re not alone! Plus, there are some fun terms you can throw around to help you bitch about it. Continue to discuss and keep us updated with any other fallout from the discussions – verbal creativeness or otherwise.

Comp Watch: Sit Downs Starting at Deloitte; Anxiety Over Raises Picking Up

Lots of news this week on the compensation and promotion fronts with Grant Thornton, KPMG and PwC all making announcements or soon-to-be making announcements (that we’ve heard; are you holding out on us, E&Y?).

The latest out of Deloitte is that the discussions are starting (although maybe not today since it sounds like most are off) but the news on yay or nay on promotions is starting and now the anxiety around comp will increase over the next two month:

The year-end ratings and promotion decisions have been approved by National; so the process of communicating both to Deloittians is starting…At a high-level, I heard that promotions this year were tough – that being said, plenty of people made it through. For the most part, people are now waiting to hear about comp – scheduled for communication the last two weeks of August.

We did hear one rumor about the number of new partners expected, “at a recent partner meeting, it was announced that there will be more than 60 new PDPs nationally, with more than 10 being in the Northeast,” so you can toss that around your meat-ingestion fest this weekend if you so choose.

Discuss your epic/tragic news re: your new promotion if you’ve received word and keep us updated on the comp rumors.

Compensation Watch ’10: Rumors at Grant Thornton as Announcement Approaches

From the depths of 666 Third Ave:

In New York:

Associates look to come in at almost $10k less than they did in 2007
Senior 3’s are looking to make almost $10k less than Senior 3’s in 2007
New Managers are looking to make almost $15k less than New Managers in 2007
Senior Managers are looking to make almost $15-20k less than Senior Managers in 2007

Raises (without promotion) are looking to be:
3% for employees rated under a 4
6% for employees rated a 4 or 5

Our source indicates that these are all rumors at this point but based on the last Communique de Chipman, the official numbers should be known soon (“early July”).

In the previous thread lots of numbers were getting thrown so who knows; maybe GT is pulling a PwC and promising low, delivering high? Discuss.

Compensation Watch ’10: PwC Starts Spreading the News in New York

It’s raining bonuses and raises over at PricewaterhouseCoopers these days. Unfortunately, all I’m seeing are news tips (monetary tips or buybacks at the bar are always appreciated). All of my sources are from the NYC office, so if you’re elsewhere in the country, please share your numbers in the comments below. Here’s what we know so far:


• Advisory/Consulting senior associate received a raise north of 18.5%. No, that is not a typo. So in the advisory practice it’s safe to assume the spread is 0% to 19% for raises this year, with the average being about 6% as reported by Caleb earlier.

• A recently promoted associate to senior associate in advisory received a 10.5% raise and a $3,000 bonus.

• Tax bonuses are being handed out now as well. Size matters in this instance, people. Cough up the details below.

This indicates that resources are being spent on what is being determined to be the right people in the right practices. Average performers should expect to receive 4-6% and take it to the bank.

Audit people, what are your numbers looking like? Email us or post your comments below. Practice/office/level are always appreciated

Thanks to everyone that is sharing information. Enjoy the weekend.