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Compensation Watch ’21: Did Grant Thornton Give Employees Briefcases Full Of Money This Year?

Grant Thornton was another firm last year that decided it would be financially irresponsible to give its hardworking employees raises during the height of the pandemic, even though GT’s revenue in fiscal year 2020 hit a record of $1.92 billion.

But that was then, this is now. We still don’t know Grant Thornton’s revenue results for FY 2021; however, all indications are that it’ll be another record-setting year of growth for GT. Plus the firm just announced its largest class of PPMDs ever. So things seem to be trending in the right direction for the Purple Rose of Chicago, but did employee raises for 2021 trend upward or downward?

To find out, I went on r/accounting and went through the Grant Thornton comp thread for 2021 and this thread on Fishbowl, the 2019 and 2018 comp threads on Reddit, and the 2017 and 2016 comp threads on Going Concern. Then I calculated the average raise percentage for each step up in rank or promotion where data was available (i.e, A1->A2, A2->S1, S1->S2, S2->S3, M1->M2, etc).

These averages don’t take into effect factors like location/cost of living, line of service, academic degrees, rating (meets expectations or exceeds expectations), and bonuses/awards. This is just the average percentage of how much base pay increased per step up in rank/promotion.

Did Grant Thornton deliver the goods this time around? Let’s take a look:


  • 9.8% (2021)*
  • 7.5% (2019)
  • 3.5% (2018)
  • 4% (2017)
  • 7% (2016; only one entry)

* Not included in the averages because it’s such an outlier was a 41% raise for an A1->A2 who went from audit to advisory.


  • 17.8% (2021)
  • 15% (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • 10.5% (2016; only one entry)


  • 17% (2021)
  • N/A (2019)
  • 20% (2018; only one entry)
  • 5% (2017)
  • 5% (2016)


  • 19% (2021; only one entry)
  • N/A (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • 18% (2016; only one entry)


  • 17.8% (2021)
  • 7% (2019; only one entry)
  • N/A (2018)
  • 4% (2017; only one entry)
  • 6.5% (2016)


  • 34.8% (2021)
  • N/A (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • 14.5% (2017)
  • N/A (2016)


  • N/A (2021)
  • 8% (2019; only one entry)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • N/A (2016)


  • 12% (2021; only one entry)
  • N/A (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • N/A (2016)

Unlike Big 4 compensation threads, which always get a ton of responses on r/accounting or did on GC back in the day, the comp threads for the top midtier firms like Grant Thornton aren’t as rich (no pun intended) with information. So as you probably noticed there are a lot of N/As above. But it’s fair to conclude that raises at Grant Thornton weren’t horrible this year. At least you all got raises above inflation. But after getting snubbed last year, were these decent for two years’ worth of raises. Eh, probably not. TPTB at GT should have thrown some more money employees’ way for the ridiculous amount of work everyone did last year.

As longtime GT commenter Chipman69 would say: Congratulations to all of the DYNAMIC GT professionals on their DYNAMIC raises, bonuses and promotions!!!!! May your increase in compensation and responsibilities engorge your WHOLE SELF with the INSTINCT FOR GROWTH necessary to penetrate clients in new CHOSEN MARKETS!!!!!

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