04 Jan How to Negotiate Your Salary: 5 Tips for Accounting Job Hunters
Congratulations — you’ve been offered the job! After searching for a new position, you’ve found just the right one and you’re excited about the company and the opportunity, but the money just isn’t quite what you hoped.
The good news is, negotiating a salary is expected from most managers and people responsible for hiring. It’s awkward and can feel uncomfortable, but it’s always worth a try.
Here are five steps on how to get a better paycheck in your next accounting job.
- Make sure you understand the specifics of the job before making the request. Based on your level of experience and the skills you’re bringing to the table, you might deserve to be offered more money than what’s being offered. People who have been working as accountants for longer, or have more certifications or areas of expertise, are certainly in the right for asking for more pay that matches their qualifications. Make sure you understand whether this is really a step up in your career if you take the position and base you request on that knowledge.
- Know your value. When the time comes to ask for a higher starting rate of pay, bring data and reasons for your ideal rate. You can start with how much you’re making at your current job, if applicable, and then include specifics about why you think you’re deserving of a higher salary. Do you hold additional skills and certifications than were required in the job description? Do you have more years of experience than others at the company doing the same job? Take a look at what other people in the same position are making in other companies and share that as evidence that you should be earning more.
- Have a conversation and start with questions. You have the right to ask questions about a position before accepting it (even if you’re already determined to accept it). That includes asking why you were offered the salary that was presented to you. Is the expectation that you will eventually reach the higher level of the salary range, either through bonuses, incentives, merit-based raises? What’s the typical rate of giving someone a raise: is it annually or could it be more frequently, and is there a set rate for progression? A company might offer a lower salary at first because they want to make sure this is a good fit for you and them; if you’re eligible for a raise after 60 or 90 days, that might be good enough if the raise is sufficient.
- Make your own counter-offer. Remember, at the core, this is all about business. So make them an offer you couldn’t refuse. The general consensus is to overshoot what you really want — this is a practice everyone knows about and your would-be hiring manager is sure to expect. But you still need to be reasonable: Don’t ask for an exorbitant amount in the hopes of getting something more reasonable. If the salary you want is 15% higher than what they’re offering, ask for 20% more, then agree on something in the middle, for example. Be specific and have a rationale behind it when you have the conversation.
- Be willing to consider other compensation. Not all a person’s pay is measured in dollars. Would you be willing to accept additional vacation instead of more pay? Would you take a 401(k) contribution instead? Your company might be in a situation where they cannot offer more money, but they can offer something else instead that will benefit you in the long-term. Be open to considering this and be open-minded about it. That doesn’t mean you have to accept it, but keep the bigger picture in mind. Maybe it’s been years since your last real vacation and, while this job doesn’t give you the pay bump you were hoping for, it would help fund a nicer trip and they’re willing to give you more time to enjoy it.
Ultimately, you need to decide for yourself whether you want to take the offer or try your luck elsewhere. It’s your call! Regardless, be gracious and grateful that you were accepted a position and the salary they presented and thank them for everything. If you’re happy and take the position, congratulations! All your hard work in job hunting paid off!
But if you’re not happy and need to keep searching, it might be time to consider calling LeadingEdge Personnel. We work with great companies and know who will be offering a salary closer to what you deserve. Take a look at the positions we have available and give us a call!