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.

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 Performance Ratings.” The 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.

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