As an accounting professional, you know that your skills and experience are valuable. But when it comes to negotiating your salary, it can be tough to know where to start. Do you ask for too much and risk losing the job or the promotion? Or do you ask for too little and leave money on the table? Of course, there are always your nerves to consider, and will you get stage fright when the opportunity presents itself?
The good news is, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure that you get the salary you deserve at various stages of your accounting career. Here’s a guide to approaching salary negotiation for accounting professionals:
Salary Negotiation Tips
Do your research. Before you even start negotiating, it’s important to know your market value. What are other accounting professionals with similar experience and skills making in your area? You can use online salary calculators or industry publications to get an idea of salary averages by position and region.
Use data to support your request. When you’re asking for a higher salary, be sure to back up your request with the data you found. This could include salary surveys, job postings and even your own performance reviews.
Take a deep breath. Interviews are nerve-wracking enough as they are. The key to remaining calm is to try a deep-breathing exercise, and to remind yourself that you are worth it!
The 7 B’s
We offer these seven B’s to help you when the time comes to ask for that salary you deserve!
- Be prepared to walk away. If you’re not happy with the offer, be prepared to walk away from the job. This shows the hiring manager that you’re serious about getting a fair salary. If you have been at the firm for a while and are asking for a raise, be prepared to discuss responsibilities you cannot take on for the same salary.
- Be confident. When you’re negotiating salary, it’s important to be confident in your abilities. This doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant, but you should believe in your worth.
- Be prepared to compromise. In most cases, you’re not going to get everything you want in a salary negotiation. Be prepared to compromise on some things, such as salary in exchange for more vacation time or a signing bonus. See our article about Total Compensation.
- Be professional. Even if you’re not happy with the offer, be professional during the negotiation process. Don’t get angry or emotional. Instead, calmly explain why you believe you deserve a higher salary.
- Be specific. Don’t just say, “I want a higher salary.” Instead, be specific about how much more you’re asking for. This shows you’ve done your research; you’ve come prepared and you’re sticking to your guns.
- Be prepared to answer questions. A hiring manager may ask you questions about your salary expectations. Be prepared to answer these questions in a clear and concise way. For example, “Why do you deserve to be paid that much?” Answer: “I have XX years of experience, I have helped XX clients improve their internal controls, save money and grow their business…” You get the idea. The more specific you are about the value you bring to the firm, the more likely that a hiring manager (or supervisor) will consider your request.
- Be patient. Salary negotiations can take time. Don’t expect an answer right away. There is more than one person involved in developing a compensation package for accounting professionals.
P.S. Don’t worry about it – once you’ve hit the ball, it’s in their court. Don’t lose sleep over the “what ifs.”
Did you know location affects salary as much as experience? You may not have thought of this, so here are some additional things to keep in mind when negotiating salary for CPA accounting jobs.
- CPAs typically have higher salaries than other accounting professionals. This is because CPAs have more education and experience, and they are always in high demand. (Every company needs an accountant!)
- The location of the job can also affect the salary. Accountants and CPAs in major cities earn more than professionals in smaller towns, justified by a lower cost of living.
- The size of the company can also affect salaries. CPAs who work for large companies typically earn more than CPAs who work for small companies.
Negotiating salary can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that you deserve to be paid fairly for your education, skills, added responsibilities and experience. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of getting a fair salary for your CPA accounting job.
Of course, if you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact your knowledgeable partners here at LvHJ.
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