September 24, 2022

Salaries

Current and historical data on accounting salaries, bonuses, and Big 4 compensation discussions.

How Would Salary Transparency Go Over at Accounting Firms?

In case you're new round these parts, compensation is a popular topic of conversation.

This Way, Please

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 […]

Directing Traffic

Looking for a compensation discussion thread, you say? There are several going on right now, so follow these links to your firm of choice: PwC McGladrey Baker Tilly Grant Thornton If your firm deserves a thread of its own, drop us some info on the process and timing or throw one up in Open Items. 

Here’s Your Open Thread for Grant Thornton Compensation Discussions (2015)

The last time we teased with talk of GT compensation, our tipster seemed impatient and harboring inflated expectations. Hopefully most of you McGuire Munchkins are either more patient or realistic about your comp news. Or perhpas you've adopted, "I don't care about money anymore," as your personal comp season motto. That'd be a fun surprise […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Baker Tilly Compensation Discussions (2015)

We were gently reminded that Baker Tilly compensation discussions happened around this time last year, so it behooves all of us to start the 2015 version today. It should be mentioned that in last year's thread the first comment warned against participating in the merrymaking: We were specifically warned by management not to share results […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for McGladrey Compensation Discussions (2015)

Some restless Mickey G’s (soon-to-be RSM) employees have been tapping on our shoulders this week:

Here’s Your Open Thread for PwC Compensation Discussions (2015)

Oh, look, it's mid-June. Busy season is over and compensation season is here. Yes, it's time to find out which of you have been justly rewarded for your efforts and which of you are feeling like an untipped bathroom attendant. PwC is always the pacesetter in comp discussion season and we appreciate their consistency, as […]

Counteroffers Rarely Work for Employees Jumping Ship

A recent Robert Half study found that 78% of CFOs don't extend counteroffers to employees who are leaving. Chris Jensen, CPA, cgma, explains: “In most cases, when someone leaves and gives you the heads up, it’s probably best for both parties to separate,” said Jensen, the CFO at Pinnacle Exhibits in Hillsboro, Oregon. “They’re ready […]

Is the Pay Gap in Public Accounting Firms Widening?

American Lawyer has an interesting story about the growing pay gap in law, meaning a small handful of top guys are bringing in $10 million or more, while the low level grunts at the associate level are bringing home a paltry $160,000, on average. Let’s take a look:

#TBT: What a Competent American Accountant Made in 1910

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 […]

Celebrate the New Year with Accounting Salaries Charted by Company Type, Role, Service Line and More

We present the following charts for your enjoyment, amusement, and/or bewilderment.

Here’s Your Open Thread for Public Accounting Full-Time Offers: Fall 2014

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 […]

The CGMA Blog is Excited About the CGMA Exam

Because of course they are. Excited?  About an exam?  Seriously? Yes, seriously.  As studious and determined people with big dreams and ambitious life goals, we’re used to being tasked with reciting formulas, choosing the best answer and memorizing large quantities of information in order to prove our aptitude in traditional school subjects.  But how do […]

Survey: What Was the Salary at Your First Accounting Job?

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 […]

How to Find All the Compensation Threads on Going Concern For Total Idiots

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. […]

Lifehacker Makes the Crazy Suggestion Salaried Workers Should Calculate Their Hourly Wage

My fellow salaried workers, take a moment to read this: In a (very good) Quora post, [film producer Christopher] Pollock lists 10 lessons everyone should know about personal finance. They're all great, and many are lessons we've talked about before—but this one caught our eye: "Your hourly earnings are important. Your annual earnings are not. […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for KPMG Compensation Discussions (2014)

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 […]

IMA Survey Shows Men Make More Than Women and Certifications Matter

The Institute of Management Accountants salary survey came out yesterday, and you should check it out if you're into that sort of thing. Quickly while we're on the topic of salary, consider this your friendly reminder that the Going Concern Compensation Survey is still open and it would be great if you can take a […]

FT Offer Watch: Public Accounting Starting Salaries for the Class of 2014

We know those of you awaiting offers have been watching compensation threads tick by thinking to yourselves "man, I can't wait to get my offer and compare my salary to those of my fellow interns-turned-FTers in one big monetary weenie measuring contest on GC!" and day after day goes on with no one mentioning offers. […]

Deloitte Compensation Discussions Redux

We sent out a little reminder about where to find the EY comp thread earlier this week and it seemed to help a lot of people find their way.  But judging by the activity, it seems some Green Dots could use some help finding their money talks/bs walks thread as well. Allow me to direct you Deloitte […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Deloitte Compensation Discussions (2014)

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 […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Crowe Horwath Compensation Discussions (2014)

It's August. It's hot. The collective stench of human bodies and rotting trash hangs around like that unwelcome friend who won't stop talking about his latest dating failure. There's little you can do but hold your nose and wait for it to pass. Lucky for us, we can still have the public accounting firm summer […]

Grant Thornton to Employees: “Your Compensation Notice Is In the Mail”

We wondered why our premature Grant Thornton compensation thread was a tad crickety. Now we know. From our tipster: We just got a message from National HR regarding comp adjustments.  It appears that all comp adjustments will first be communicated via snail mail, as opposed to one-on-one conversations in with practice leaders.   In years […]

(UPDATE) Here’s Your Open Thread for Grant Thornton Compensation Discussions (2014)

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 […]

Compensation Survey: Which Firm Pays the Most?

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 […]

Comp Watch ’14: Here’s Your Open Thread For McGladrey Compensation Discussions

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 […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Baker Tilly Compensation Discussions (2014)

Yes, Baker Tilly. We believe in equal opportunity kvetching when it comes to public accounting employees and their pay.  We received this tip in the tip box late yesterday: Ratings and promotions have been announced for Baker Tilly, at least in the Greater Wisconsin region. Compensation talks shouldn't be far behind. Now, because ParenteBeard is […]

(UPDATE) Here’s Your Open Thread for PwC Compensation Discussions (2014)

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 […]

Survey: CFOs Digging Deep Into Bag of Tricks to Attract Talent

In an unexpected revelation, an Accountemps survey found that CFOs plan to offer more money and better benefits to attract professionals with "in-demand skills." Of the 2,100 finance chiefs surveyed, 46% are improving benefits and 45% are boosting compensation. In an earlier survey, Accountemps found that CFOs are on the lookout for professionals with "[g]eneral […]

Comp Watch: Public Accounting Partners and Their Buckets of Money

This is per Accounting Today by way of the Rosenberg Survey: Income per equity partner at the nation’s CPA firms jumped 5.5 percent in 2012, climbing to $386,000, according to the recently released 2013 Rosenberg MAP Survey. If you have an extra $450 sitting around gathering dust, you can pick up your own copy of […]

BREAKING: Staff Leaving CPA Firms for More Money

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 […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for KPMG Compensation Discussions (2013)

UPDATE: Hopefully by putting this post front and center, this will eliminate any confusion. But try to use your inside voices. Some of us are trying to work.  UPDATE 2: It's been nearly week so we're moving this post over to the margin. Instructions re: inside voices still applies. It has been a year of […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Rothstein Kass, Crowe Horwath, BKD, Moss Adams et al. Comp Discussions (2013)

A year ago TODAY we did the et al. compensation thread for any and all accounting firms that typically fly below the radar, so it seems fitting that we would mark the occasion again on August 29th. Plus, someone at Rothstein Kass is practically begging us: Can you please open a compensation thread for Rothstein […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for Deloitte Compensation Discussions (2013)

Back in late June, someone in Deloitte Tax was feeling optimistic enough about this compensation to share their thoughts with us. Now it's mid-August and someone's anxiety has gotten the best of them:

Here’s Your Open Thread for Grant Thornton Compensation Discussions (2013)

Last month we put out the GT comp fluffer post and with raises effective on August 1st, I suppose it's about time we gave the dynamic tattooed masses the thread they've been waiting for.

ICYMI: McGladrey Compensation Discussions Have Started and People Aren’t Getting Their Hopes Up

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 […]

Bonus/Comp Watch ’13: KPMG Advisory

Sometimes on a hot summer day there's nothing better to do than talk about but money.  A recent memo from KPMG's advisory leadership entitled "Outlook for 2013 Compensation" is happy to share the news that FY 2013 has been motoring along and that they are cautiously optimistic the last quarter will round out nicely:  We […]

Here’s Your Open Thread for McGladrey Compensation Discussions (2013)

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 […]

Promotion/Comp Watch ’13: Optimism in Deloitte Tax

I just flew in from Las Vegas and boy, are my arms tired. Thanks for your patience. Your reward is the latest chatter on the promotion/compensation watch from Deloitte Tax: Deloitte Tax in Chicago let its TCII's know who is going to be promoted to senior, so I'm assuming other individuals getting promoted to manager, […]

Comp Watch ’13: At Least One Grant Thornton Dynamo Is Optimistic

On Monday, compensation kvetching season officially kicked off with PwC. Papa Whisk(e)y Charlie generally sets the tone for the rest of the summer and we see some firms adjust their plans accordingly. Of course there are plenty of firms that don't adjust their plans, but probably do so at their own peril.   ANYWAY. The PwC […]

Comp Watch ’13: This Year’s Accounting Graduates Will Be Resented More Than Ever

With an average starting salary of $53,300, the class of 2013 might have to endure some envious snipes from their Class of '12 co-workers: The average starting salary for accounting graduates this year is $53,300, up from $49,700 in 2012, Andrea Koncz, employment information manager for the NACE, told AccountingWEB. In 2011, the average starting […]

(UPDATE) Recruiting Season: Public Accounting Salaries for The Starting Class of 2013

~ 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 […]

Compensation Watch ’12: Public Accounting Partners

The AICPA asked around and it turns out that most CPA firms across the country have a seen an increase in fees in the last couple years. That's good! Consequently, partners are doing a little better than they were just two years ago. That's good! So good, in fact, that everyone at the adult table […]

Compensation Watch ’13: Everyone

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

Public Accounting Firms Would Be Wise to Incorporate a ‘No Bitching’ Clause Into Their Bonus Structures

When you work in public accounting you meet a diverse group of individuals. They all have different life, education, and professional experiences and that’s what makes working for these businesses so interesting. Despite these differences, all these people have one thing in common. Something so basic, so fundamental to the culture of the public accounting […]

Comp Watch ’12: Crowe Horwath, BKD, et al.

Do you work for a public accounting firm? Are you employed by a non-Big 4 firm NOT named Grant Thornton, BDO, or McGladrey (thank you, Jeeeesus)? Have you received a raise and bonus that didn't meet your expectations and now you're feeling slightly envious of all the other public accountants out there whose firm gets […]

Compensation Watch ’12: Disappointment at Deloitte – UPDATE: Also, Offended!

After sending out a few fluffer posts in July to get everyone worked up, we've heard from a couple of people who had their compensation discussions today. So far the news has come from one audit and one advisory professional out of NYC. As is typical with many of you who send in tips, the […]

Bonus Watch ’13 and Beyond: Ernst & Young Rolls Out Performance Based Bonus Program

As the Black and Yellow comp conversations continue this week, we have some news to share with regards to the firm's bonus structure.  Here's a tip that came in late on Friday:  Advisory across all of the Americas had their "Super Friday" today (which is why no Advisory people have written in with their comp). […]

(UPDATE) Compensation Watch ’12: The Wait Is Over at Ernst & Young

Well, it's here. After getting everyone worked up a month ago, this week marks the start of Ernst & Young's compensation sit-downs. We've gotten word that some offices got started yesterday, some are starting today, and some start later this week. There are a number of people that have sent us messages who seem to […]

Compensation Watch ’12: Grant Thornton Starts Rolling Out the Numbers

Almost three weeks ago, we started the discussion for the Purple Rose of Chicago to help all the Grant Thornton dynamos gird their loins for this compensation season. We've received a number of requests for a follow-up since the discussions start this week and, finally, late last night someone shared their numbers with us: Grant […]

Compensation and Bonus Watch ’12: Deloitte Audit

As you recall, last week we went over the Deloitte AERS Advisory group's compensation numbers. Today, we have more comp data to share, this time for the opiners. Unfortunately, we don't have the financial results slide but most of all the other details will be included in this post. Let's get right to it, shall […]

Comp and Bonus Watch ’12: Here’s What Deloitte AERS Advisory Will Be Serving Up

Last week, we threw out a thread to get Deloitte's compensation discussion going which really dived into nothing of particular importance other than the usual bickering. It's possible that the discussion jumped the gun a bit, but if nothing else it got people lathered up and anxious for more details. Thankfully, we now have more […]

Compensation Watch ’12: McGladrey

As we continue to trudge on through the heat of compensation season, we finally heard from one of Mickey G's sherpas: Promotions are being [communicated] from 7/6-7/20 and then raises and bonuses are being announced 7/20-7/27.   Soooo blue and green archers, discuss and kvetch as you see fit but we'll just remind anyone who thinks they'll […]

Compensation Watch ’12: KPMG

This summer has not been the most stellar at the House of Klynveld. The news of forced rankings has overshadowed the ice cream screams, and with no Omaha Steaks in sight, many are in need of something to get them through the rest of summer. Perhaps this is the week that it all turns around: […]

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

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

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

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

Bonus Watch ’12: Top Performers in PwC Tax Get a Pat on the Back

This just in: Contribution awards at PwC were given out last pay period.  Talking to who I perceive as top performers in my group (Tax line of service), the upper range of the bonus was $1k. Some (many?) at Papa Whiskey Charlie won't be satisfied by such a paltry sum – especially since several have new […]

Bonus Watch ’12: Grant Thornton Auditors Who Manage to Ignore Their Wicked Impulses

Question for the auditors in the crowd – have you ever come across a nefarious situation in your career and thought, "You know, if doing the right thing were to pay better than doing the wrong thing, I'd walk away from this client in a second."?   Of course you have. That's pretty much the […]

Comp Watch ’12: CFOs

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

Comp Watch ’12: Big 4 Advisory

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

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

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

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

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

Comp Watch ’12: Sizing Up the Big 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bonus Watch ’12: KPMG Advisory Sets Some Expectations

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

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

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

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

[caption id="attachment_40127" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Photo credit*"][/caption]

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

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

Intended Audience: External Client Service Associates through Directors

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

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

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

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

The Great Lakes Management Team

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

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

Your reactions are welcome below.

*Dustin Bradford.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the representative tables:

Just a few thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

As a 1-rated senior my numbers were:

9.9% raise
10.4% AIP bonus

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Is anyone going back to school?

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

• Grabbag.

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

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

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

EY Curve

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

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

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

Raise and Bonus Percentages:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A wise suggestion from the mailbag:

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


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

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

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

Get on that, future leaders of the industry!

UPDATE:
The latest:

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

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

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

Hi Going Concern –

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

Cheers,
E&Yer

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

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

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

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

This just in:

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

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

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

From the mailbag, a tipster quotes his OMP:

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

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

Comp Watch ’11: McGladrey

[caption id="attachment_33828" align="alignright" width="260" caption="Photo credit*"][/caption]

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

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

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

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

*Dustin Bradford.

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

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

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

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


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

And here’s PwC’s:

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

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

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


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


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


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

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

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

From the mailbag:

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

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

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

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

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

From the mailbag:

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


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

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

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

UPDATE:
The latest from an auditor in New York:

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

Keep us updated.

Comp Watch ’11: Regional CPA Firms

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

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

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

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

UPDATE:
One addition from the mailbag:

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

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

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

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

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

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

PwC Chairman Aims to Keep Millennials Happy [WSJ]

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

This just in:

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

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

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

Promotion Bonus Watch ’11: Grant Thornton

The latest from the moneymailbag:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Promotion Bonus Watch ’11: KPMG

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

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

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

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

This just in:

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

Will that even cover the rent?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the mailbag:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed,

New Advisory Associate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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