People often feel that they are “lucky” to be hired at their accounting jobs, especially if they manage to get into a high-profile firm or an establishment known for their generous benefits packages. However, it’s important to keep in mind that talent can make or break a company and it is, in fact, YOU who are in high demand. Much research goes into how much to pay people for accounting jobs. Often, a salary reflects market conditions, company profits, competition for that particular position, local cost of living, size of the company and pay for comparable jobs at comparable companies. Salaries for accounting jobs also depend upon eight “personal variables,” which you have some control over.
- Years of Experience: You can often negotiate higher pay by emphasizing your many years of experience. Try to apply to positions where your experience is just over what is needed. If the ad calls for “at least 5” and you have 8, you are in a good position to bargain. Keep in mind that you may sometimes be overqualified for accounting jobs that demand far less, which can actually hurt your chances of landing the position.
- Education: Emphasize your degree, the prestige of the school you attended, internships or extra-curricular activities if it applies to the accounting jobs you’re applying to. Sometimes you can make up for a lack of “real world experience” by demonstrating how bright and well-equipped you are. Smart cookies can always be trained, so you might not only get the job, but get paid more than expected too.
- Performance Reviews: If you worked for a company where a significant pay increase or promotion was given to you, make sure to mention that. You will find it’s an effective bargaining chip. If you have been working for a company for a while, point out your favorable reviews and ask for that raise.
- Your Boss: Accounting jobs where bosses have high seniority in the corporate ranking is good for your chances of getting a raise approved. The less people your recommendation has to go through, the better! Make sure you are friends with all the right superiors.
- Your Subordinates: If your accounting job entails oversight or management of other people or departments, be sure to emphasize their success – which is ultimately your success too.
- Professional Associations: Many accounting jobs include perks like corporate sponsorship of certification courses, which you can then use to your own advantage to secure higher pay. Even if your company doesn’t pay for additional training, it might be worth your while to become a Certified Public Accountant.
- Shift Differentials: If you work during a not-so-favorable time of day, you should be receiving a premium due to the social and physical demands of working, say, 2-11pm or 12-8am. If you work 7 days a week, through Sunday, you should also expect bonus pay.
- Hazardous Working Conditions: Do you work in a chemical factory or in a seedy section of town? You can ask for “hazard pay” if you are given a temporary assignment in a dangerous location. Even accounting jobs occasionally come with some amount of risk.
Remember, a company is only as good as its workers. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth. There are plenty of accounting jobs to go around!