You spent hours upon hours of overtime for your company over the past few months. Hours you could have spent catching up on your favorite shows on Netflix, out for dinners and drinks with friends or training for the half marathon everyone else is running next month. At the time, all of this was part of a plan – that it would all add up to the pay rise you were hoping for at your performance review. You did your due diligence, you outlined multiple positive impacts you made for your company during the peak season, you presented a measurable financial impact, but the answer was, “Sorry, not at this time.”
So, what’s next?
Take a step back. Was the timing of your request right? Perhaps consider trying again after a new client is on board or company goals are met. Were the impacts that you used during your argument based on actual past performance, or on future performance promises? Going forward, ensure you are keeping track of outstanding performance that you can use for future salary discussions. Save the e-mails from your client when they said thanks for your great work, note down when you have created more efficient spreadsheets for recurring tasks and how many client hours that saved – everything adds up on the negotiation table.
The answer from your manager was not at this time. Why not? If you have demonstrated measurable positive impacts with the company and you’ve done everything expected of you in your position, then it is time to request some feedback from your manager. Is there something else that is expected of you to receive a raise, such as sitting the CPA exam? If so, it’s time to put a plan together to meet those goals. Check on the requirements for your state and purchase a CPA review course and begin studying. Create a plan of action for yourself within a defined period so that you can meet the goals required for your position and income.
The facts before you are unanimous. Becoming a CPA will provide the extra impact needed to maximize your salary. While a junior level accountant in a small firm the corporate sector can expect to earn between $48,000-$61,750 and $54,750-$70,500 in the public sector, having a CPA license will add an impressive 10-15% more to those numbers. The certification shows you have shown a commitment to the accounting profession and allows for additional duties than non-CPA accountants, such as signing off on audit papers. While non-licensed accountants can still have very fulfilling and fruitful careers, a CPA designation will provide extra impact during your next round of negotiations.
You’re studying for your CPA, but now you’re wondering – am I where I want to be? The job outlook for accountants and auditors for 2016-2026 shows a faster than average growth of 10% and CPA salaries continue to grow. Consider your options and determine whether it might be worth taking your talents elsewhere. Sometimes an offer on the table from another employer can result in a matching offer from your current company due to not wanting to lose a staff performer- as well as incur the cost of recruiting, hiring and training a replacement.
However, another option is to consider exploring the benefits offered by your company. For example, requesting additional benefits could be more advantageous in your current situation. A flexible work arrangement or extra vacation days could help provide more time for studying for the CPA exam. Tuition reimbursement could help to pay for your CPA review course.
Rejection can be tough and salary negotiations can be some of the most uncomfortable conversations to have in the workplace. Improve yourself by gaining your CPA designation and reap the rewards of your increased salary or utilize the demand for CPAs and find another position that values your efforts. Be confident in the experience and knowledge that you are bringing to the table and demand what your expertise is worth.