TPTB would like Adrienne and I to try to post an article each week that is compensation-related because, well, you guys like money and you guys like to read about how much money you could or should be making. So now that Randstad just released its 2019 Salary Guide, and Robert Half and Accounting Principals […]
So we might be a little late on this one, but who cares? Obviously you guys don’t, you’ve all but given up on these open threads come comp time. As such, this may be our last open thread of comp season, not just for this year but for good. It sucks we have to go […]
Hear that squeaky, rattling sound? That’s a partner pushing a wheelbarrow full of cash through the hallways of your firm. Accounting Today has some highlights from the latest Rosenberg MAP Survey, which includes this tidbit: This year, the survey found that income per partner increased to $441,000, or 3 percent higher than last year. However, […]
If the last couple years have taught us anything, it’s that Deloitte compensation conversations are probably going down this week in some offices. And by “conversations,” we mean raises are online and ratings are plotted out on scatter graphs. Semantics, ya know? In looking at last year’s Deloitte comp discussion, we discovered that y’all Green Dotters […]
Ya know, I don’t know why we’re even bothering with this since Going Concern sucks but on the off chance one of you gets his BVDs in a bunch over us not doing it, here we are. Historically, the emails start trickling in right about this time each year, presumably after the rulers of Ernstonia are able to […]
So, yeah, the whole “putting the 2018 PwC compensation thread in Open Items” thing didn’t go too well. After just two responses (thanks to SlowlyDying1065 and Franchise) and a minus-27 vote rating, this thread had become a dumpster fire. But now that we’ve resurrected the article comment section, we’ve taken this discussion out of Open […]
So say the folks at recruiting firm CyberCoders, so plan your career accordingly: In 2018, the CyberCoders data shows that the most in-demand accounting and finance position is financial advisor, with an average salary of $85,860, followed by loan officer at $68,000 and tax supervisor with an average salary of $96,944. The job of financial […]
There’s been lots of talk this summer about compensation, as usual. It’s been a major part of Going Concern’s coverage since the site started in 2009. Over the years, one of the shortcomings of the coverage has been the focus on the largest accounting firms. And it’s true! We’ve focused on the Big 4 and […]
Apologies to all the Deloitte compensation junkies out there experiencing withdrawal symptoms. We received this tip awhile back and, judging by the timing, many of you are anxious to yak about what’s going on: The national call was today and comp talks with partners won’t be happening until after 8/17. The raises take effect in […]
Okay, okay. I’m sure some people inside the House of Black and Yellow need a break from writing thoughtful emails to Mark Weinberger. It seems that yakking about EY compensation is the perfect way to do that. The first requests came in yesterday and have been picking up steam today. A tip from yesterday notified […]
Smiles and handshakes will ensue. The AICPA’s mega report on the supply of accounting graduates and demand for accounting recruits will be out any day now. If the CPA robots have proliferated to a far greater degree than anyone could’ve thought, then that will be bad for lots of you. However, I believe we’ll learn […]
By the sound of things, it’s time for us to open the gate on the Grant Thornton compensation thread. This is a little strange because, in years past, tips usually start rolling into our inbox in the last half of July. One message we received over the weekend, however, might explain the delay: Comp releasing […]
Looking for compensation threads? Right this way for conversations that are still going on: PwC BDO If your firm is holding discussions about performance reviews and compensation adjustments this summer, email email@example.com to share details or request a thread.
We’ve had a couple of requests for the BDO compensation thread, and the calendar is right, so we’re happy to oblige. One tipster that works in advisory told us “I just received an email from the partner saying to stop by his office” but added, “I don’t expect anything significant.” BDO hasn’t released its revenue […]
You’ve got to hand it to PwC, they’ve really embraced announcing stuff on Twitter. I’m looking forward to the day when people starting tweet their PwC compensation details at @going_concern. Anyway, here’s a tweet from last Friday: It’s #PwCPromotionDay! Incredibly proud to be celebrating everyone who is marking a career milestone today! https://t.co/vJtwzFiqrh pic.twitter.com/Mu8kwbWooh — […]
Our first annual Accounting Salary Survey is off to a great start. If you have not yet completed the survey, what have you been doing? Right now we now have hundreds of responses from people at large, mid-tier and small firms, spanning the full range of industries, experience and roles, all the way from staff […]
Are You Getting Paid What You Are Worth? It is time to assess where the accounting industry is headed with regard to compensation levels. This is your chance to see how your comp plan stacks up against the industry. You are invited to participate in Going Concern’s first annual Accounting Salary Survey, which we are […]
It’s 2017 and the rules have changed. Taco shells are made out of fried chicken skin, the Syracuse mascot can get elected president, and you don’t have to stay to manager in public accounting to maximize your career.
While I was on the road last week, a thread from r/accounting dropped into my inbox: Big 4 Bay Area office thought it would be a good idea to screw seniors with one of the worst raises since 2008 and whoa boy: They thought an $85k cap on all Seniors, regardless of performance, was a […]
This is sponsored content brought to you by Benedictine University. Almost everyone wants to make more money and why not? A bigger paycheck helps with a lot of things — paying off student loans, saving for a down payment on a major purchase, funding a new venture, travel. If you’re a partner at a firm […]
Now that it’s fall, many public accounting professionals have been rewarded for all the hard work they put in last year. Some people are happy, some people are sad and everyone is still thinking, “I don’t get paid enough for this shit.”
If you're a college student studying accounting, prepare your gloat face. Starting salaries for accounting and finance positions are expected to go up 3%-4.3% next year according to Robert Half's new salary guide.
The bombing raid of requests for the EY compensation thread started late last week and didn’t let up over the weekend or this morning.
As you may have heard, the Obama administration announced new rules this past week that will make millions of salaried workers eligible for overtime: Under the new regulation to be issued by the Labor Department on Wednesday, most salaried workers earning up to $47,476 a year must receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when they work more […]
Hey gang, remember a couple years ago when PwC acquired Booz & Company? Remember how we all hoped the new firm would be named something fun like Boozerhouse or BoozeCoop or Company? Remember how they went with Strategy& and no one got it and it harkened everyone back to Monday and we all had a […]
Since it seems to be a popular topic today, you might be wondering if you, one of the many accountants across this great land, make more than a philosopher. And according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you do! But it's closer than you might like. The annual mean wage for accountants and auditors is […]
Accounting Prinicpals has found that employers looking to hire accounting and finance professionals are more willing to negotiate over salary than they were "six months […] to a year ago." That's good news for anyone who correctly answers the most important interview question that accountants are asked. [JofA]
Because our editor has been predisposed most of this week and you've been so well behaved, we're re-opening compensation discussion comments for your reading and kvetching enjoyment. It's also a nice surprise if you were late to your firm's compensation discussion and didn't get to participate (although it doesn't explain what you've been doing all […]
There’s been a steady stream of tips coming in for the last week about EY comp discussions starting today and we understand that people are anxious.
Here’s how one tipster put it:
You look lost. You'd like to find some lively discussions about compensation at the largest accounting firms, you say? Lucky you, we know of some: PwC McGladrey Baker Tilly Grant Thornton BDO If your performance reviews and compensations chats have occurred and you want to discuss them, send us info or start a thread in […]
Since you guys care so much about salaries, let's talk about what the average accountant made in the year 1910. This was before the The American Association of Public Accountants (AAPA) changed its name to The American Institute of Accountants, which would become the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in 1957. From this pretty […]
We present the following charts for your enjoyment, amusement, and/or bewilderment.
This just arrived in our inbox this morning, let's skip the formalities and get right to it: FY15 variable comp ranges for us behind-the-scenes slaves were announced today, 12/11. Who are they kidding? Don't they realize nearly everyone at Manager and below gets a 3 rating no matter how much they do, how much they […]
We haven’t reported on the Sony hack yet because it has absolutely nothing to do with public accounting. Until today.
Did you recently get an offer? Have you been dying to have an avenue to share how much you'll be making and who you'll be working for? BOY are you in luck! This is your place to find out how your offer stacks up. If you're feeling cheated — or, worse, if you didn't get […]
If you remember, that is. Personally, I do. The job was with a boutique CPA firm and they offered, and I accepted, $43k. This was 2003. I imagine most people vividly remember their first job's salary. The feel of the paper it was printed on or the person who called with the news. But the […]
Hi, people. Everyone having a lovely day? Yeah, me too. Now that KPMG compensation is up and rolling in, we are ready to wrap the first annual Going Concern compensation survey. If it feels like this thing has been open forever, that's because it has. We're all ready for this thing to be over. The […]
So, the other day we got this gem in the tip box — which, by the way, isn't supposed to be used for crap like this as I have told you people 1,000 times: This website is terrible and very disappointing this year. It is impossible to find comp watch's for 2014 for big 4. […]
We have held off on this one as long as we can, but some of you are anxious to get the results from our Compensation Survey and the only thing holding us up is this here compensation discussion. So let's get to it! Since compensation season kicked off, we've learned that accounting firms are having […]
The Life at Deloitte Twitter account didn't tweet about compensation discussions happening (although we do know she recently moved to the new Orlando consulting hub and she's a legal Florida citizen now), but the tip box delivers: Deloitte Tax national comp webcast was today. On Aug 21 everyone will receive a statement online with raise […]
Well, folks, it appears BDO pulled a fast one on us and changed up the game by coming out with compensation way ahead of schedule (for BDO, anyway). Numbers have been known to come out as late as September in the past, which meant we totally ignored this person who wrote us at the end […]
This just in: GT has received performance ratings in the West Region (If not entire U.S.). Compensation talks are beginning for FY14. OH JOY, someone alert the media! Oh wait, we are the media. Well consider us alerted! Last year, the news was bad, even by Grant Thornton standards. We aren't sure what to expect […]
We've only been talking about this endlessly since we first put it together but until we close the Going Concern Compensation Survey (hey look there's a link to it, you should go take it), we're going to keep talking about it. In order to keep your interest, we're going to tease you with a fancy […]
We're coming straight out of Comp…ensation today with word that McG is joining the comp party with talks that started late last week: I just wanted to mention that McGladrey has started their compensation meetings so you may want to create a thread at this point. Consider your wish granted, young man. Two things: this […]
Yes, we know this is early but the natives are getting restless, as evidenced by our inboxes: EY compensation and promotion talks have began in the NY area We reached out to a friend of GC currently sentenced to 15 to life at EY in NY who could not confirm this: I can’t confirm what […]
Over the last 24 hours, we have been bombarded with tips that PwC comp discussions are happening. Historically, PwC has been first to kick off comp talks and it appears that's the case this year as we've yet to hear about any discussions at other firms. Let's head to the tip box and see what […]
As we watch the hours, minutes, and seconds tick away to the shutdown of the federal government, it'd be inappropriate if we did not mention that KPMG's fiscal year also ends tonight. Unlike the feds, everyone at the House of Klynveld will be reporting for duty tomorrow (previously arranged PTO, excepted); however, the latest comments on […]
According to the Rosenberg MAP Survey, which you can buy here if you feel like dropping $450, turnover at some CPA firms saw their turnover go up 50% in 2012. GAHHHHHH! Wait, it's NBD: Yes, turnover increased 50%. But the 16-18% range is about where staff turnover was at before the recession and where it […]
If you're of the House of McGladrey and you can't find the compensation thread, let me point you this way. Since conversations started on Friday, reactions are just starting to roll in and will continue through next Friday, but one source responded to our question of people's expectations this way: Tempered would be a good […]
Historically, mid-July is when things get rolling at McGladrey and yesterday we received the first notice that things were starting this week. Email went out that compensation and bonus discussions would begin on 7/12 and conclude by 7/26. I think a McG comp thread is in order. So you have all of today to gird […]
It's week two of discussions at Papa Whiskey Charlie, so if you're looking for that compensation thread, let me point you in this direction. You're welcome.
It's the last week of the year and that means no one is doing much of anything besides exchanging gifts for stuff they actually want and planning all the New Year's resolutions they won't keep. Your humble servants here at Going Concern are attempting to recharge our batteries this week, but we know you can't […]
~ UPDATE includes updated salary info after a flood of new submissions. Thanks to everyone that wrote in. Welcome to the final recruiting season roundup for 2012. Thanks for all your questions and freak outs this fall. If you ever encounter any interesting situations or simply have something on your mind that you want to […]
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 […]
Your daily serving of vegetables, brought to you by GC. Subject: Advice: negotiating a starting salary GC,I am graduating in December from a masters in accounting program and I am currently interning at Big 4 firm in advisory. I am hoping to get an offer after the internship and join the firm in January. Is […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Especially if you’re the jealous type.
According to accounting firm BDO, middle market CFOs typically earn 55% to 60% of their CEO’s pay, but in 2010 they earned just 40%, on average.
In a study of 600 public companies with annual revenues ranging from $25 million to $1 billion, BDO found that CFOs earned an average of $927,743 in 2010, a 19% increase from 2010, while CEOs earned an average of $2.34 million, representing a 25% increase from the previous year.
[R]esearchers examined “agreeableness” using self-reported survey data and found that men who measured below average on agreeableness earned about 18% more—or $9,772 more annually in their sample—than nicer guys. Ruder women, meanwhile, earned about 5% or $1,828 more than their agreeable counterparts. [WSJ]
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?
Thanks to our tipster who spilled the dirty details just moments ago:
No specific salary increases or bonuses were addressed, as the call was high-level. But here are the approximate levels:
Raise and Bonus Percentages:
3-rated (average) – 7% salary increase, 5% bonus
2-rated (middle) – 8.5% salary increase, 7% bonus
1-rated (highest) – 10% salary increase, 10% bonus
Milestone promotions (senior, manager, senior manager) would be 3 to 5% on top of the salary increases above. No additional bonuses or raises for new managers.
As expected, Deloitte talked a bit about salary multipliers, but not nearly to the extent that PwC did in their presentation. Of note on this front are the fact that experienced audit seniors can expect to earn 1.3x their starting salaries, as opposed to 1.5x at PwC. Also notable is the Deloitte model is “total compensation” (salary + bonus + rewards received), whereas PwC’s structure appears to apply only to salary.
We’re really sorry for taking so long to get this in order, or rather, Caleb should be sorry because it happened on his watch but, in his defense, he was off in the UK kissing up to the people who actually own this website and therefore technically make sure our checks are signed every month. So we’ll give him a pass. I’m sure ignoring KPMG compensation had absolutely nothing to do with any residual feelings he may have for the firm he once called home.
Anyway, we got word last week that some more KPMG comp talks started some time last week (OK, so they started last Monday) and apparently they are making all those fools at Uncle Ernie’s look pretty lame with their 11 percents.
We have it on good authority that, at least for our audit staff tipster, last week’s comp talks were probably going to bring news somewhere in the 16% range or thereabouts.
Well great, that’s not very helpful at this point, is it? We’ll have to badger our tipster incessantly to see how that worked out (we never heard further so maybe they took that 16.4%, bought a bunch of gold and ran off to Sri Lanka) but if any of you KPMGers have good news to share, please let it launch below.
As always, it’s extra helpful if you A) avoid commenting with your full name so the partners don’t get their Depends in a bunch over you blabbing your salary all over the Internet and B) include where you are, what service line you are in and any bonus.
Earlier: (UPDATE) Comp Watch ‘11: Early Returns Are in at KPMG
A call for action, Nashville market, we know you’ve been dying to have your moment in the spotlight.
I currently work for a Big 4 firm but I’m looking to move to Nashville. I know firms vary from each city and would like to get information on Nashville before deciding to try and transfer or see if there were openings in other firms. I would like to know the sizes of the different office and the clients for each firm. Is there any where that shows this information? I’ve tried searching online and can’t find anything and was hoping I could get input from anyone who has worked in that market.
Nashville, huh? We’re guessing there must be a man involved here but without knowing the specifics, you’re doing the right thing by sniffing the market out first. You probably already know that you’re not going to be making San Francisco or New York money but hopefully we can get some info for you.
If no one is going to speak up, there’s always Glassdoor. It lists Deloitte manager salaries in the $60 – $105k range. You didn’t say what firm you’re looking at (or if you care) but that’s a start.
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.
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).
This survey was done by the Institute of Management Accountants, so of course the AICPA would encourage you to wait for the CGMA to get a dual certification but if you just can’t wait, then the CMA should work fine.
IMA’s Annual Salary Survey explores salary trends of accounting and finance professionals and reveals that certain industries are faring better than others. Public accounting ranked first in terms of average salary, at $125,488, and second in average total compensation, at $153,395, both in 2010 and 2009. The survey was mailed to respondents last December, and the results have just been released this month.
“The CMAs in this year’s study make a little more than the CPAs,” said Dennis Whitney, senior vice president of certification at the Institute of Certified Management Accountants. “For the younger professionals, it’s a little more per year. The number does seem to go up as you get older, but generally it’s a couple of thousand dollars. But the thing that’s the most dramatic is that people with both the CPA and the CMA fare the best.”
For those with both certifications, the difference can be not only $27,000, but $35,700.
“Dual certification is definitely worthwhile,” said Whitney. “It broadens your competencies. You have not only the financial accounting and auditing skills, but also the financial planning, analysis, and control skills and decision-making, which are very important today.”
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.
Ed. note: Got a question for the career advice brain trust? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Long-time/first-time, love the show.” I was hoping you and the gang could help; I have received an offer from Big 4 Advisory as a Senior, and considering the current market, and that firms are expanding advisory quickly and trying to capture market share and increase revenues, I am wondering if I would be able to negotiate my salary north. I did not receive a signing bonus, but I know the Big 4 can be touchy about your salary, so maybe I should look into getting a signing bonus? I wanted to get your expert panel’s opinion, as well as your millions of readers. Thanks for your help.
Sleeping well in San Diego
San Diego Napper,
Welcome to the show. It’s great to see that Caleb is getting more advisory professionals reaching out. We’re all one underpaid, overworked professional services family so keep the emails coming.
Regarding your question, the timing is probably too late for you to maximize your bargaining power, both with your firm and in the greater job market. Being that you’re a senior (now a newly minted graduate) the window of opportunity has probably passed. You most likely received your fulltime offer either after completing a summer internship in 2010 or during the fall semester of your senior year. Then would have been the ideal time to “shop around” to the other Big 4 to see if you could earn yourself a competing offer. By this point in time, both the Big 4 and the major players in the consulting market have met their entry level hiring needs.
Similarly, without a competing offer in your back pocket, asking for a sign-on bonus now is the equivalent of looking for a free hand out. From browsing this website you know that’s generally not the way things work. Not to mention the fact that your firm wants its new hire class starting at the same monetary level; should you receive a sign-on, they’d be inclined to throw something to everyone. Why? Because all it takes is a team happy hour and you drunkenly blurting out, “I called up HR, spoke my mind and landed five grand, suck on that,” to stir up all kinds of angst within your practice.
Unless new hires are reneging on their acceptances and jumping ship for much lucrative (and last minute) offers, they will not be shelling out additional cash prior to your start date. The best thing you can do is work your tail off during your first year, positioning yourself well for the first year-end reviews in order to scoop up the heftier of the raises.
UPDATE: Blame the sun.
Apologies for missing the mark on this one, ladies and gents. As I sat in my
corner office parents’ basement enjoying a nice Cuban Phillies Blunt cigar, I debated which way to take this piece. Let’s look at the experienced hire route – like many of you have commented, there is definitely wiggle room for SWiSD to negotiate.
There are number of intangibles in play here: where SWiSD is now; what practice line they are in; if the firm they are moving to is an “upgrade” in market position for their practice line. Generally speaking, SWiSD should be receiving a bump in base from their current salary; a conservative estimate would be 4% – 10%. When negotiating for more $$$, SWiSD would be better off asking for a sign-on bonus. HR would prefer to position compensation as a one-time lump rather than have a new hire be significantly above their established staff in salary.
Great feedback everyone. Has anyone recently made the jump from one Big 4’s Advisory line to another firm’s? Tell us below.
Ed. Note: Give DWB a warm welcome back to regular posting. If you’ve got a question for the advice column, email us at email@example.com.
Good afternoon, everyone. Caleb must have tripped and knocked his sombrero-wearing-head last night, because he has invited me back for a weekly post. Regardless, I’m excited to be back. Let’s knock the rust off, shall we?
I am a 2nd year senior associate at a Big 4 firm. I like doing public accounting but am thinking that at my level and performance I am underpaid. I’ve several offers in hand but I do like what I am doing.
Now this does seem like a silly question – how do I go about asking for a raise without making it sound like that all I care about is money? In this economy…what are the chances that I am gonna get what I ask for?
Thanks a bunch!
You don’t specify whether your “several offers in hand” are for positions in the private sector or with other public accounting firms, so I’m going to address both.
Private sector – why are you interviewing with companies if you “like doing public accounting?” Turn these down.
Public accounting – you should be considering these offers if they are with another Big 4 firm. Do not go from Big 4 to mid-tier. Don’t have any offers with the other Big 4? See your own comments above and interview with the other firms. All four have problematic staffing issues this spring as the young guns continue to burn out. Sure, you’ll receive a nice little bump in pay when you transfer from one firm to another, but remember you’ll be down at the bottom of the networking food-chain.
Considering both the fact that you work at a Big 4 and it’s only a few months away from mid-summer raises and/or compensation restructuring, asking for a raise now will probably not lead to much. You work for an international firm responsible for more than 100,000 employees…you are one person. Granted, you are a second year Senior, which is one of the areas that all firms have a shortage at.
It also depends on your what practice line, your performance rankings and industry, as all of these factors play into how much leverage you will have. If you’re a top-ranked staff member with your CPA and on track to be a lead senior in the fall, your firm may toss you a $1,500 bone to keep you salivating for summer raises. If you’re more of the middle-of-the-road-and-I’m-studying-for-BEC type it would not totally surprise me if you were not given a raise or even shown the door. It would take the length of an episode of “30 Rock” for the word to spread through your office that all it took to get a bump in pay was to claim you had an offer from another firm. Leadership isn’t stupid.
Regardless of where you stand when compared to your peers, be absolutely certain you’re comfortable taking one of the offers you have should the latter situation happen. Your best bet is to wait until summer raises come through. The other firms will still be hiring experience staff in September.
Apparently! Our sister from across the pond has gotten over their Royal Wedding hangover to report that two-thirds of “finance professionals” would take less money if they were allowed to skip one day a week:
It seems that finance professionals are getting a taste for a more balanced lifestyle after the recent spate of bank holiday weekends. According to a recent survey, two-thirds of accountants would be happy to give up some of their salary to enjoy a four-day working week.
A survey of 2,882 finance professionals conducted by recruiter Marks Sattin found that 66% of respondents were more attracted by the prospect of a four-day working week and would be willing to sacrifice up to £11,000 a year [about USD $18k] to achieve a better work-life balance.
Only 6% said they are less attracted to a four day week than this time last year, while just over a quarter of respondents said they felt no differently.
Marks Sattin managing director Dave Way commented, “Appetite for a greater work-life balance is a sure indication that people feel more secure in their jobs. Since the recession, people have had to knuckle down and work harder. But as the economy picks up and there is less pressure on employers to make redundancies, people are increasingly prioritising a work-life balance.
Of course what isn’t mentioned is that even with a four-day work week, a number of people would just end up working longer hours on those four days and would spend a portion of their free day checking email and other various work-related activities. In the Big 4 (and the rest of the top 10-20 firms) however, there are people who are completely satisfied with the status quo and others willing to give their lives for the firm, so there’s little chance that you’ll see a big shift in culture. That said, it’s a question worth putting out there – would you take less money to work four days a week? Tell us below.
~ UPDATE: Email sent to audit professionals added to the end of the post.
How do variable increases “larger than last year for most of you and much larger for many” sound?
With the first half of FY2011 in the books, we want to provide you with an update on the firm’s and Advisory’s performance and share information about our plans for employee compensation.
We are pleased to report that the firm and Advisory are ahead of plan for the first half of the year. Advisory’s revenues have grown 18% compared to last year and our pipeline of opportunities stands at a record $1.5 billion, confirming the marketplace relevance of our services.
We have also successfully added more professionals to our team (over 800 new and e nnovated high value services (including services around cloud and data analytics), acquired a strategic sourcing business (placing us No. 1 in that important piece of the market) and strengthened our training programs (through Advisory University and many targeted programs).This is great news, and a direct result of your contributions!
Further, we are confident that we can finish the year in a very strong position if we continue to work together with a sharp focus on the marketplace, our people, the profitability of our engagements (including expanding the work we offshore to KPMG Global Services), and the timely billing and collection of our receivables.
So what does this mean for compensation? As we have said in the past, our philosophy is that as the business does well, we will share those rewards with our people. And, assuming we stay on plan the remainder of the year, that’s exactly what we plan to do:
Variable Compensation and Salary Increases
Based on our strong results to date, variable compensation will be larger than last year for most of you and much larger for many. Further, we expect that approximately 80% of you will receive a variable compensation award in October. And if you are a client service associate or senior associate, variable compensation is in addition to any awards earned as part of the Above & Beyond program.
Market conditions are dynamic and will vary greatly across our many service disciplines within Advisory. Therefore the range of salary increases will also vary greatly by individual and skill set. We have increased the planned spend for salary increases as well, so increases in base salaries on average will also be better than last year. We know that rewarding and recognizing our people is critical to fostering a high-performance culture, so you can be sure that we will continue to meet our commitment to provide an attractive and competitive total compensation package that differentiates exceptional performers with superior rewards.
Accelerated Compensation Communication
To help provide you with more clarity on what you can expect in the way of compensation come October 1, in July, a leader will meet with you individually to provide you with a line of sight into what you can personally expect to receive regarding salary increase and variable compensation. (As in past years, employees promoted as of July 1, will receive a promotion bonus at that time that will be in addition to any salary increase or variable compensation effective October 1).
And we ask that each of you continue working as a team, providing the best service you can to your clients and colleagues, and helping us to drive outstanding business results. Remember, the better the business does, the better we all do.
Thanks for everything you’re doing to build KPMG’s reputation as the best firm to work with, and to contribute to our success!
Reactions are welcome at this time.
UDPATE: Henry Keizer lays it down for the audit side of the house and while rosy (nearly identical wording as noted in the comments), there’s no specific “larger” or “much larger” language which may be of concern:
With the first half of FY2011 in the books, I want to provide you with an update on the firm’s performance and share information about our plans for employee compensation.
I am pleased to report that the firm is ahead of plan for the year. This is great news, and a direct result of your contributions. And, while there is still a lot more work to do, we are confident that, working together, we can finish the year in a strong position. We have good traction in the marketplace and anticipate that the demand for our services and skills will continue to be strong.
So what does this mean for compensation? As we have said in the past, our philosophy is that as the business does well, we will share those rewards with our people. And, assuming we stay on plan the remainder of the year, this year’s compensation pool will be enhanced compared to last year.
We know that rewarding and recognizing our people is critical to fostering a high-performance culture, so you can be sure that we will continue to meet our commitment to provide an attractive and competitive total compensation package that differentiates exceptional performers with superior rewards.
And we ask that each of you continue working as a team, providing the best service you can to your clients and colleagues, and helping us to drive outstanding business results. Remember, the better the business does, the better we all do.
Thanks for everything you’re doing to build KPMG’s reputation as the best firm to work with, and to contribute to our success.
Tax people – anything to report?
This one’s a stumper.
Accountancy Age reports that 14 Baker Tilly partners are giving up their equity stakes to go on salary including “international CEO Geoffrey Barnes, head of IT advisory Richard Spooner, and six partners from the London office.” A spokeswoman told AA that this is simply a change in “remuneration” and the fourteen individuals would remain partners and there “would be no change to client services.”
Riddle me this partners out there: why would a person with an equity stake go back to being a senior manager (i.e. in terms of the compensation structure)? Something doesn’t compute there. Since we’re dealing with the international CEO and head IT advisory, maybe there’s some kind of political or solidarity motive here but the Accountancy Age report is skimpy and its editor Gavin Hinks admits that there isn’t much to go on and gets to speculating:
The big question people are asking is what does it mean? Or does it mean anything at all? There are a number of reasons a partner’s status might change. They may simply no longer want the risk of being partner. The firm may believe profits are too diluted and want fewer partners.
I personally don’t buy the first motive. If they were sick of the risk, why not just leave the firm? There are plenty of jobs out there with better compensation packages. Diluted profits is a little more plausible but the international CEO and head of IT advisory? Why would they opt out? Since the partners in question made this decision themselves, it’s unlikely that this was a punitive measure but perhaps BT had a little bit of an internal email scandal, they were given a multiple choice form of punishment and this was the least severe option? I’ve really got nothing better at this point. People with theories that are slightly above the crackpot level are invited to share.
Welcome to the aren’t-you-glad-healthcare-reform-is-back-in-the-news? edition of Accounting Career Emergencies. In today’s edition, should an incoming associate expect a salary adjustment on day one or they doomed to a pittance?
Find yourself in a jam at work? Do you have eight hours to spare and aren’t sure how to best spend this rare free time? Wondering what you should get Sharon Allen for a retirement gift? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make sure you stay away from vacuum cleaners.
Returning to our Big 4 in waiting:
Can I expect to have my salary adjusted to market when I start employment? I will be starting in 2011. Reading through some of the articles and comments on here, it seems that new hires easily start with a salary above $50K. I received three offers from three Big 4 firms but all offered salaries were relatively far from $50K.
Each firm was within 1K-1.5K range from each other though. I know that starting salaries have even decreased in my area overall. I am not enjoying the thought of making less than what these firms have proven to have the potential to offer, or even making less than what another firm had to offer (although I knew that was the outcome by choosing this firm). I personally do not think it is worth asking for a raise or a salary adjustment since I feel that would only hurt my future annual raises. Should I just wait it out and see?
[Doubled over, catching breath, holding up hand with ‘I need a minute’]
Oh, dear. We had to take a break for a second, in fact our face hurts from laughing uncontrollably. Sorry about that.
Look friend, we don’t mean to make light of your question but a reality check is necessary here. There is virtually no chance that your firm will adjust to your salary when you start. You write, “I am not enjoying the thought of making less than what these firms have proven to have the potential to offer, or even making less than what another firm had to offer (although I knew that was the outcome by choosing this firm).”
We find this confusing for a couple of reasons – 1) obviously the Big 4 have “proven to have the potential” to pay more than $50k. It just happens this is occurring in a place where you don’t currently reside. If you did reside in one these places, your starting salary would eclipse the magical $50k. Were you expecting a big city salary for your mid-sized city lifestyle? 2) if you don’t like the idea of earning less money, why did you go with the firm that offered you less money? This simply doesn’t compute.
If making $50,000 is such a sticking point for you, move to a city with a higher cost of living so that you can eclipse the magic number you so desperately desire. If that’s not reasonable, then the best you can hope for is a pleasant surprise like PwC gave its recently hired peeps ($500 bonus for those hired post-June 30, 2010).
This may sound crazy but don’t get too caught up in what your salary is at the beginning of your career. So, to answer your question – sit tight and start your career. It’s a little early to be bitching about being underpaid when you haven’t billed a single hour.
Welcome to the squelch-the-tryptophan-withdrawals-with-cyber-Monday edition of Accounting Career Conundrums. In today’s edition, a Big 4 manager is pret-tay sure he is underpaid. How can he broach the subject with a partner without causing major blowback?
Need career advice? Want gift ideas that will score some points with a boss in your life? Wondering where you can find an old PwC backpack? Email us at email@example.com and we’ll sniff out a deal or a homeless person.
Back to our short-changed manager:
I was wondering if you could provide advice in how to determine if I am being underpaid and if I am how to go about asking for an increase? I am a 1st year Manager for a Big 4 firm in Kansas City. I have been with the same firm/office my entire career sans a 2 year secondment I completed in Dublin just in August. In addition, to having my CPA license I also hold the CFE certification and the CFA charter.
My feelings for asking for a raise are based on the additional certifications and knowing that my salary as a 1st year Manager is less than what 3rd year Sr. Associates were making in my office 2 plus years ago. I know the economy has changed during the subsequent 2 years but still feel like I am not fairly compensated. What advice do you propose? I am nervous about sharing my thoughts with my Partner as I am afraid of a potential backlash. Thanks in advance.
Dear Alphabet Soup,
Think you’re underpaid, huh? Seems to be theme around here. However, your situation is more unique than most so we’ll make a run at this.
First thing we noticed about your situation is that you’re a M1 which means you were recently promoted, which also mean you should have just received a better-than average raise. And we’re more than a little skeptical about your assertion that a SA3 is making more than you. That would have to mean that SAs are getting insanely good raises while you – the newly promoted manager – got an abysmal one; it seems unlikely. If this in fact the case, then you’ve had a serious string of bad luck.
As for determining whether or not you are underpaid, we suggest you speak to a professional recruiter in KC to find out whether or not your credentials and international experience or currently undervalued. If the recruiter takes a look at your résumé and starts drooling, you’ll know that he/she can earn a fat commission placing you somewhere else. If they shrug and say, “Look friend, you’re doing pretty well. But let me tell you about this great opportunity…” then your salary is probably fair.
When it comes to talking to a partner about this, be sure you’re speaking to someone you trust and just be honest. Make your case with facts. Don’t go speculating about what a SA3 is making because that turns the conversation to something that is out of your control. Highlight your credentials, international experience and why they bring value to the firm and your partner.
They’ve heard the “I’m underpaid” sob story a million times. You’ve got to prove to them that your case is an exception to the run-of-the-mill bellyaching.
In today’s edition of “I’d like advice from a bunch of strange accountants,” an experienced accounting associate is interviewing with the Big 4 and wonders if makes sense to waltz in, slam their fist on the table and demand more money.
Need some advice on your next career move? Want some pointers on how to win that coveted item at your local IRS auction? Having trouble with the law and wonder if you should share it with someone your firm? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you on the road to sobriety in no time.
Back to our prospective Big 4 associate with dollar signs in their eyes:
I will be going on a job interview with one of the Big 4 firms (currently employed with a large national firm), and they are interviewing for experienced associate/senior associate position. I have experience in an industry their office has a large need for, but not all the candidates to fill it. Even though I am a senior associate at a smaller firm, and may come in as a experienced associate, does it make sense to ask for a pay increase from what I am currently making? I will be relocating to another market, but I would assume the markets are comparable. Just wondering if anyone may have some thoughts on the salary I should be requesting.
Always about the money, isn’t it? Very well, then.
You’re with a large national firm which means you’re near the high end of the accounting salary range already. This doesn’t exactly help your negotiation for a higher salary with a Big 4 firm. To take that a step further, the Big 4 aren’t exactly the negotiating type. The range of salary at the Associate/Senior Associate level isn’t a huge and if you come in at a higher salary than your peers, you’re likely to be on the short-end of merit increases come merit increase time (as this is SOP). Plus, it’s unlikely that your work experience to date will impress the firm you’re interviewing to the extent that they’re A) begging you to join the firm and B) they’ll throw thousands of extra dollars your way (not that it makes that much of a difference).
All right, now that we’ve mercilessly shot you down, you’re ready to hear some good things – if the firm you’re interviewing with really has a need for your experience, it is likely that they are willing to pay you more. If you can demonstrate in your interviews with the partners and managers your knowledge and accomplishments, they will let HR know that want your hot auditing (or whatever) ass ASAP. And that’s the key – what do you offer that the clowns that started with the firm don’t? Run-of-the-mill statements like, “good work ethic, do what it takes” blah blah blah won’t do anything for you. Have you already reviewed other’s work, supervised staff, etc, etc? Differentiate yourself in substantive ways. Make that firm want you for what you bring to the table.
Bottom line: you probably won’t get to “request” your salary, you’ll simply be made an offer. But if you can present your coveted experience in a way that will make your interviewers crave you like Kardashians crave cameras in their faces, coupled with a jump to the higher pay scale of the Big 4, you’re likely to be happy with the salary they offer you.
Now that compensation season has passed for the major firms and most of the belly aching has died down, we’ll present some thoughts from a friend of GC and a Big 4 senior manager who shared the following with us earlier in the summer.
A few of us were talking today at lunch about compensation and how we like reading how much everyone bitches about what % raise they got and what they feel they should have been entitled too. An A1 thinks they deserve a $10,000 raise, and that would make them happy, c’mon give us a break?
It is easy to understand this is a prime area to feel you have been cheated in, however, we thought it might be interesting for some net dollar co effect, for those complainers who feel they were cheated with their raise %.
Interesting idea, we thought. Our muse suggested the following assumptions: 1) 40% tax rate – federal and state combined 2) 24 annual paychecks.
Our friend/source continues:
Would be interesting to see and shed a different light on a cash pay basis what the real difference is in pay for those who think they got cheated from a 8% raise and only got 6% or something, does the $35 per paycheck really require a personal vendetta or hours of frustrated Facebook status updates? Probably not.
My guess is that on an after-tax, per paycheck basis, some of these raises are equivalent to cutting out the morning Starbucks run, or latest iTunes download.
So we decided to dust off the Excel skills and crunch a few numbers to see if our Senior Manager friend was onto something.
We took a humdrum salary of $70k and applied the 8%, 6% comparison and tabled it:
|$ Raise (Annual)||$5,600||$4,200|
BFD you say? You got a 6% raise while some clown who couldn’t audit their way out of a paper bag got 14%? Fine, we’ll take a look at that too:
|$ Raise (Annual)||$9,800||$4,200|
So let’s say you’re the average shmo with the 6% raise and your friend/sworn enemy is getting the 14%. Are you really spitfire pissed that you’re missing out on $280 a month? We’re not talking life-changing sums here. If you’re consistently average over your career, maybe this will add up but hopefully your better sense will grab ahold and you’ll either A) step up your game B) move on with your life C) eliminate the competition (not condoning violence here, just pointing out that it’s a variable in the equation and maybe that it’s an option).
Rebuttal? Agree? Let it rip.
Robert Half rolled out its annual salary guide today (available for download here) and they’re saying that “compensation for accounting and finance professionals should see commensurate gains” with the “slight uptick in financial hiring,” that RH predicted last month.
You could interpret this as exciting news since “slight uptick” beats the hell out of the consistent “disappointing outlook” that we’ve seen over the ars.
Anyway, Roberto reports that for most positions, salaries rose anywhere from 1% to 3% but if you’re the type to sell out to the highest bidder (you know who you are) you’ll be most interested in the following:
• Senior business analysts are expected to see the largest boost in base pay in 2011, with their average starting salary rising 5.0 percent to the range of $66,500 to $85,500.
• Projected base pay for tax accounting managers at midsize companies ($25 million to $250 million in sales) is $69,500 to $92,500, up 4.9 percent.
• Starting salaries for financial analysis managers at both large (more than $250 million in sales) and midsize companies are predicted to climb 4.8 percent; senior financial analysts at midsize companies are predicted to see their base compensation rise to $60,000 to $78,000, a 4.7 percent increase.
• Senior compliance analysts at small companies (up to $25 million in sales) are anticipated to receive starting salary offers between $58,750 and $75,250, a 4.1 percent increase.
• Average starting salaries for tax services senior managers and directors as well as senior tax accountants at midsize public accounting firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales) are expected to climb 3.9 percent in the year ahead.
• Base pay for senior auditors at midsize public accounting firms is expected to range between $62,000 and $81,750, up 3.8 percent over 2010 levels.
• Within financial services, compliance managers can anticipate a 4.4 percent gain in base pay, to a range of $64,500 to $89,000.
Emphasis is Bob’s. What do these numbers mean? Honestly, not much for anyone that is happy with their current job situation. However, since compensation news season has more or less ended, those that are not happy with the news they got this year will be looking to the hot positions. A little bit of our own digging and impressions are as follows:
Mining through the report, you’ll be hard-pressed to find many surprises. If you’re looking for a Corporate Accounting gig, something with “Controller,” “Director” or “Compliance” in the title is going to have some of the highest salaries.
If you jump down to the rank and file you’ll find that if you’re a tax, IT or audit maven, then you’re likely to do better than your average humdrum general/cost accountant.
Likewise, an “analyst” of any stripe will have a little more earning power than your average non-analyst, although “Financial Analysts” saw a larger bump in salary than its fellow non-financial analysts.
Salaries for tax, audit and “management services” are surprisingly tight with audit on the low end followed by MS and then tax. This is consistent across all levels (i.e. associate, senior, manager, senior manager/director).
Also noteworthy is that public accounting salaries keeps pace with the in-house gigs at their relative corporate ladder levels. For example, an audit manager at a “Large Firm” makes only $4k less than a Internal Audit Manager at a “Large Company” and actually does better than many analyst positions at the “manager” level.
In other words, if you’re considering a lateral move, DON’T. You likely won’t make more money and you may end up making less. If you’re dying for changing, this of course means that you’ll have to find your way into a position that is a step above your current job to get a significant boost in salary.
You could argue that based on the data, this report at gives a lot of credence to the “Staying Until Manager” when it comes to salary and entry into a top-level position. As for practical experience, that’s a debate for another post. And based on our traffic numbers, accountants are all about salaries.
Today in accountant avarice, a youth took a cut prior to their start date last year and now wonders if this year’s crop will be raking in more. Will bringing injustice to a partner’s attention help?
Have a question about your career? Need help crafting the perfect prose in an email to your firm’s CEO/Managing Partner? Are you a firm thinking about getting a makeover but don’t know where to start? Send us an email to email@example.com and we’ll give the best free advice you can possibly find.
Back to our accountant in the poor house:
I work at a regional firm for about one year now. Prior to my start date my offer was reduced due to the economy. After recent discussions with the partner, I was told that I will be getting a “raise” but even after the bump, my new salary is below my original offer amount. Is there any chance, new hires coming in can make more than I, because my revised offer seems below market and I think my firm will be offering higher salaries to the new hires to remain competitive? Also, should I bring this up to the partner’s attention because I don’t think that they know my salary has been reduced and how would I go about doing this?
First, before we answer your question more directly, we should point out that worrying about what other people are making at your firm will drive you crazy. But because of the world we live in, knowing whether a co-worker is making more or less than us is a God-given right, we understand your desire for this knowledge.
As to whether the new grasshoppers at your firm are making more than you, we suggest checking out our salary thread from late last year, our map that shows salary by region and this year’s Big 4 starting salary thread to give you an idea where you fall on the scale.
But the short answer is, yes, it is possible that your first year associate is making more than you.
Now, what to do about that exactly? Well, before you scream at the cruel and unusual universe for being completely unfair to you, do your research and get a really good idea of what you think you should be making. Nothing will get you thrown out of a partner’s office faster than, “I need a raise because I said so.”
But market research may not be enough. You’ll need to demonstrate to the partner getting your pitch why you’re a valuable resource for the firm and point to specific accomplishments that support your argument. As a second-year associate, that can be a pretty tough sell.
What have you accomplished in the past year? Are you making it rain? Are you a trusted go-to on anything and everything for your clients? Are you involved advancing the firm’s brand and culture and mentoring other colleagues to do the same?
Partners like to hear about all that stuff because A) it gets their blood boiling in the nether regions and B) it means that you care about making them (i.e. the firm) more money and advancing its reputation.
So yes, you can bring your concerns to a partner but be prepared to sell yourself all over again because it’s a “what have you done for me lately?” situation.
Young Women’s Pay Exceeds Male Peers’ [WSJ]
“The earning power of young single women has surpassed that of their male peers in metropolitan areas around the U.S., a shift that is being driven by the growing ranks of women who attend college and move on to high-earning jobs.
In 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released Wednesday by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y.
The trend was first identified several years ago in the country’s biggest cities, but has broadened out to smaller locales and across more industries. Beyond major cities such as San Francisco and New York, the income imbalance is pronounced in blue-collar hubs and the fast-growing metro areas that have large immigrant populations.”
Burger King to be bought out at $24/share – CNBC [MarketWatch]
Whopperland’s stock is up 20% on the news that private equity shop 3G will shell out $24 a share.
KB Home says SEC investigation over [Los Angeles Times]
“Shares of Los Angeles-based KB Home soared on Wednesday after the home builder said an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the company’s accounting and disclosure procedures had concluded and no enforcement action would be taken.
The company said in a statement Wednesday that it had received a letter from the commission closing the investigation, which began in October. Details of the inquiry weren’t disclosed. KB Home closed at $11.45, up $1.14, or 11%.
‘We are glad to share with our investors and employees that the matter is now behind us, as we continue to focus on restoring the sustained profitability of our home building operations and generating future growth’ KB Home Chief Executive Jeffrey Mezger said.”
Heiress’ shady visitor [NYP]
“An accountant being investigated for his handling of 104-year-old Huguette Clark’s vast fortune has visited the hospitalized heiress in the past several days trying to get her to sign legal documents, The Post has learned.
Sources said they did not know if the accountant — convicted sex offender Irving Kamsler — obtained Clark’s signature on the documents after going to see her at Beth Israel Medical Center, but speculated that those files include a last will for the copper heiress.”
Bloomberg Stands By “Cowboy” Remark in State Cigarette Tax Dispute with Seneca Tribe [Tax Foundation]
Hizzoner isn’t apologizing to the Seneca Tribe after suggesting Governor David Paterson get a ‘cowboy hat and a shotgun’ to enforce New York’s cigarette tax. The Seneca Tribe wants an apology. Bloomy says it isn’t happening.
Thomas Dooley, CFO of Viacom, received a total compensation package of more than $26 million in 2009. John Killian of Verizon Communications made a lot less–a mere $9.6 million. And Ian G.H. Ashken of Jarden Corp. got $9.5 million.
Those fellas are the three highest paid executives included among the 25 most richly compensated CFOs in the Big Apple, according to a list just published by Crain’s New York Business, drawing on data from compensation research firm Equilar.
Indeed if you’ve been wondering how CFOs in big New York-based companies have fared during these tough times, the answer seems to be: pretty darn well. The lowest paid on the list, Laurence Tosi of the Blackstone Group, made a mere $4.6 million. Second to last Adena Friedman of Nasdeq OMX Group: $4.8 million.
The biggest jaw dropper, however, is Dooley, who received $10 million in non-equity compensation and $10 million in stock awards. That, in fact, is somewhat of an anomaly among the group members. Generally the CFOs received a hefty sum in either non-equity compensation or stock and option awards, not in both. (An exception is Colm Kelleher of Morgan Stanley, who made $9.4 million but got zip in both non-equity compensation and stock/option awards. He did, however, get a $64 million bonus).
Also noteworthy: About nine of the executives received these breathtaking compensation packages even though the company had a net loss from 2008 to 2009. Gregory Hughes of SL Green Realty Corp., for example, made $6.1 million, while the company had a loss of 84.9 percent. Pierre Legault got $4.9 million even as the corporation had an 82.8 percent loss.
Of course, this pay isn’t typical of the compensation at most companies. “These CFOs are going to get paid more than your typical CFO, simply because they’re in a large metropolitan area and a large company,” says Aaron Boyd, head of research at Equilar. According to Boyd, a recent report on CFO compensation among the S&P 500 found median pay to be around $2.5 million.
Hey I’ll take it.
I’ve always been a nerd.
Not a dork, a nerd. The financial services industry and its incredible economic influence (from tax structuring to secondary industries like cab drivers and event planners) has always interested me. So it should come as no surprise that I am an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal (I have the dual paper/online subscription…obviously).
There was an article in today’s edition that has to do with getting “the salary you want.” If only it was as easy as these five points. For what it’s worth, here’s my summary of, and input on, how these
rules suggested guidelines if you are looking to transition out of public accounting:
• Do your research – The article makes a point to research what current salary ranges at the potential place of employment could be. Salary.com, Payscale.com, and Glassdoor.com are all mentioned. My advice – remember to do your research with grains of salt in easy reach. The greater number of employees that contribute their statistics will lead to a more accurate number. (Glassdoor.com lists PwC’s “audit associate” salary average salary as $53,358. Is that accurate? You tell me.)
• Don’t give out the first number – When you get beyond the confusion of that statement, you realize the article is referring to the pay day you would love to receive if given the job. My advice – Don’t give a number. Here’s exactly what you need to say if asked “what is your ideal salary:” “For me the role and opportunity is what is most important.”
Yes, that is a vague statement. But it is your recruiter’s job to fight for your salary; remember their pay day is dependent on yours.
• Don’t lie – Listen to your mother. My advice – this is self-explanatory. Your current salary will be verified. Lying to your recruiter about anything – most notably salary and background check details – is a way to sever ties indefinitely.
• Don’t take the first offer – The article goes back and forth about negotiating salaries, something that you won’t do if you use a recruiter. However, if you are not using a recruiter, I recommend reading this bit. My advice – People typically have two magic numbers in their head: 1) the salary they’ve dreamt of and 2) the number they really need to receive in order to commit to leaving. Be honest with your recruiter. They will fight for you, or they will talk you off the ledge of asinine expectations.
• Once that’s locked in, go for other benefits – The article pretty much shoots itself in the kidney on this one. Read it. It’s 17 seconds you’ll never have back. My advice – consider the benefits part of your total compensation. More or less vacation days? Summer flex programs? Cheaper health benefits? Better 401k? List everything out and compare with your current situation. Due to fair employment practices, companies are usually hand-tied to offering equal employees different (or “better”) benefits.
That’s all I have. Oh and for the record, the difference between dorks and nerds is simple. Dorks read the Journal with coffee. Nerds read the Journal with scotch.
Last Friday’s post by Caleb surrounding the Bonus Watch at Deloitte sparked a handful of intuitive comments from GC readers.
In case you didn’t read the post and subsequent commentary, Commenter Anon51 responded to the question “what do readers suggest firms do to retain practitioners” with the following:
1. treat every team member with respect
2. you can’t just force your team to work harder year after year with fewer people and a smaller budget
3. pay 4-7 year people more, pay new hires less, so it seems there is an incentive to working harder
4. reward your people with an extra day off without having to utilize vacation time, especially after a really busy month/audit
Point 3 is bolded because it resulted in the following comment from Guest:
“That’s a really good idea, and I’m not being sarcastic. There is no reason why new hires fresh out of college need to make $59k ($55k + $4k sign-on bonus), when they would happily work for $50k. Then, a $5k bump every year would be a reward, with maybe a higher bump during promotion years…Pay disparity is a bigger issue than actual pay.”
Well said, Guest and Anon51.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the Big 4 are constantly in cahoots with one another with regards to hiring benchmarks. So I propose that TBig4PTB get together and reassess their starting salaries. Behold, a template for all Big Wigs to follow:
1. Decrease starting total packages (salary + sign on) by seven percent. Lower the bar from the get-go.
2. Now is the time – blame the decrease on “a firm wide strategic response to the economic risks of being a major player in the professional services industry. Unofficial response – did you see the DOW sink like the Titanic the other day?!”
3. Spread gap created by initial decrease in salary over the next two years. This will create an artificial sense of accomplishment and praise.
4. Send internal emails stressing the “increase in raises for well deserving employees.” Everyone cheers.
5. In three years college graduates will not know the difference; this “decrease” becomes a non-issue.
Guest’s comment that “pay disparity is a bigger issue than actual pay” can become a non-issue with very little effort. Is this fair or ethical? Mehhhhh. I personally think it would be a slap in the face to those of you who have busted your humps and sacrificed career and personal opportunities all in the name of KPDeloitterhouseErnstMG. But it certainly wouldn’t be the most desperate attempt made by one of the firms in recent memory.
Raising morale – hardly. What are your thoughts?
Can we have a show of hands who takes a list of employers published by Time Warner seriously? Fine. To hell with you; for this particular exercise we’ll assume that the list is 100% accurate.
Here’s the breakdown for the Big 4 on the CNNMoney’s 100 Top MBA Employers, Where MBA students say they’d most like to work:
#12 – Deloitte
#44 – PricewaterhouseCoopers
#45 – Ernst & Young
#75 – KPMG
So Deloitte dominates when you look at the Big 4’s performance. To put it in a little bit of perspective, Deloitte ranks ahead of The Blackstone Group and Morgan Stanley while the rest of the Big 4 rank behind the State Department.
Is this possibly due to the fact that they are the only firm to keep their consulting (not Advisory) practice in-house? Do they simply do a better job of selling their firm? Or is it possibly because male-patterned baldness is not discriminated against in leadership positions?
Or maybe we’re making too much of this. All the firms have a spot on the list and Google beats everybody’s ass with extreme prejudice, so is this one of those “it’s just a thrill to be on the list” moments, which results in the fliers all over your office and in the halls of Career Services at B-schools?
But forget all that for a minute. What’s really surprising (or perhaps not) is that the expectation of MBA graduates whose preferred field is public accounting are expecting an average salary of $59,176 for their first job after graduation. That amount is less than those for academic research ($79,590), education/teaching ($76,138), government/public service ($77,943) and “Other” ($92,110). Oh, and it’s behind “Auditing/accounting/taxation (corporate)” at $64,841. The average salary for preferred fields is $90,990.
Five years after graduation, those same graduates expect to make $92,075. Again, dead last. The average salary being $157,324.
Whether this says more about the state of the accounting profession or the firms that court those seeking accounting focused MBAs, we’re not really sure.
But in the grand scheme of things, it might just say that Deloitte’s position on the list may be – gasp – meaningless.
100 Top MBA Employers [CNNMoney]
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.
Last week we kicked off our certification series by looking at the CFE for those of you interested in becoming numbers sleuths that also have the figurative iron-clad stones that Sam Antar insists are imperative for any CFE.
This week we look at the Certified Management Accountant (“CMA”) credential and while it’s probably not as sexy as the CFE, a lot of you may want to consider the CMA if you see yourself spending a good portion of your career working as an in-house accountant or finance pro.
The credential is administered by the Institute of Management Accountants whose website states that “85% owork inside organizations, where expertise in decision support, planning, and control over value-adding operations are crucial elements of operational success,” and boasts 60,000 members worldwide.
Here’s the rundown on the CMA:
You can meet the education requirement by verifying that you have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university or that you have a professional qualification, such as a CPA (here’s a partial list of global certifications that qualify).
The professional requirement for the CMA is two continuous years of experience in management accounting or financial management. This can be completed prior to the application or within two years of passing the CMA exam. The website states that, “Qualifying experience consists of positions requiring judgments regularly made employing the principles of management accounting and financial management.”
There is a long list of experience that will satisfy this requirement including financial analysis, budget preparation, management information system analysis, financial management, management accounting, auditing in government, finance or industry, management consulting, auditing in public accounting, research, teaching or consulting related to management accounting or financial management.
The CMA Exam is currently transitioning from a four-part format to a two-part format. The two-part format rolls out on May 1st but testing of the four-part format will be available through December 31, 2010. The new format will focus on financial planning, analysis, control, and decision support. The two four hour exams consist of 100 multiple choice questions and two 30 minute essay questions.
Part 1 breaks down like this:
Planning, Budgeting and Forecasting (30%)
Performance Management (25%)
Cost Management (25%)
Internal Controls (15%)
Professional Ethics (5%)
And Part 2:
Financial Statement Analysis (25%)
Corporate Finance (25%)
Decision Analysis and Risk Management (25%)
Investment Decisions (20%)
Professional Ethics (5%)
There’s a lot of information on the new exam format including fees, testing windows, and more that can be seen here.
After certification, you are required to complete 30 hours of CPE annually, of which, 2 hours are required to be in ethics.
Many CMAs work in budgeting, financial planning, cost accounting, performance evaluation, asset management and other various capacities. The work often times result in internal reports that will help management make prudent decisions rather than just taking wild stabs at running their respective companies. So it goes without saying that this is important stuff.
For those of you still working in the public realm, you can get benefits out of a CMA too. Our favorite Exuberant Accountant, Scott Heintzelman, has a CMA and he told us that it helps him better understand the needs of his manufacturing clients, “I had a bunch of clients in the manufacturing space and many of the controllers were CMA’s. I thought taking the time to get this certification would give me more creditability with this group…it helped me gain more manufacturing clients as they saw me as one of them, not just a CPA.”
Compensation and Other Benefits
According to the IMA’s most recent survey, CMAs earn 24-31% more than their non-certified colleagues. Those surveyed that have both a CMA and a CPA have even higher salaries. Now, we know what that you’re hung up on money but there are some other advantages too.
According to Scott, “Partners then had this belief [then] that the CMA was a brutal test (and it was). So a year later I started the process and actually was fortunate to pass the entire test on the first attempt. I had also passed the CPA exam on the first attempt a year earlier and so my partners suddenly thought I was some super smart young accountant and many believed I was ‘fast tracked’ to partner. I believe I just worked my butt off to learn that stuff, but none the less several of my partners looked at me differently. A very key moment in my young career.”
Multiple sources have told us that Bob Moritz has put a number out there for comp adjustments during the firm’s webcast today :
Sitting in the Bobby Mo Firmwide Townhall Webcast. Raises: 5% to 8%.
But don’t start high-fiving just yet:
PwC expected to be 5% to 8% raises this year, but still a “quarter to go” per Moritz on today’s townhall webcast.
Early reports also are that internal firm services (IFS) will be getting 3-5%.
Thoughts? Your move, KPErnstDeloitteMG.
• Rangel Challenged by a Historic Foe [WSJ]
Someone finally realized that Charlie Rangel’s constituents in New York’s 15th District have maybe had enough of Chuck and his “pay taxes as I wrote them, not as I pay them” ways. Rangs will be challenged in the primary by New York State Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, according to the Journal. Not only does Mr Powell have an upper hand in the ad campaign department but there’s a bit of history here.
Powell Number III, sire of IV, was defeated by ChaRang back in 1970 amid his own ethical trubs. ACP 4th Edition insisted to that this had nothing to do with sweet, sweet revenge, “It has nothing to do with revenge or anything like that. Anyone with that record in public service would be interested in higher office.”
It won’t be easy for ACP4 however. He was flicked away by Rangs in a primary challenge back in 1994 and was recently convicted of “driving while impaired,” which actually seems worse than hogging rent-controlled apartments, since that could result in, you know, someone getting killed.
• My Paycheck, My Self? [FINS]
Does your salary define you as a human being? Or, at the very least, does it feel that way? Master pay czar Ken Feinberg had to snoop around some people that pull down some hefty scratch and he found out that the human psyche can easily be affected by their pay stub.
• PCAOB Issues Staff Audit Practice Alert on Auditor Considerations of Significant Unusual Transactions [PCAOB]
Don’t worry about the plain old vanilla transactions auditors, the PCAOB needs you to be on the lookout for significant unusual transactions. What that entails, we don’t really know but we’ll assume that means any transaction, and the PCAOB means any transaction, that looks remotely out of the ordinary, has a funny name (that may or may not include a “105”), requires smokey-filled room approval etc., definitely give it a second look. Or a third.
Back again to decipher more of the data that you so graciously shared with us on our salary thread from December.
After noting that average Big 4 salaries and non-Big 4 salaries were essentially even, we now present the average regional salaries for you enjoyment or dismay:
• Mid-Atlantic– $88,831
• Northeast– $72,024
• Southeast– $56,000
• Midwest– $65,124
• Southwest– $73,185
• West – $64,706
Some analysis and the map, after the jump.
Surprisingly the Mid-Atlantic boasted the highest average salary based on the data collected. This was due primarily to two salaries that were reported from “JDs” working in “Washington National Tax.” The Mid-Atlantic average also included an Associate Director that reported a considerably higher salary than the average. If these three salaries are removed, the average salary is $76,254. which may be more in line with your expectations.
Another surprise that we saw was the higher than expected Southwest average salary. Again in this case, a brave Senior Manager in an advisory practice reported a much higher salary than most submitted. When this is removed the Southwest average comes down to $68,134, again, probably closer to what you would expect.
The Northeast, Southeast, and West all seem about right to us although we might have expected the West salaries to be a bit higher but then again we’re going with what we’ve got.
The map below shows how we grouped the states in the respective regions, with a few additional details on the regions.
Last month we opened a thread on your salaries and your response was impressive. Just for fun, we found some poor soul to crunch some of the numbers so that we might share some information on the data we gathered.
We’ll start off with a post facing off the Big 4 salary against non-Big 4 salary. Here are the average salaries for each based on the data we collected:
• Non-Big 4 – $72,136
• Big 4 – $71,166
If you getting worked up over less than a $1,000 difference, then you’re more shrewd than we imagined. For the more reasonable of you, the discussion is, what are the unmentionables here? Both Big 4 and non-Big 4 firms have their advantages and many of you have made the jump from Big 4 to non-Big 4; non-Big 4 to Big 4; Big 4 to non-Big 4 back to Big 4, whatever.
A popular argument is that the Big 4 work experience is irreplaceable on a resumé but is it? Will potential employers really pick someone with a Big 4 background the majority of the time?
Most people would agree that auditing is auditing and the tax law is the same no matter where you work. Smaller firms have just a many unique clients as large firms so there’s experience to be gained everywhere.
Now before you start shouting, “if you want a job at a Fortune 500 company, blah, blah, blah” how many of those jobs are really out there? Enough so that everyone that has left a Big 4 firm will be able to find a job? Let’s not pretend we all have the same ambitions here.
The good folks at Accounting Principals (they’re your pals) and Parker & Lynch put out their salary guide for 2010 last week and we managed to pour through the thing as superficially as possible.
With that in mind we present to you the top five average base salaries at various levels as presented by the guide:
Accountants and Financial Personnel
• Senior Budget Analyst – $75,200
• Tax Accountant – $74,000
• Senior Financial Analyst – $72,900
• Senior Treasury Analyst – $72,400
• Senior Internal Auditor – $72,300
• Financial Reporting Supervisor – $80,400
• Tax Supervisor – $77,800
• Budgeting Supervisor – $77,300
• Auditing Supervisor – $73,600
• Cost Accounting Supervisor – $71,900
• Audit Manager – $109,300
• Tax Manager – $105,400
• Sarbanes Oxley Manager – $99,800
• Financial Analysis Manager – $99,500
• Financial Reporting Manager – $95,700
Executive and Senior Managers
• CFO – $329,600
• Finance Director – $210,600
• Treasurer – $183,900
• Top Audit Executive – $179,200
• Controller – $175,500
It’s pretty clear that the first big jump is at the manager level and then we see another even bigger jump at the executive/senior manager level. The guide doesn’t appear to include partner salary data which as it has been discussed, varies widely.
For anyone that’s looking for a job based primarily on salary (you know who you are), these positions may be the ones to look at first.
We received a request over the weekend to discuss everyone’s favorite topic: money.
This is a great idea on many levels since A) it’s been quite some time since we’ve dedicated a post to the subject B) there are plenty of newbies that have started since then but mostly C) knowing what everyone else is making is your God-given right.
Hopefully, this new thread will get everyone up to speed (or just completely pissed off on a Monday) and ready to run through brick walls in 2010.
In the comments, provide the following:
• Salary without bonus, bonus amount
• Practice (audit/tax/advisory), practice subgroup
• Firm, city/region
• Other notes/complaints
The reader requesting the thread, was kind enough to provide their details:
• $52k, $3k (in start year, bonus was a whopping $0 this year)
• Associate 2
• PwC, Northern California
This is an equal opportunity post so regardless of your firm, get your numbers out there (this means you: GT, BDO, RSM/M&P, Crowe, Moss Adams, anyone else).
UPDATE, Tuesday: Thanks for all the input so far. Feel free to email us if you want to give us more details on your salary or ideas or other related thread discussions.
Other money related discussions:
Problem of the Day: Do You Quit Your High-Paying Job with the Idiot Boss?
Satisfied with Your Salary?
Problem of the Day: Your Staff Makes the Same Money As You (Maybe More)
An official tally was necessary since it’s pretty obvious that Americans are way more hung up on money than our British counterparts. Results after the jump.
• So satisfied I need a cigarette – 8.7%
• Even if it’s bad, it’s still pretty good – 36.4%
• I can’t get no satisfaction – 54.9%
Frankly, we expected a larger margin of victory for “no satisfaction” what with the ubiquitous Siberia treatment and some of the staff making more than you. We admire your resolve.
As for the 9% of you that are getting hot thinking about your paycheck, we’re assuming you’re either in a constant state of bliss or delusional. Kindly elaborate.
Thanks to all that voted!
This is the last thing we thought we would see: No grumbling from accountants over pay freezes.
Maybe our number crunching friends across the pond are less hung up on money but Stateside “No grumbling” is, at the very least, debatable.
We figured getting a comparison poll was in order. So, continuing the theme of election day, we’ll ask you to vote again, this time on how you feel about your current salary. Feel free to elaborate in the comments.
Robert Half has issued its salary guide for 2010 and we wouldn’t say that’s its chock full of good news. It follows the Ajilon salary guide that came out a couple of weeks ago and it seems to present a lot of the same sobering conclusions.
Salaries will be virtually flat, according to Bob’s guide, increasing approximately 0.5% for next year. However, there are some areas that seem to have better prospects than others including:
• Tax accountants
• Financial analysts
• Senior and staff accountants
• Business analysts
Along with these positions, the guide states that employers are seeking professionals with certifications, broad experience, and expertise in technology or compliance.
RH also has a “Public Accounting Outlook” in the guide and it does not paint a pretty picture:
Compensation packages in public accounting have seen notable changes. Salary levels have moderated, with declines reported in some areas. Additionally, instances of large signing bonuses and raises are far less common and typically reserved for premier performers.
The silver lining is, again, for tax professionals but since more companies are trying to do tax work in house, public firms are now competing directly with their corporate clients for the talent. It also indicates that some smaller firms have done some hiring and our earlier post on considering a smaller firm elicited some comments in favor of choosing that route.
Overall, with the significant change in the political environment, the job market for accountants seems to be trending towards positions centered around compliance and rule changes and the competition will likely be fierce. You can request a copy of the salary guide by going here.
For those of you currently on the job search, discuss the salary trends that you are seeing in the current market. Good luck to everyone that is currently on the hunt.
Maybe! Depends on who you ask. We’re looking for opinions since we received a tip on what Jim Turley is pulling down:
Saw some info yesterday in a partner’s office. JDawg is pulling down $6 million…every year in October timeframe the partners at EY get a partner report on the “partner news network”. In this report EY shows partner information – the 5 highest paid US partners that are not in client service. So this includes generally JDawg, the AABS managing partner, tax managing partner, the Americas Vice Chair and a few other vice chairs. They started giving out this information about 4-5 years ago.
Our tip also stated that the non-J Dawg execs were pulling down in the nabe of $2.5 million.
Considering that J Dawg’s CEO duties include appearances on CNBC, being an IFRS cheerleader and eating f*(king chicken with Rahm, among other glad-handing and back-slapping duties, $6 mil makes for a nice round number.
Is $6 million fair for J Dawg? Discuss in the comments and pass along any further details you’ve got JT or other CEO salaries.