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Compensation Watch ’22: Did the Purple Rose Reek of Bad Raises at Grant Thornton?

The most DYNAMIC firm in all of public accounting recently had comp discussions, according to r/accounting. It was the final round of raises during the reign of CEO Brad Preber, who was put out to pasture on Aug. 1 when new Grant Thornton CEO Seth Siegel took over. We’ve heard some rumblings that some GTers aren’t thrilled with the new regime. We’ll see how that plays out. But today we wanted to take a look at how the most recent pay increases at GT played out.

So we went on r/accounting and looked at the 2022, 2021 (and this thread on Fishbowl) 2019, and 2018 comp threads, as well as the 20172016, 2015, 2014, and 2013 comp threads on Going Concern. Then we 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. (Although it looks like Grant Thornton didn’t do ratings this year.) This is just the average percentage of how much base pay increased per step up in rank/promotion.

Like many public accounting firms, Grant Thornton has a history of over-promising and under-delivering come comp time. Was that the case this year? 2022 raise percentages are in bold:

A1->A2

  • 18.1% (2022)
  • 9.8% (2021)*
  • 7.5% (2019)
  • 3.5% (2018)
  • 4% (2017)
  • 7% (2016; only one entry)
  • 9.5% (2015)
  • 9.5% (2014)
  • 5% (2013)

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.

A2->S1

  • 19.9% (2022)
  • 17.8% (2021)
  • 15% (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • 10.5% (2016; only one entry)
  • 14.3% (2015)
  • 11% (2014)
  • 10.3% (2013)

S1->S2

  • 18% (2022)
  • 17% (2021)
  • N/A (2019)
  • 20% (2018; only one entry)
  • 5% (2017)
  • 5% (2016)
  • 14.9% (2015)
  • 5.8% (2014)
  • 4.2% (2013)

S2->M1

  • N/A (2022)
  • 19% (2021; only one entry)
  • N/A (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • 18% (2016; only one entry)
  • N/A (2015)
  • 18.6% (2014; only one entry)
  • N/A (2013)

S2->S3

  • 15.6% (2022; only one entry)
  • 17.8% (2021)
  • 7% (2019; only one entry)
  • N/A (2018)
  • 4% (2017; only one entry)
  • 6.5% (2016)
  • N/A (2015)
  • N/A (2014)
  • N/A (2013)

S3->M1

  • N/A (2022)
  • N/A(2021)
  • N/A (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • N/ (2016)
  • N/A (2015)
  • 7% (2014; only one entry)
  • N/A (2013)

M1->M2

  • 9% (2022)
  • 34.8% (2021)
  • N/A (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • 14.5% (2017)
  • N/A (2016)
  • N/A (2015)
  • N/A (2014)
  • 10.4% (2013)

M2->M3

  • N/A (2022)
  • N/A (2021)
  • 8% (2019; only one entry)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • N/A (2016)
  • N/A (2015)
  • N/A (2014)
  • N/A (2013)

M3->SM

  • N/A (2022)
  • 12% (2021; only one entry)
  • N/A (2019)
  • N/A (2018)
  • N/A (2017)
  • N/A (2016)
  • N/A (2015)
  • N/A (2014)
  • N/A (2013)

How would we grade this year’s raises at Grant Thornton? We’d give it a grade of “incomplete.” Of the 90 comments currently in the 2022 comp thread, we only used data from 10 GTers. There’s actually a handful of shiny new GTers joining the firm in the fall who posted their starting salaries in the thread, so that may be of interest to some of you. Associates and senior associates seem to be the big winners, as the average raise percentages were higher this year than last. Keep in mind, though, that there were only three entries for S1->S2, with those average raise increases being 6.5%, 14.5%, and 33%. Needless to say, the person who got the 33% raise was thrilled; the person who got the 6.5% raise responded with just an “Eh.”

We’ll continue to keep an eye on the 2022 Grant Thornton comp thread on Reddit to see if there are new contributions, and we’ll update this post accordingly.

Related articles:

Compensation Watch ’21: Did Grant Thornton Give Employees Briefcases Full Of Money This Year?
Compensation Watch ’21: Grant Thornton Is Dragging Its Feet On Announcing Mid-Year Raises

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2 Comments

  1. Kind of useless to discuss percent increases without knowing the base pay. People who started a while ago at lower base salary will receive much bigger percent increases to get them on par with newer hires who started at higher base pay.

    Anecdotally, I know several tax managers at GT, and they were all happy with their raises this year. Most of them described it as surprisingly good.

  2. I am a Principal in GT’s consulting business, and the raises and bonuses this year were the largest I have ever seen. Many staffers I spoke with personally were kind of shocked at the comp increase and bonuses they received.

Comments are closed.

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