September 15, 2019

Compensation

Here’s Your Open Thread for PwC Compensation Discussions (2012)

Now that you're all adequately prepared, the conversations that will probably make or break many at Papa Whiskey Charlie have started in earnest. We've received word that they go through July 12th, so consider this post the one stop shop for all happy dances, bathroom stall sobbing, and George Costanza-esque resignations.  

Bright Ideas: The New Jersey Society of CPAs Is Peddling a Comprehensive Compensation Report

Can I preface this post by saying I absolutely LOVE this idea? I'm not sure how many other state societies are on board with this but they need to get their butts in gear and follow the lead of NJ stat if they aren't. With the economic recovery moving forward, the New Jersey Society of […]

(UPDATE) Comp Watch ’12: PwC Auditor Wants to Load Up for His Sit-down

With fifteen days to go in the fiscal year, one capital market servant wants to go in with guns blazing:   I know some people are starting to have discussions this week at PwC on ratings (not sure of compensation) at least in the Greater Chicago Market. Mine isn't scheduled until next week, but would like to have […]

Comp Watch ’12: Credentialed Accountants vs. Non-credentialed Accountants

Have you struggled to pass a certification exam? Is your reaction to colleagues that place various three-lettered credentials behind their name on their résumés a resounding "Meh"? Not too hung up on money? Great! You won't be bothered by this at all: The average reported salary of IMA members surveyed was $109,001 in 2011, down […]

What Kind of Raise Can a New CPA at a Publicly Traded Company Expect?

Looking for the right way to tell your colleague he has a hygiene issue? Not sure if dark khakis go with that dusty blue button-up shirt? Want confirmation that you haven't sold your soul to the Devil himself? Get in touch with us and we'll do our best to help without making you cry. Hello […]

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: 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 […]

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% […]

Here Are The Most Popular Going Concern Posts From 2011

Here it is, the final week of 2011 and that means lists! Top 10. Freaky 50. Worst 100. If there's a list to be made, the Internet will provide. And since we're not immune to the power of media clichés, we'll present you with our list of the most popular posts on this here website.  […]

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]

Deloitte’s Recent Promotion Awards Fail to Impress One New Senior Associate

A “New Senior” passed along this little tip this morning:

Over the last couple of weeks Deloitte has been sending out Promotion “Awards.” I find it funny they think two years of service is worth only a $100 applause award. Honestly getting only $100 is more insulting than getting nothing at all.


On a day where Barry Salzberg is doing a happy dance in the hallways, our friend must have felt compelled to share the news of generosity. If you’re a recipient of a crisp new hundo, share your story in the comments and email us with any other cheery tidbits on the first day of autumn.

Yahoo! Exaggerates Accounting Degree’s Hotness

Check out Yahoo! on in-demand degrees, some of you might recognize #3:

Degree #3 – Bachelor’s in Accounting

The curriculum in this hot degree could prepare grads to pursue number-crunching accountant career opportunities. Courses generally cover basic accounting concepts, preparing financial statements, and research of real-life cases, according to the College Board.

Hot Factor: The numbers don’t lie. The Department of Labor projects 22 percent growth in accounting careers between 2008 and 2018. Career opportunities can include everything from working for companies or individual clients, according to the Department, which notes that the averageccountants was $68,960 in May 2010.

Click to Find the Right Accounting Program

If you follow the link to “the right accounting program,” it will take you to an email form so you can be mailed great educational matches for you, apparently.

It appears Yahoo! ran almost the same accounting advertisement before, calling accounting the #2 career built to last, with an average salary earning potential of $67,430.

The BLS says this of accounting’s unusual makeup in its report (keep in mind it was published in May of 2009):

Although accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services employed a relatively small percentage of all bookkeeping clerks, this was the second largest occupation in the accounting services industry, representing about 11.4 percent of industry employment. (See table 6.) Accountants and auditors was by far the largest occupation in the industry, with 286,110 jobs making up about one-third of industry employment. Tax preparers was the third largest occupation in accounting services, with employment of 61,160. Most of the other large occupations in this industry were office and administrative support occupations.

In that same report, the median salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $33,800. Maybe I am reading the statistics wrong but knowing a career has “an average salary earning potential of $67,430” is not the same as hearing that the national average for that career is $33,800. Yes, where you live matters. Yes, your lifetime earning potential is influenced by lots of factors that make you notably non-average, like how hard you try, what skills you pick up along the way, how good you are at playing the game…

Anyway, here’s a snip from the report to see how it all pans out:

I still don’t see how those numbers work out to this being a reason those who are desperate to work should pile into this career option.

Yes, if you are a money-hungry, elite accounting program prick (I’m not berating you, in fact I’m in love with a lot of you, your ruthlessness is hot), you will probably come out of the gate making those $33,800 losers fetch your coffee but average is just that, average.

I find it sort of reckless on the part of Yahoo! to post numbers like this without the context of actual prospects in accounting and the caliber of individual needed to thrive in the sort of environment accounting provides. I say “caliber” with the most seriousness I can muster, I assure you.

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.

Comp Watch ’11: What Do You Know, BDO?

From the mailbag:

Comp adjustments are coming out this week/ next week can you start a thread?


As we’ve pointed out in the past, BDO is probably the quietest of the top tier firms. Rarely do we get news of hookers, out-of-control happy hours or milestone awards. Sure, we got under the skin of Jeremy Newman once but he has a blog. He was asking for it.

This omertà of sorts by the rank and file has been discussed amongst the GC team and we’ve come up with this: we’vegotnofuckingidea. Not that we haven’t had the opportunity to report on the consolidation of regions or $5 Starbucks cards but the tips are so few and far between that whenever something about BDO come in, it gets us all sort of excited.

But enough about us. If you’re at BDO and you’ve had your sit-down or you’re waiting and are hearing rumors of raise percentages OR you’re simply doubtful as to Jack Weisbaum’s status as most interesting accounting firm CEO in the world, please tell us below.

PwC Announces New Categories for Distinguished, Typical, Downright Piss Poor Performance

As you may have noticed, PwC has really gone on the offensive when it comes to making changes to their compensation structure. We broke all the details for you earlier this year and one reader even shared a little spreadsheet analysis for anyone who’s into that sort of thing. More recently, we reported the (unconfirmed) details of the new Senior Associate Milestone Award which includes a getaway to the Terreana Resof is swell but there are few new details that we were recently made aware of that we’ll share with you today. First off, performance categories have changed. A tipster passed along the new buckets that you’ll be fighting to get into in FY12 and who will and will not be eligible for bonus comp:

– New performance categories are “top performer,” “outstanding performer,” “high performer,” “needs improvement,” and “unsatisfactory”

– Bonus eligble for high performer or greater. Bonus levels set by Line of Service. Line of Service will provide specific details about the business performance measures, as well as target bonus ranges for staff level and ratings.

So TP/OP/HP is what you’re all shooting for if bonuses are of interest to you. Conventional wisdom would indicate that most of you will probably fall into the unexceptional “high performer” bucket and that still gets you in the money so it’s really just the rubes that are “Needs Improvement” and “Unsatisfactory” that will be bitching about how cruel and unfair life is.

It wasn’t all business, however, Bob Moritz shared his gratitude for all your ass-busting in the past year, the ass-busting going on as we speak and the ass-busting to come:

Your role in our success
Thanks to all your efforts to deliver quality, value and the PwC Experience to our clients and stakeholders, we had a very strong FY11 and we’re off to a very positive FY12. On behalf of all the partners, I want to thank you for your role in our firm’s success.

I recorded a short video to express my appreciation and talk about the continued investments we are making in you and your career success. We began making changes back in May, including introducing new career milestone awards and increasing transparency around compensation, all designed to demonstrate the value of your career at PwC — both financially and developmentally.

Now we are bringing even more clarity to the compensation conversation with enhancements to the Annual Performance Bonus Plan. These include greater predictability in your year-end bonus opportunity and quarterly updates about how your line of service is performing against its annual business targets. Watch my video and visit the Rewards and Recognition microsite to learn more. You will hear more specifics from your line of service in the coming weeks.

These changes are all based on what you’ve said is important to you. And we will continue to listen. Keep in mind, however, that the full value of your PwC career comes directly from what you put into it. The more you take ownership of your career….solicit feedback to improve your performance….utilize your success plan to take advantage of the many opportunities here to enhance your skills and develop your talents, the greater your ability to achieve your goals and grow your career with PwC.

Ultimately, the better you are, the better we do, and the greater our ability to continue to invest in you. Thanks again for your role in our success!

So, P. Dubbersteins – do you feel that there’s “more clarity to the compensation conversation”? It’s definitely clear that most people will still get bonuses, so that’s a good thing but it remains to be seen what actually comes out of all these changes. Discuss.

Here Are the (Unconfirmed) Details on the Milestone Award for Newly Promoted PwC Senior Associates

As you may remember, we detailed PwC’s new compensation structure back in spring to much fanfare. There were lots of details but one that sounded especially interesting were the “Milestone Awards.” These are awards given to newly promoted Senior Associates, Managers and Senior Managers/Directors. Specifically for SAs, a “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 and held in an offsite, marquis location.”

We now have a few unconfirmed (due to circumstances beyond our control) details for you for this “training” including the “offsite, marquis location”:

Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes, CA (near Long Beach/LA)
• 4 days long
• For New Senior Associates promoted July 2011
• Not a training/all about fun and celebration
• Gift to new senior associates (all lines of service)
• Monday huge celebration dinner
• Small groups of 10 people
• External experts on personal finance, wellness, nutrition, etc
• Nightly fireside chats with partners
• Adventure-style activities

Weeks
1) Nov 14, 2011
2) Dec 5, 2011
3) Dec 12, 2011
4) May TBD 2012
5) June TBD 2012

Fireside chats? Like the kind with FDR? For your sake I hope Bob Moritz and/or Dennis Nally drop by for the fun, although don’t forget that Nally is done with hot yoga, so DON’T BOTHER ASKING.

And doesn’t the Terranea Resort look pleasant? It’s in California not surprisingly, since P. Dubs has had NOTHING BUT TROUBLE from the clowns in Florida. There is golf, a spa, ocean view dining, etc. etc. Here’s the photo and video gallery if you need more visuals. Of course this kind of romantic setting is perfect for romantic interludes that will allow PwC to perpetuate any incestuous master race of capital market servants they might have.

ANYWAY, it’s our understanding that these details are to be released later this month but we thought you’d like a sneak peak. Discuss your thoughts and/or envy in the comments.

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).

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: Deloitte Auditors To Get Enlightened About Results in a “High-Performance Culture”

This just in:

To All U.S. Audit staff,

Please join me on Friday, August 5 from 2:00pm – 3:15pm ET for a webcast for you, our staff, where we will discuss our Audit compensation strategy to reward for results in a high-performance culture. During the call, we will also share what you can expect for this year’s process and overall timeline. (Webcasts are being held for all Audit professionals by level to allow sufficient time for Q&A.)

I look forward to speaking with you.

Thank you.

Rick Rayson
Chief Talent Officer
Deloitte & Touche LLP

Get excited, people.

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?)

APR345
S. Mgr1%2%3%
Mgr2%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.

Bonus Watch ’11: KPMG Officially Rolls Out “Early Career Investment Bonus” Program for Senior Associates

Last month we told you that KPMG was kicking around the idea of loyalty bonuses for senior associates. Today we bring you the good news that the firm has officially announced the “Early Career Investment Bonus” which more or less amounts to a loyalty bonus.

This news was brought to Klynveldians this morning by John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer (full memo on page 2). Let’s take a look at what the boys had to say:

Here’s how it works: If you are a current CSD senior associate with a 1, 2, or 3 rating you will be awarded $4,000 to be paid on May 15, 2013, provided you are employed by the firm on that date��������������������ut it gets better. By December 31, 2011 (just prior to the earnings period), you can elect to defer that $4,000 award for one year or two years and watch it grow:

• Defer the bonus for one additional year and receive $8,000 in May 2014
• Defer the bonus for two additional years and receive $12,000 in May 2015

And it gets better still because next year the cycle starts all over again. And, the following year, it starts again! So a typical first-year senior can look forward to three ECIB cycles with the opportunity to “layer” up to $36,000 in total bonus payments by the end of the last cycle. Alternatively, participants who are eligible for multiple ECIB enrollment cycles can choose different deferment options for each cycle, giving them theopportunity to customize the timing and amount of their ECIB award to meet their own needs or particular life events, like a down payment on a new home.

Obviously the catch here is that you’ll have to endure the next few years of your life within the House of Klynveld. But to that end, it seems like a halfway decent opportunity. Some might see this as a suicide mission but if you do in fact make it to May 15, 2015, that’s $12,000 in your pocket. John and Hank even gave us a nice example:

As this example shows, it will take a pretty huge commitment from anyone looking to score all three of the cycles for the big payout of $36,000. SIX. YEARS. AWAY. I won’t even begin to try and tell you what can happen in that time frame. Obama will have finished his second term by then (assuming re-election, obv). Countless people you know who are gigantic losers will get married, have kids and then probably get divorced. Facebook (and many people on it) will be dead. I’LL BE ON THE CUSP OF MY 40s. Get it? This isn’t exactly around the corner, people.

All told, this is a pretty progressive idea put out by KPMG and it seems better than the Above and Beyond awards which were a total flop.

So HoK, what say you? Got any career moves planned in the next two years or you sitting tight for the $12k? Anyone feel like the firm will take the opportunity to guilt those that don’t defer the bonus? Does anyone know if this in addition to any annual incentive comp? Discuss.

KPMG Loyalty Bonus

Are Ernst & Young Employees Looking Forward to Their Performance Discussions?

Since this feels like one of those days where everyone is at a ball game or is so hung over that they can’t operate their email, I’ll share the latest news from the mail-cum-money bag:

@EY – Just got an email saying we need to meet with our counselors before 7/31 to discuss annual review. I doubt any comp info though.

Even if these chats don’t involve any numbers, they may be useful in one of two ways: 1) It gives cranky employees the opportunity to fly off the handle because this last busy season was a special kind of personal hell and that no amount of money can possibly make up for that. or 2) It may be the perfect time to inform counselors about what kind of numbers are being thrown around at another firm who the Black Yellow had no problem keeping pace with last year.

Smiling and nodding works too, if that’s more your speed.

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.

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.

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).

Comp Watch ’11: Deloitte Auditor Has PwC Bonus Envy

From the mailbag:

Caleb,

I am reading about PWC getting some spring love in the form of a bonus, and other firms already openly discussing compensation with their employees. Apparently Big D missed that memo.

Everybody at Deloitte had a terrible busy season, that is no secret. We changed our audit methodology, and then in December the powers that be decided to do some last minute tweaking, aka destroy any hope of a bearable busy season. I am a senior working out of Boston and have been pretty busy since October. To reward my hard work Deloitte has given me absolutely nothing. There was no post audit dinner, no monetary reward, not even a free cup of coffee. I did however (and so did everyone else in Boston) receive emails from every executive partner in the NE thanking us for all our hard work, reminding us how much money we made the firm, and telling us to reward ourselves by taking some time off. Apparently being rewarded now means using our own PTO to take a day off. I have had to work both firm holidays up to now (one in January and one in April for the Boston Marathon), so I am not sure when they think we can reward ourselves by using the PTO we already earned. Usually engagement teams hand out “Applause Awards” to their people for hard work, and maybe I am just on a few teams with Ebenezer Scrooge Partners, but I think it is crazy that either Deloitte, or the Boston Office, or one of my engagement partners couldn’t scratch together a few dollars as a thank you for the long hours.

Partners and HR continue to wonder why people leave, but we are continually asked to do more and more and never rewarded for it. With the other firms opening up the piggy banks already, what are the chances that Deloitte follows suit? They missed the mark last year on the compensation, and everyone suffered as a result with the crush of seniors headed for the door. As a result they ended up giving a mid-year raise just to stem the bleeding. Are partners too busy looking to next year or playing golf at their fancy country clubs to remember the little people?

Of course our writer is referring to the PwC bonuses we wrote about on Monday. Don’t know if this is a Deloitte problem or a Boston Deloitte problem but it sounds like Green Dots in Beantown are wicked pissed. How’s your office faring? Tell us below or email us.

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.

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.

Comp Watch ’11: Follow-up on KPMG Transaction Services Midyear Adjustment

Sounds like the previously mentioned potential raises got the John Veihmeyer stamp of approval.

Follow up on the midyear comp email from last wk- srs get 4% and mgrs get 5%. Does not apply to corporate finance and restructuring. Call is still going on right now trying to sell KPMG big time and convince people to not leave

We’ve been told that the raises are effective immediately. We’ll keep you updated.

Someone Would Like to Qualify Plante & Moran’s Fortune Ranking

From the mailbag:

The firm would be a great place for a new hire and/or intern. They offer competitive starting salaries along with a great support system and culture. I don’t know exactly how Fortune determines their ranking. If they surveyed newer staff and partners, they are going to look great every time, which seems to be the case.

There are some serious compensation issues for managers. How does a base of [70k-ish] sound (with potential bonus up to a staggering 8%)? How about a [marginal raise] over a 2.5 year period while [being promoted] that same time frame? The partner:staff ratio is so upside down that it is no wonder why they try and keep managers’ salaries so low. Some of the senior partners are a joke to try and rationalize with. I did my best, but couldn’t convince them what market salary was for a manager. I told them good luck.

Earlier:
The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For: Plante & Moran #26 (2011)

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.

One Ernst & Young Tax Associate’s Resolution Is to Find Out If She’s Underpaid

Welcome to the good-riddance-2010-hello-busy-season edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, an E&Y tax associate is considering a move to another Big 4 firm but wants to know if she’s pulling down fair scratch after “an irrevocable slip up.”

Need ideas for 2011 resolutions? Wondering how to best present strange and morbid experience on your LinkedIn profile? Looking for ideas on how to handle a client who will be less than grateful for all the hours you’ll be putting in this year? Email us at advice@goingconcern.com and we’ll have everyone kissing your feet in no time.

Back to our New Year job hunter:

Hi, I’m currently working at EY FSO NY in Tax and considering going to one of the other big 4 firms but am wondering how much the going rate is these days for hires with the MST in my market. When I initially signed on here I was offered 70k with the MST but due to a huge irrevocable slip up I’m not being paid that. Understandably if I’m going to be slaving away through a 9 month busy season with these financial clients I want to at least get paid the going-rate hence the reason I’m exploring my options. Btw, I’m a staff 2 now.


Naturally, we had to ask about this “irrevocable slip up” because we pictured something along the lines of DUI, an inappropriate email or something even more serious but unfortunately it was just a college credits issue.

ANYWAY, this problem you have – ordinarily, we’d think that you’re shopping the job scene simply because you think you’re underpaid but since your situation is special, we’ll make an exception. We asked around and 70k is right in the wheelhouse of where you should be so at the very least, it wouldn’t hurt to ask some recruiters what openings the other firms have. On the other hand, if you like working at E&Y, it wouldn’t be presumptuous to explain your situation to a performance counselor or partner, the idea being that you’re happy but because of mix-up, you’re down the pay scale compared to your peers. Do this after speaking to recruiters so you can substantiate your claim.

Keep in mind that the downside is that tax associates with a MST and FS experience are a dime a dozen in New York, so we advise moving sooner (i.e. now) rather than later (i.e. April) when all your burned out colleagues are calling recruiters. If you wait a couple of weeks, before you know it, you’re swamped with work and missing for a couple of hours in the middle of the day will look pret-tay, pret-tay suspicious. Good luck.

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.

(UPDATE) Bonus Watch ’10: PwC Holiday Payouts Coming In

This just in:

PwC West Coast just got issued the increased spot bonuses you talked about in this article:


[Bonus Watch: Pre-Turkey Spot Bonuses at PwC?]

From what I have gathered, they were either $1,500 or $2,000 in amount. (I have talked to several peers about this)

This is in addition to chatter we heard last week about bonuses being awarded in New York. If your city’s office is spreading the holiday cheer, discuss below or email us the details.

UPDATE, Thursday circa 11:00 am: Another tipster begs to differ on the amount:

I haven’t checked my paycheck yet- but my bonus sure as heck wasn’t $1500-$2000. I was told I was getting about $800.

Comp Watch ’10: KPMG Town Hall Results in More Questions Than Answers

After hearing that KPMG was following suit with a mid-year compensation surprise, we’ve now been tipped that any hope you had of seeing a little extra moolah has been crushed:

Last night was KPMG’s New York Office (NYO) townhall meeting. During this meeting, close to 2,000 NYO employees of the firm gathered in a hotel in Time Square to listen to a series of presentations from the CEO, COO and Office Managing Partner (OMP). During this four hour presentation, they covered an array of topics, including: compensation and benefits, technology, etc.

Depsite hearing that the firm will be allowing staff (associates and senior associates) have KPMG email access on their iPhone, Android or BlackBerry phones, no further details were provided about what they will be paying for, if anything.

They also announced that they were keeping up with the average regarding compensation, but made it a point to mention that with every average, someone must be below the average, hinting that we were that someone. After finding out that there will be no mid-year bonsues or raises, some left the meeting rather disappointed… at least there was free booze and food (like any other normal KPMG event).

But wait! This sounded a little weird to us since our sources on the original story were solid, so we checked in with another source who told us the message was simply non-committal, “They didn’t really confirm/deny what was going to happen with the mid-year stuff.”

So all this “Yes? No? Maybe so,” probably isn’t so helpful but that’s where things appear to stand.

Back to our original tipster, who is now hearing talk of next fall’s associates receiving a boost in their starting salaries:

Later that evening, however, many of the recent hires (new associates in 2010) were beginning to hear that the 2011 new hires (for next year) were already receiveing salary adjustments (upwards into the $60,000’s), in addition to their already higher starting salaries and sign-on bonuses.

So my question is: Does KPMG plan on compensating the new associates (that started in 2010) that did not receive a sign-on bonus this year, or perhaps have any plans to bring their salary closer towards the industry average?

Starting salaries have been consistently rising over the years and with increased competition among the firms for the best recruits, you can expect that to continue. Whether that results in adjustments for KPMG’s latest class of new associates remains to be seen, since a mid-year surprise is still uncertain. We should say, however, expecting more money after being on the job for 2-3 months is a little presumptuous. We understand the frustration but, seriously? You can barely open Excel at this point.

As you hear more regarding the mid-year compensation (or lack thereof) email us with the scoop.

Compensation Watch ’10: KPMG Discussing a Mid-Year Bonus (or Something)

After moves by Deloitte, PwC, McGladrey and now Grant Thornton, we have now heard that KPMG is discussing a mid-year surprise.

The only thing is, there aren’t a lot of details at this point. The firm’s first quarter is not over until the end of this month, so the pool likely hasn’t been determined and it isn’t known whether the mid-year comp will be paid as a bonus or as a merit increase. Our source on the matter speculates that it will be a bonus rather than a raise but it is fairly certain that it will be structured in a way that will incentivize employees to stay with the firm. There has been steady stream of people leaving (which is not atypical this time of year) and there are hopes that this show of love will stem the tide.

So while it appears that the House of Klynveld has heard your grumbling about anteing up, time (and the amount of money) will ultimately determine if this will satisfy the troops.

If you’re familiar with the talks or you have more details, email us the details and discuss your thoughts below.

UPDATE – circa 2:10 pm: Some thoughts on a non-bonus approach:

Pure (educated) conjecture on my part, but I would assume that the mid-year “surprise” would be a raise, as the firm is apprehensive at this point about giving bonuses, because people could just take them and leave. Harkening back to our SOX-404 years (2005), we gave multiple raises, bonuses and awards throughout the busy season (i.e., if you worked 60+ hours in a week, immediate $200 award) with a bonus at the end of the tunnel. I seriously doubt any early 2011 compensation would be front-loaded.

And then, in case you weren’t already aware, there’s this:

In other news, [the Dallas] office has been reaching out and giving offers to people they have previously laid off and are seeking out experienced hires. Not sure if it’s firm-wide, but an interesting sign of desperation nonetheless.

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

Unfounded Rumor of the Afternoon: PwC Making Mid-year Salary Adjustments?

From the mailbag:

There are rumors that pwc is planning on doing something similar [to Deloitte]. In one of the meetings with an audit team, Tim Ryan [one of your Thanksgiving Day hosts] mentioned that there would be bonuses and salary adjustments sometime in December.

What in the name of superficial corporate gratitude is going on here? First, iPhones and holiday ho-downs but now rumors of MID-YEAR RAISES? Is the new logo making that big of a difference already?

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

Best Accounting Firms for Comp, Treatment by Managers, Green Initiatives, Hours and More

Catching our breath from our series of Vault posts from last month, we return with their latest offerings – Best Firms to Work For. Now, if you’re confused as how this is different from their featured column, this series looks at specific areas where firms thrive (methodology here). No prestige debate here. These are some of the areas that factored more heavily into Vault’s featured ranking.

There are several lists so we’ll break them up into two posts. Each list features 20 firms so we’ll share the top three in each and point out where some notables rank.

Starting with everyone’s favorite:

Compensation
1. Marcum – Melville, NY
2. Goodman & Co. – Virginia Beach, VA
3. Elliot Davis – Greenville, SC
10. Rothstein Kass – Roseland, NJ (#1 last year)
17. Deloitte – NYC
18. Moss Adams – Seattle
20. PwC – NYC


Treatment by Managers
1. Kaufman Rossin, & Co. – Miami
2. Marcum
3. Elliot Davis
10. Rothstein Kass
14. Deloitte
16. PwC
20. Moss Adams

Culture
1. Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
2. WithumSmith+Brown, PC – Princeton, NJ
3. Eide Bailly – Fargo, ND
8. Rothstein Kass
13. PwC
14. Deloitte
20. Moss Adams

Business Outlook
1. Marcum
2. Kaufman, Rossin, & Co.
3. Goodman & Co.
6. PwC (#1 last year)
9. Deloitte
11. Rothstein Kass
18. Moss Adams

Green Initatives
1. Goodman & Co.
2. Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
3. Rothstein Kass
4. PwC
6. Deloitte
14. Moss Adams

Hours
1. Marcum
2. Kaufman, Rossin & Co.
3. Elliott Davis
10. Rothstein Kass
16. Moss Adams
19. Deloitte
20. PwC

Dive in. Debate. Debunk.

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.

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 and Bonus Watch ’10: Who Knows BDO?

After coming out the near-death experience thanks to the Florida 3rd District Court of Appeal, you’d figure TPTB at BDO would continue shoveling the good news out while they could. On the comp front, a tipster tells us that while there are rumors that raises are bonuses are coming, no one has a clue as to what they’ll be:

Can you run a discussion on BDO compensation increase and bonuses? Raises would be effective 10/1, and currently there have been no formal communications from senior mgmt regarding this topic. In the local offices, there has been word that there will be raises and bonuses, but no numbers have been thrown around.

In other words, if you’ve got the goods BDO peeps, kindly spill it. It’s about time you started talking. If you’re not comfortable voicing yourself, email us and we’ll handle it.

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.

Non-Profits Get Picked On (And Deserve Some of It)

When budgets are tight, it only makes sense that non-profits would become targets since they tend to get the most free rides. We’ve seen it with this 990 push (kind of like 404(b) for < $75 million and new health care rules that require companies to send in 1099s for every vendor purchase over $600, it feels a little like bureaucratic busywork to me) and now non-profit executive compensation is in New Jersey tie’s crosshairs.

A provision in his state’s recently passed budget limits executive salaries at nonprofits that do business with the state.

Firedoglake foamed at the mouth over recent comments by Tom Coburn after he shot down $425 million in fresh money for the Boys and Girls Clubs. FDL appeared absolutely incapable of comprehending caps on non-profit salaries when for-profit CEOs earn “500 times” more than their non-profit counterparts.

On Capitol Hill, four senators this spring refused to approve a $425 million package of federal grants for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America after staff members looked at the organization’s tax forms as part of a routine vetting process and were surprised to learn that the organization paid its chief executive almost $1 million in 2008 — $510,774 in salary and bonus and $477,817 in retirement and other benefits.

“A nearly $1 million salary and benefit package for a nonprofit executive is not only questionable on its face but also raises questions about how the organization manages its finances in other areas,” said Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma.

We covered S.2924 back in March when Chuck Grassley wrote a nasty note asking for – gasp – accounting details. While I totally support FDL’s outrage towards for-profit CEOs, I have to remind them that we already have the accounting details of for-profit corporations; so if Jamie Dimon gets $42 bazillion a year, we can just dig into his financial statements to figure out why. Chances are assets > liabilities so he can do that (unless he’s asking for a bailout but I don’t recall hearing him ask in 2008). With the Boys and Girls Club posting a $13 million loss in 2008, President Roxanne Spillett still earned $593,926. You don’t think that might warrant a little investigation?

FDL goes on to wonder out loud if all non-profits are created equal:

If Senator Coburn is going to stagger down that path, arms flapping wildly at the injustice of these non-profit salaries, then by his reckoning, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre should forego his $1,139,568 annual salary (as of 2008), and Robert Mazzuca of the Boy Scouts of America needs to pay back that $1,577,600 he received in 2009. (Note: Yaron Brook, President and Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, only pulls down $350K a year. Methinks someone’s not living up to his objectivist potential.)

I’m all for reform but only when applied equally across the board. The alternative is letting the market decide by being an informed donor (using tools like Charity Navigator to see how much particular non-profit execs are making and how they are using their money). If you don’t believe in a non-profit’s compensation practices, don’t give them a thing.

The government can continue to do so without caring or it can get smart about the money that it does not have and start taking a closer look at how non-profits operate. If you ask me, the entire thing is a gaping hole of waste and confusion and you could possibly confirm that with anyone familiar with non-profit accounting.

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.

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.

Compensation and Promotion Watch ’10: Discussions at McGladrey Starting Soon; Forced Ranking in Effect?

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It sounds like the capital market servants at the firms formerly known as RSM McGladrey/McGladrey & Pullen will finding out their good/bad/tremendously underwhelming news about comp and promotions in the coming week(s).

That and it sounds as though Mickey G’s is warming up to the forced ranking system that has been plaguing the Big 4:

Just wanted to pass a bit of info across to you about McGladrey comp discussions. They communicated to us in an email last week that all ratings and promotion decisions are now final and will be communicated to us no later than July 23rd.

Also, I’m based out of the the southeast and they told us that about 25% of people were initially rated 5s (our highest rating) and that they had to downgrade peoples ratings to in line with the 10% to 15% bell curve range. I have this from a direct source of a director inside the “roundtable” meetings or whatever they’re calling them now. Not sure if this is a nationwide occurrence.

We don’t know if the downgrades are standard operating procedure at the firm but one would think that the layoffs at McGladrey that we reported on last month are over. The problem is that if this is following standard forced ranking procedure, it could be setting up experienced professionals for competitive year ahead.

Keep us updated as you learn merit and promotion news and discuss your thoughts on this year’s prospects and the possibility of downgrades.

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.

Bonus and Compensation Watch ’10: Grant Thornton Delivers the Goods

Grant Thornton has been on strict radio silence lately which makes us wonder if Stephen Chipman had given up on blogging or if they had simply given everyone the summer off.

The blog remains a mystery but we do have some news on GT bonuses (the jury was out for awhile) and merit increases and it seems to be good news but extremely short on details and extremely long on Chipman prose:

Leadership announcement
Additional guidance on bonuses and compensation

On our last all-employee call, I told you that I was optimistic that the firm would award bonuses this year. I am pleased to share with you that we are now in a position to say with certainty that we will be paying bonuses for 2010.

As you know, the overall level of bonuses is dependent on our financial results at year end. We are currently working on this modeling based on our economic forecasts and will have the final numbers next month. However, I can let you know that we plan to pay the bonuses in the mid-September timeframe.

Similar to our merit increases, our bonus payments are based on our pay-for-performance philosophy, where we strive to recognize and reward individuals commensurate with performance. We’ve held this philosophy for a number of years, but could have done better executing on it. You reminded us of this in our Voice Your Experience pulse survey, and we are striving to do better. This year — and even more so going forward — we will be giving larger merit increases and bonuses to our top-rated performers to ensure greater differentiation.

Merit increases should be finalized in the next couple of weeks and your local office will begin communicating with you in early July. New compensation is effective on August 1. The increases are based on extensive market information for each of our practices and your individual contributions.

As we work to differentiate our firm through providing consistently distinctive client service, we will continue to move towards a model that rewards each of our people relative to their contributions to the success of the firm.

I’m excited about our direction as a world-class firm that truly makes a difference, and hope you are too. Thank you for all that you have done, and continue to do, for Grant Thornton.

Stephen

So whether or not this puts your anxiety to rest is another matter. Discuss and keep us updated in the coming weeks.

Compensation Watch ’10: Deloitte Is Kicking Around Some Numbers

Last we checked on Deloitte’s compensation news, it was news of the wealth being spread around more than last year, although no one was really impressed based on the discussion that followed.

But now out of Ronaldo Fan Club HQ we’ve got an opening bid:

“It was announced at a Tax meeting last Monday that the average raise for NE Tax would be 5% this year.”


Since Dr. Phil recently said that raises weren’t going to return to “pre-recession levels” an average raise of 5% may be in the ballpark. Then again, this is only the tax practice…

Anyhoo, our source told us that reactions boiled down to:

1. After axing or transferring everybody from the Stamford, Wilton and Hartford offices, they better pay the remaining people more!

2. At least it’s more than the average of 0% last year…

If you don’t fall into either camp 1 or 2, make your opinion known. Otherwise, get back to watching your fantasy team suck.

(UPDATE) Compensation Watch ’10: Are Raises Looking Bleak at E&Y?

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard any news on the E&Y comp front but we finally received a preliminary report from one source late last week:

[Roundtables] went the same way they always go. Surprisingly, less pushback on proposed ratings for the portion I was involved in. I really think they may be scared to lose more people. Indications are raises will be low (3-5% range for most, more for 4/5 rated people) Bonuses are probably non-existent for the masses. Annoucements of promotions for other levels will be made in August (staff to senior, senior to manager, manager to senior manager) they will also do comp increase discussions then. Effective 10/1…


So despite Ernst & Young re-reassuring merit increases the 3-5% for the meaty part of the curve and no bonuses isn’t exactly what “the masses” were expecting.

That being said, this office may be catching some bad luck since we that at least one E&Y partner was confident that the raises would beat PwC’s.

Although, some lucky E&Y soldiers have seen some “spot bonuses” for their hard work but it’s not clear how widespread that generosity is.

On a marginally-related note, we’ve received word that the partner promotions were announced but we’re still trying to run down some details. Get in touch with us if you’ve got the scoop on the new partners, what you’re hearing about comp in your office and discuss below.

UPDATE, Wednesday June 16th: A couple more accountants familiar with E&Y have their own take on the comp situation:

I heard that we “we’re not going to be disappointed with raises” here at EY. I don’t know what that means. And I tend to believe, that as you posted today, 3-5%, is a more realistic view of what’s going to happen (though that’s just my own pessimism).

and that is coupled with another source, “Haven’t heard anything further on comp other than ‘moderate.’

Continue attempting to decipher the latest. As you were.

Promotion Watch ’10: Latest Details on KPMG’s New Managers

From a Klynveld Quaker:

In recent meetings with PA Business Unit leadership with all audit staff (i.e. A and SA’s), we were told that of the 32 inidivudals up for promotion to Manager in the combined three offices (Philly, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh), that 22 were officially promoted. Of the 10 that weren’t, at least 1 just came back from international rotation, and either 2 or 3 (can’t remember which) hadn’t passed the CPA exam and therefore couldn’t be considered for promotions. All raise and bonus theories were squashed (as to hard percentages), though we were told to expect some form of raise as well as variable comp at FYE.


So just a shade better than two-thirds of the Keystone KPMGers eligible for manager will be in the new manager class. As you may remember, this is pretty close to the breakdown for one office in the Rockies but a little less than an office in the northwest.

Since the firm has four months to go in its fiscal year, the fact that the local leadership wouldn’t even give a hint comes as no surprise. That said, it hasn’t stopped people from speculating about what they think the increases will be. We encourage you to share what you know, what you’ve heard, or your own wild-ass guess. And keep us updated with the latest in your office.

Bonus Watch ’10: “Performers” Getting More Love at Deloitte

Last month we told you about some Deloitte partners in the Northeast that were dropping some “Applause Awards” on “strong performers,” possibly to help calm some nerves.

At that time, our sources indicated that “partners have also hinted at more money coming their way.” It now sounds like those hints are resulting in some greased palms:

[S]ome $1,000 [Outstanding Performance Awards] have been circulating in NE AERS for “performers”. Similar to the $100 applause awards for the larger segment of consultants, I think partners are trying to head off a mass exodus; not sure if the 1k will make a difference; but it does seem to be keeping people from quitting prior to hearing about their year-end comp adjustments

So regardless of what some Deloitte HR types might think, there are partners out there that are worried about people leaving and they seem to understand that throwing a little cash around does wonders for cooling some anxious heads.

Exodus Watch ’10: KPMG New York

From somewhere deep inside 345 Park Ave:

“Damage control beginning – 3 managers and 3 SAs out.”


It’s our understanding that this is the audit side of the house in financial services. No indication at this point whether it’s promotion de-nied related or if it’s has something to do with the unconfirmed compensation rumors we’re hearing.

If you’ve got details on comp, promotions, or lack thereof, email us with the details.

Credentials for Accountants: Certified Financial Planner (CFP)

Check out our previous certification posts on the CMA and CFE if you are interested.

The CFP is a pretty common sense credential for an accountant to pursue if one is focused on client service and looking to work closely with clients to create a blueprint for their future financial success. If you became an accountant to help people put their finances together, this one is for you. Unless you’re the least bit unethical or otherwise of unsatisfactory moral fortitude; check the CFP board’s Candidate Fitness Standards if you’re not sure whether or not your sketchy past will pass.


Here’s a quick rundown on the CFP:

Education requirement
The CFP Certification Examination is administered by the CFP board and in order to take the exam, you will need to be knowledgeable in all of areas covered by the financial planning topic list. There are three ways to complete the educational requirement: CFP Board-Registered Programs, Challenge Status or Transcript Review.

CFP candidates must have a bachelor’s degree but that requirement is a condition of initial certification and is not needed to take the exam. The areas of financial planning are as follows:

• Financial planning: process and environment
• Fundamentals of insurance planning
• Income taxation
• Planning for retirement needs
• Investments
• Fundamentals of estate planning

Professional requirements
Three years of full-time relevant personal financial planning experience is a requirement for certification.

Career Options
There are approximately 59,000 CFPs today, twice the number there were a decade ago. Despite the explosion in this designation’s popularity or perhaps because of it, the CFP is still an in-demand certification that can only grow in these uncertain financial times. CFPs can end up at large or small firms, or wish to start a private practice.

Compensation and Other Benefits
CFPs with 20 years experience make twice as much as those just starting out in the field, according to PayScale. Starting median salary is about $50k, and by 20 years a CFP can make anywhere from $90 – $100k. Of course pay depends on location and NY CFPs will naturally make much more (about $75k in their first year) than, say, metro Houston CFPs. Naturally, adding an MBA to one’s resume on top of the CFP will likely earn you an extra $20k in your first year. Income potential is based mostly on performance (sales).

It’s clear that CFPs have a real desire to help their clients (and pay their bills), so if you’ve got stars in your eyes and are planning to make a partner’s salary one day, this may not be the designation for you. But if you’re driven, love finance, and have a real feel for investments and clients, perhaps this is just what you need.

Adrienne Gonzalez is the founder of Jr. Deputy Accountant, a former CPA wrangler and a Going Concern contributor . You can see more of her posts here.

John Veihmeyer Doesn’t Mind Repeating Himself if It’s About Raises at KPMG

While some people are still sweating out to hear if they’re part of the new manager class, John Veihmeyer and Henry Keizer did more casual chatting with the troops and this time it was about everyone’s favorite topic to bitch about – compensation.

Specifically, somee asking about raises for FY ’10 and 401k match. Strange thing is, JV has already addressed the issue of KPMG raises in a previous communiqué by saying:

“[B]y year-end, we fully expect that the pickup in market and business conditions will drive compensation increases for the vast majority of our people. Also, assuming we meet our plan, as we are on track to do, our goal is to enhance our variable compensation pool from last year—meaning higher bonuses than last year for EP performers as well as bonuses for deserving SP performers.”


Good thing he doesn’t mind repeating himself:

Inquisitor #1: I was just wondering, if it’s likely that employees will get raises this year?

Veihmeyer: We are very optimistic at this point that that is exactly what’s going to happen. We all need to stay really engaged in what’s going on in the marketplace at this point to make sure that the second six months of our fiscal year also tracks the plan that we put in place. If we do that, we are very committed to sharing the rewards appropriately across KPMG.

As we assess the market right now – means that the vast majority of our people will be getting compensation increases this year. We are just as committed to increasing that variable compensation pool to the maximum extent we can reflective of how our results play out over the next six months.

Keizer: And in terms of variable compensation at the EP level that will translate into larger rewards and our deserving SP performers will also receive compensation rewards.

I am confident – based on what we see out in the marketplace, the foundation we have within the firm, the indicators of economic vibrance that are coming back – that we will be able to reward our people better and to be able to restore some of the things that we had to eliminate in a very measured and prudent way.

And John Veihmeyer was just wondering why you didn’t read his previous statement (or websites where it might appear) on the matter. Since V seems like a nice guy he managed to say what he said before only this time without saying “Yes” outright. Whether the absence of this explicit confirmation is a cause for concern can only be determined by you. Hank chimes in about the bonuses, presumably so he doesn’t feel awkward (at least that’s how we picture it).

So what about the 401k match? Is that returning to pre-financial apocalyptic levels?

Inquisitor #2: You mentioned earlier that we recently brought back the Standing Ovation award into the Encore program. Can we expect to see a change in our 401K match?

Veihmeyer: With an eye toward maximizing the immediate financial rewards to our people – to a level that we all can feel good about – we have some goals and objectives around base and variable compensation that in our view will take precedence over 401K as we reinstate and are able to shift those rewards. But it’s something that if the circumstances change and our ability to reinstate some of those things evolve, we will continue to look at it.

In a word – No. First things first you rubes – We’ve going to get every single Klynveldian feeling great about their immediate financial rewards. Until that is accomplished, your retirement will have to wait. The time frame of “we all feel good” was not given.

Compensation Watch ’10: More People at Deloitte Will Receive Raises This Year

Some straight talk from Barry Salzberg:

Barry had a [recent] session in LA at which time he said essentially the following about comp:

1. Raises and bonuses will be distributed this year
2. Raises and bonuses will be larger than last year, but are unlikely to return to “pre-recession” levels any time soon
3. More people will be receiving raises and bonuses this year


Unfortch, Deloitte doesn’t seem to be getting involved in the pissing match with E&Y and PwC by putting a number out there but “more people” and “larger” are both somewhat encouraging, no? Well, not really, according to our source:

To my knowledge, we’re not getting any more info. On the people side; the video didn’t say anything new and everybody knows that the economy’s getting better and that Deloitte’s doing better; so we all assumed it was going to be like he said. Without a number benchmark, words are pretty much useless.

Compensation Watch ’10: Ernst & Young Re-reassures Merit Increases

About a month ago, we heard about an E&Y town hall in Chicago that was meant to rally the troops after the last two weeks of March saw ubiquitous Lehman Brothers/Repo 105/bankruptcy examiner’s report coverage.

Plus, it was the end of busy season so people were likely at their wits end. At said town hall, the raises promised by Americas Managing Partner Steve Howe back in January were reassured.


Despite this message, Steve Howe sent out a triple-reassuring message yesterday to everyone that wasn’t listening and/or didn’t get the communiqué:

Stevie Howe just sent out another long VM confirming raises this year. On a related note, FSO sent out a note about accelerating the annual review process to account for the expedited compensation review process.

Another source told us that more details are to come on an upcoming webcast, and because of the “expedited comp review” process, it has been suggested that the merit adjustments may occur earlier than usual. Right now, our source speculates that it will go down in August but no hard date has been thrown out there. Keep us updated.

New Jersey May Limit Pay For Nonprofit CEOs

Nonprofits doing business with government agencies take note, the days of bloated compensation structures may be over.

Starting July 1st, 1200 nonprofit social service agencies contracted by the state of New Jersey’s Department of Human Services with budgets above $20 million will be subject to a salary cap of $141,000 for its top executives. Executives of NFP agencies with budgets from $10 to $20 million will be limited to salaries and compensation of $126,900; those with budgets of $5 – $10 million will be capped at $119,850 and agencies coming in under $5 million will be limited to $105,750.


The limit would affect at least 30 executives who received compensation packages in excess of what is allowed by the new rules.

The state would save about $5 million by paying less money in CEO salaries, as well as cutting back on travel, education, severance, and vehicle expenses for all nonprofit employees, said Nicole Brossoie, a rep from the state’s Human Services office.

“In light of the state’s fiscal challenges, the department has been exploring cost efficiencies in every part of our budget,” Brossoie said. “The department’s continued goal is to ensure that state dollars are being spent in the most efficient ways.”

While that’s an admirable goal, the proposed changes would also impact organizations that do not feature over-paid executives or frivolous waste of precious funding. One CEO of an NJ nonprofit is worried that her organization may be barred from rewarding staff with cheap gifts (think $5 Starbucks cards) under the new rules – though she is not compensated enough to be impacted by any new restrictions on executive salaries.

State may limit pay for top leaders of New Jersey non-profit social service agencies [Press of Atlantic City]

Bonus Watch ’10: Are Deloitte Partners Getting More Generous to Keep the Peace?

Here we are, it’s April, and most of you are happy to be bored (relatively) at work for the first time in months. Now that your brain isn’t saturated with numbers and/or what you’ll eating at your desk, you may be weighing your options. As we’ve mentioned, Big 4 partners are expecting this and naturally they want to keep their top performers. How best can they do this? Bribery of course!


And at Deloitte, this method seems to be gaining steam. An accountant close to the situation gave us the rundown on the recognition programs at the firm:

• Applause Awards (whenever)
• Outstanding Performance Awards (whenever)
• Merit Bonuses (annual)

For the most part AAs ($100 to $500 – tax adjusted) and OPAs ($500 to $5,000 – non-tax adjusted) were frozen for the last 2 years; with MBs only being processed for 1s and sometimes 2s (we’re rated on a scale of 1 to 5 – 1 being the best, 5 the worst – with typically 5% 1s, 10% 2s, 80% 3s, 5% 4s and 5s).

Now that you have the background, there’s this:

Based upon what I’ve been hearing very recently, strong performers have been getting [Applause Awards] for $100 in the NE [Advisory] practice. In some limited instances, partners have also hinted at more money coming their way (seemingly in the [Outstanding Performance] realm). Seems like the partners are noticing that people, especially performers, are getting antsy; and are trying to keep the peace until compensations are adjusted in September…

Well! Good to see that Deloitte partners are taking their firm’s advice (combo of #2 and #5). This could work out well for those of you that are rockstars at Deloitte (and are easily swayed by monetary reward) but for the other 80% that fall into the unexceptional categories, you may just have the longer ladder to look forward to.

Earlier:
KPMG Reinstating “Standing Ovation” Bonus Awards

Promotion Watch ’10: Deloitte Slowly Lengthens the Corporate Ladder

Yesterday we told you about the unofficial “our bad” from Deloitte on the layoffs that happened last spring. While that doesn’t necessarily address any of the subsequent layoffs, it’s a start.

And we have a little update from our previous query about Deloitte compensation increases as well as some promotion time-frame news:


A Green Dot familiar with the situation told us the following:

– There will be raises this year
– People shouldn’t expect raises like the ones back in the SOX days
– As always, there will be an effort to reward strong performers

At the same time, promotions may be a different story, at least for the R-space, where they want to move away from the “3 years to senior” mentality, towards a “ready to be a senior” mentality. Promotion time-frames are expected to be lengthened, although comp will remain competitive.

We should note that the raises in this case refer to the NE AERS, so if you’re hearing different in your region, let us know. The “won’t be like the SOx years” message also reiterates what DWB said on Tuesday about curbing your enthusiasm, so at least try to be realistic.

Regarding the promotion news, the effect on “R-space” which for you non-Deloittes means the “Advisory Practice,” our source indicated that this has been in the works for some time but has been poorly enforced in the past, with most eligible promotees getting the bump after three years in the trenches.

Further, it sounds as though the extended promotion time-frame (i.e. replacing “ready” with a given number of years) will occur at all levels, especially from senior manager to partner. Our source then mused, “Since Partners own their [senior managers]… it’ll be interesting to see how turn-over ends up.” That will certainly resonate with those that already consider senior manager to be a parking lot on the road to partner.

Deloitte isn’t the only firm that has given serious consideration to the lengthening of the corporate ladder. Last December we discussed KPMG’s always-being-discussed plans to move away from the six-year manager track in their audit practice. Back then we said:

The rumor that the KPMG bigwigs have been considering a six year timeline to make manager in the audit practice has been kicked around for at least a couple years. Naturally, there were two schools of thought:

• Managers thought it was good idea

• SAs thought it was a terrible idea

Deloitte insisting that salaries will remain competitive should quell some concerns although there are some out there that do get hung up on titles. So while it seems that Deloitte will be getting back to merit increases for FY ’10, they’re being much quieter about it and may be getting serious about adding some rungs to the ladder. Climb with patience.

Deloitte Admits to Handling Layoffs ‘Poorly’

That “All-Hands” meeting we told you about on Monday sounds like it was a real snoozer, however, a source who was there did share two interesting details:

The guys in charge basically told us the following:

– They handled the [May 2009] “headcount adjustment” poorly. It was a necessary action; but more communication was necessary to keep people informed.
– Deloitte is better poised to grow over the next few years as compared to their competitors (we saw projections, but no comparisons…)

That took about 1.5 hours.

Since this was an “all-hands” we’re assuming tax people were there? If so, the ones still trudging towards the 15th (one week!) had to be suffering borderline panic attacks. Or maybe it was a brief oasis? Either way it’s unfortunate that nothing came up about increase in comp. Maybe Deloitte is the one firm that is saving it as a big surprise. If the cat gets let out of the bag on comp, get in touch with us.

Compensation Watch ’10: Is Deloitte Joining the Party?

In the past week or so, merit increases have been communicated or reiterated by three of the Big 4. While the news of the resurrected raises is widespread, most people we’ve talked to (and commenters) are not believers. Most see it as a preventive measure to delay the exodus (or at least keep it within expected ranges).


Since the rest of the Big 4 have already been covered (KPMG, E&Y, PwC) we decided to get proactive on finding out the scoop on Deloitte. We contacted a reliable source and it turns out there may be some communication very soon:

[S]o far nothing. I’m going to an all-hands meeting tomorrow in NYC, so maybe they’ll mention something there. For now, all that I can really say is that there’s whole big bunch of people waiting to jump ship, pending the results of this year’s comp, so they better put some serious increases in…

So it’s safe to presume that if the Deloitte brass doesn’t communicate a satisfactory message, the streets may be flooded with Green Dots. If you’ve gotten guarantees, denials, or anything that remotely resembles an official word on this year’s Deloitte comp, get in touch.

Compensation Watch ’10: KPMG Back to Raises and Bonuses

KPMG’s newly announced Chairman John Veihmeyer knows that you’ve been anxious, so in a message to Klynveldians, Johnny gets right to the point, “I want to take a moment to address a question that I know is on the mind of every KPMG employee: Will there be raises and bonuses this year? The short answer to this question is ‘Yes.'”

For the “vast majority of our people” and bonuses will be available, “our goal is to enhance our variable compensation pool from last year—meaning higher bonuses than last year.”

How’s that for a Friday morning message?

As we reach the midpoint of FY 2010, I want to take a moment to address a question that I know is on the mind of every KPMG employee: Will there be raises and bonuses this year?

The short answer to this question is “Yes.”

As we communicated during this year’s town hall meetings, the business environment is showing measurable signs of improvement. In fact, I am pleased to report that thanks to your efforts the firm is slightly ahead of plan. So by year-end, we fully expect that the pickup in market and business conditions will drive compensation increases for the vast majority of our people. Also, assuming we meet our plan, as we are on track to do, our goal is to enhance our variable compensation pool from last year—meaning higher bonuses than last year for EP performers as well as bonuses for deserving SP performers. Assuring that we recognize and reward our best performers is an integral element of our compensation philosophy and a critical ingredient of the high-performance culture we intend to maintain.

We are optimistic. But along with this optimism, we must maintain realistic expectations. Keep in mind that our FY10 plan is more challenging in the second half, and reliant on significantly improved performance in the spring and summer.

What does this mean? It means that now more than ever, we must come together as a team to do our best work and make 2010 a successful year—one that brings the improved business results that enable us to restore the financial rewards that we all desire. If you’re in Audit, Tax, or Advisory, it means driving business and providing the highest-quality service to clients. If you’re in a Client Service Support role, it means providing our professionals and teams with effective tools, resources, and information they need to win business and deliver excellent service to clients. And all of us need to continue our Spend Smart efforts and do our parts to drive efficiencies in the way we operate.

Whatever the remainder of 2010 brings, you can be sure that KPMG remains committed to its philosophy of providing our people with an attractive and competitive total compensation package that differentiates exceptional performers with superior rewards. And, we remain fully committed to being an Employer of Choice and a great place to build your career.

Thanks for all your contributions to our firm’s success.

Compensation Watch ’10: Ernst & Young Still Planning on Merit Increases

A little more from inside E&Y to round out the week. We got a tip earlier in the week that there was an oddly-timed town hall going on in Chicago this week. Our tipster indicated that the meetings usually occur after the June 30 year-end or in September.

We asked around and from the sounds of it, the meeting amounted to an extremely sober pep rally. The need for a little HR cheerleading is completely understandable, considering the month E&Y has had.


“[T]hey just talked about how they know morale is down, yet no plans for how to fix it. Additionally, they said there would be raises this year, but no mention of how large or small…[and] your basic HR ‘Thank’s for your help’ stuff.”

We haven’t heard the details for the cause “low morale” but it’s quite possible that it could be due, at least in part, to the ehmanlay rothersbay uckshowfay. Plus, busy season is in the home stretch and most people are just over it at this point. As far as fix for morale, our suggestions of Canadidan Tuxes, Timberlands and Hitler videos are obviously being ignored with extreme prejudice. We’re all out of suggestions. Maybe they aren’t the best ideas but at least we’re trying.

The silver lining here is that comp increases are still on the agenda after the initial announcement made by Steve Howe back in January. If they go back on this promise — we’re confident they won’t — you can just blame it on Dick Fuld.

Compensation Watch ’10: PwC Moving Up Adjustment Date?

There’s been some whispering about PwC moving up its compensation and adjustment time frame from September to July and that’s got people curious.


At first glance this makes sense because the firm has a June 30 fiscal year-end. PLUS! Since Bob Moritz has already made it abundantly clear that there will be raises for 2010 we figure everyone would be excited to hear that the bumps would be coming a little earlier this year.

However, since everyone likes to jump to conclusions over the slightest little change, we’ll indulge. There have already been whispers of layoffs at PwC here and there but nothing that we’ve been able to confirm so people are probably antsy. And if the adjustment date is moved up we’re sure people are worried that means layoffs will be happening sooner rather than later. We can’t read anyone’s mind but we’re thinking this should be in the ballpark…

But if you’re anxiety is well founded, tell us why or get in touch.

UPDATE, a shade before 1 pm: One of our sources inside PwC shared their thoughts with us:

I think the overall feeling was positive…it will probably make some people happy (depending on the %) and hopefully limit the higher performers from going out into the market, however, it may also help some people look for jobs sooner (i.e. they don’t have to wait until September now, if the raises are low). Most people still have a lot of questions, including the estimate of the increase for each band of the rating system, what the bonus pool is going to look like, and although that is not being paid until September, whether we will know what the bonus amounts are in July.

KPMG Reinstating “Standing Ovation” Bonus Awards

Back in November 2008, KPMG suspended the highest level of its Encore bonus award, the Standing Ovation to “manage costs.” Since there is no shortage of exceptionalness at Radio City, the $500 awards were adding up so word came down that it was ixnay the tandingsay vationsoay.

The firm did keep its “Bravo” award that was good for $200 and replaced the five-hundo bonus with a $25 award and “thanks e-cards” that were way better than anything from Hallmark simply because Tim Flynn probably included a personalized message.

And you, simply, cannot put a dollar figure on that.


The most devastating part of the Standing O kibosh was that the trophies — which could easily qualify as a “blunt object” at a crime scene — were no longer handed out. These, understandably, are most coveted of all KPMG tchotchkes.

Well now, according to accountants familiar with the matter, the firm has reinstated the Standing Ovation for reasons that we can only speculate. It will be reserved for those Klynveldians that “go above and beyond” the call of their duties. Again, we can only speculate as to what this actually entails. Considering the fact that the hours you’ve been putting in for the last month or so have been expected, it may just mean that you have to try a little bit harder.

The reintroduction is being received tepidly, as one source told us:

Kinda meaningless to me. They don’t hand them out. Except for managers that want to get laid by younger staff.

Seconded by another source:

Just because they bring them back, doesn’t mean any partners plan on approving them. – “Oh, I nominated you for a standing ovation, but it didn’t get approved! It’s the thought that counts though, amirite?”

Another source saw it as too little, too late:

“Do they really think $500 is going to stop a mass exodus of [people] from leaving? Perhaps they should have thought about that when they didn’t give raises.”

Despite the vague qualifications for the award, it’s good to see TPTB reinstating the bonus for the sake of morale/bribery/empty hope. Now go get yourself one!