October 24, 2020

How Accountants Can Get the Salary They Want

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.

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.

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