This post is about money

Compensation Watch ’13: Everyone

If you're one of those people that likes envisioning their career path several years in advance in order to make a bunch of elaborate plans that will likely be thrown off course by one or more life events/bad decisions, Robert Half's annual salary guide will prove quite useful. It has plenty of data, probably more […]

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 […]

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 […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Is anyone going back to school?

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

• Grabbag.

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

A wise suggestion from the mailbag:

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


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

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

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

Get on that, future leaders of the industry!

UPDATE:
The latest:

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ernst & Young Advisory Intern Wants to Get an Idea of What the Overtime Gravy Train Will Be Like

From the mailbag:

I will be a full time Advisory intern at Ernst and Young in Manhattan this coming summer. The duration of the internship is 7 weeks starting mid June. We just received a raise in our salary which has me thinking about compensation.

As you know, interns receive overtime which can contribute significant weight to overall pay. After researching the internet and the GC archives, I have not been able to find a clear answer regarding what I can expect for overtime hours. I know this varies by firm, workload, work groups etc but can you estimate an average of overtime hours per week? If any?

Right you are, grasshopper – it will depend on various factors you mentioned as well the clients you are assigned to, and what kind of expectations your superiors have (maybe that’s what you mean by work groups?). ANYWAY. In all likelihood, you’ll see some overtime hours which will probably result in some nice paychecks this summer but don’t be surprised if managers are staying on top of the hours you’re working. The Big 4 and other accounting firms aren’t quite as loose with the wallet as they used to be so I’d guess your hours will top out somewhere in the 50s on a weekly basis. That puts you in the range of 10 to 15 hours of OT a week (20+ only for those who work for lunatics). If your senior isn’t a headcase then you can expect 40-50 hours a week.

If you fancy yourself a intern hour handicapper, throw some numbers out there. And, interns, when things get rolling, get back to us with your numbers.

Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s iPhone App For the Blind Seems a Bit Heartless

I know what you’re thinking, what blind person has an iPhone? We thought the same thing when we read this. According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, at least 100,000 of them do. Regardless of the believability of that number, we all deserve the right to count our money.

The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) has developed a free downloadable application (app) to assist the blind and visually impaired denominate US currency. The app is called EyeNote™. EyeNote™ is a mobile device app designed for Apple iPhone (3G, 3Gs, 4), and the 4th Generation iPod Touch and iPad2 platforms, and is available starting today through the Apple iTunes App Store.

EyeNote™ uses image recognition technology to determine a note’s denomination. The mobile device’s camera requires 51 percent of a note’s scanned image, front or back, to process. In a matter of seconds, EyeNote™ can provide an audible or vibrating response, and can denominate all Federal Reserve notes issued since 1996. Free downloads will be available whenever new US currency designs are introduced. Research indicates that more than 100,000 blind and visually impaired individuals currently own an Apple iPhone.

Wait a second, I know adults with perfect visual acuity that cannot work a touchscreen (I bet a lot of them work in your office), how on Earth would a blind person be able to do this?

If you’ve been accused of being fucking blind lately, you can give the free app a spin via iTunes. For the target audience, however, we have some concerns about the practical application and, more specifically, WTF the BEP was thinking.

PwC Is Giving $5,000 to a College Student Who Makes the Best ‘Elevator Pitch’ Video That Won’t Closely Resemble Any Conversation They’ll Ever Have in an Elevator

For any current PwC employees if you, in the off-chance, happen to run into Bob Moritz in the elevator at 300 Madison, you might say, “Hey, thanks for the iPad,” or “I don’t care what anyone says, I love the colors of the new logo,” or “You look great with your shirt off.”


On the other hand, if you’re a college student and you need a little extra cash, you might be willing to script together a few awkward sentences that you would say to BoMo or Dennis Nally if, in fact they were interested in being accosted by a wide-eyed eager beaver that is rambling on about their leadership roles in Beta Alpha Psi only to be cut off with, “Sounds great but I really got hit the john.”

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, you’ve got until March 25th to get your entry submitted.

Making an Impression [PwC Careers/Facebook]

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.

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.

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.

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.