Should I be content with my £50k job in Accounting?

Watch
This discussion is closed.
maria86
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#1
Hi everyone, I'm not a student anymore but been reading these forums recently about careers. I'm having a bit of a "crisis" with my career at the moment and not sure where I should go next.. was hoping for some advice/opinion.

I'm currently earning £50k in a 9-5 job in the accounting department of a private medium sized company in London. 2 years post qualified ACA, trained with top20 audit firm, not first time passes.

In the beginning it was stressful as had to deal with month end deadlines, unreasonable traders etc but now I've settled into the role it's easier and I've moved up in terms of the actual work, doing more interesting things.

The hours are great and I'm not at all stressed. Have 1 and a half hours lunch most days, leave spot on 5 even at month end, colleagues are mostly nice.

I feel like I should be content with it but a lot of my school friends went into medicine and law and although they seem a lot more stressed out I bet they're earning £70k+ by now.

I wasn't a great student (didn't get into a top uni) and kind of fell into doing what I'm doing unlike my friends who went to oxford/cambridge and were really ambitious..... but all the same I'm wondering if I should aim higher, try to get more money.

when I was doing ACA I wanted to get into a bank or something but I suck at numeracy tests/assessment centers so had to "settle" for my current role.

So just wanted your opinion on here about if I should just be happy with my job or am I taking the easy way out? I'm 27 and sometimes I think, if I don't work hard now when am I going to?
0
Jelkin
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#2
Report 6 years ago
#2
Don't underestimate the value of having such good hours and low stress. Would an extra £20k or so actually materially improve your life/make you happy? And would that offset all the stress/extra hours? How did you find your job when it was stressful; would you be content to return to that for more money?

In any case, there are plenty of places you could go with your qualification, and top accountants earn buckets of money. So there's always that.

EDIT: There's no harm in taking the easy way out unless it's leaving you understimulated/depressed. Or unless there's some dream you should be following.
0
monstercable
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#3
Report 6 years ago
#3
No-one can answer this question besides you! I personally think that 50K is okay from your position and at 27! You would be able to earn more money elsewhere if you try hard enough I presume and perhaps look for some exit strategies from through some connections you've built up over the years?
0
hellodave5
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#4
Report 6 years ago
#4
(Original post by maria86)
Hi everyone, I'm not a student anymore but been reading these forums recently about careers. I'm having a bit of a "crisis" with my career at the moment and not sure where I should go next.. was hoping for some advice/opinion.

I'm currently earning £50k in a 9-5 job in the accounting department of a private medium sized company in London. 2 years post qualified ACA, trained with top20 audit firm, not first time passes.

In the beginning it was stressful as had to deal with month end deadlines, unreasonable traders etc but now I've settled into the role it's easier and I've moved up in terms of the actual work, doing more interesting things.

The hours are great and I'm not at all stressed. Have 1 and a half hours lunch most days, leave spot on 5 even at month end, colleagues are mostly nice.

I feel like I should be content with it but a lot of my school friends went into medicine and law and although they seem a lot more stressed out I bet they're earning £70k+ by now.

I wasn't a great student (didn't get into a top uni) and kind of fell into doing what I'm doing unlike my friends who went to oxford/cambridge and were really ambitious..... but all the same I'm wondering if I should aim higher, try to get more money.

when I was doing ACA I wanted to get into a bank or something but I suck at numeracy tests/assessment centers so had to "settle" for my current role.

So just wanted your opinion on here about if I should just be happy with my job or am I taking the easy way out? I'm 27 and sometimes I think, if I don't work hard now when am I going to?

50k is a very substantial amount.
Would you be willing to earn less for less stress?
For me, I suppose happiness and job fulfilment would come first.
Suppose there always tends to be a bit of a trade off.
1
scrotgrot
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#5
Report 6 years ago
#5
Um yes, you're 27 and earning £50k... generally you're "doing well" if your earnings are higher than your age, and yours are not much less than twice as high. Also bear in mind that salary goes up stepwise so on your next pay rise/job change you might catch up 5 years' worth.

Trained with a top 20 audit firm is stratospheric success/privilege (take your pick, but if I may be judgemental it sounds from the company you keep (I knew 3 people who went to Oxbridge) that it's the second) for the overwhelming, overwhelming majority of people in this country.

And the thing about having a job is, ceteris paribus, you will only leave if somewhere else offers you better pay, so your pay is destined to increase by inertia even if you don't try. You might even find you have enough time and capital to spin off a lucrative business that solves a problem within the industry, or at worst develop your skills in some other trade, and hugely outpace what your peers can earn that way.

I would certainly trade in £20k premium (only £12k after tax) for leaving spot on at 5 and no stress. Imagine how much younger you'll look than them in a few years' time, and how much richer your life will be!

Doctor is very hard and involves being available all hours of the night. Law is very, very boring and has a disgustingly unequal pay distribution where a few "superstars" (most usually just "people who went to Oxbridge") earn hundreds of thousands and ****munchers on minimum wage do the actual grunt work.
0
Zerforax
Badges: 21
Rep:
?
#6
Report 6 years ago
#6
If you think you can come back to the same/similar job if you don't enjoy a more stressful job then why not?

If it meant re-training for 3 years, I probably wouldn't bother.

If you could just move jobs or apply and do some training and take on a new role/job which would pay more then sure.
0
r_u_jelly
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#7
Report 6 years ago
#7
have you been living in a hole? That's way above the national average, I would be happy
3
PickwickianGeek
Badges: 6
Rep:
?
#8
Report 6 years ago
#8
If you are asking if you 'should' be content then the answer is easy, no. YOU will know what you are content. Any doubts points to the contrary. In my opinion, you are doing a lot better than the majority of people your age. Having a mostly stress free job with decent pay (50k is much more than 'decent' btw) is a lifelong dream for some people.

As others have said, would simply having more money fulfil whatever goal you have of being ambitious?

I think it's more a of 'grass is always greener on the other side' situation. I bet the friends you mention who got into top unis and are really ambitious etc, are wishing for a less stressful job even if meant they got a lower salary. See what I'm trying to say?

All in all, I think there is nothing wrong with 'settling' for the kind of life you have now. There is much more to life than getting into a top uni and getting a six figure salary. However, there's nothing wrong with trying to advance your career and perhaps as a bonus also getting more money in the process. (Advancing your career should be the incentive, not just money!)
0
abbasahmed786
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#9
Report 6 years ago
#9
How many years of expeirence have you got being a chartered accountant. I am thinking of taking the same route (Marry Me).
0
maria86
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#10
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#10
You guys are very reassuring! I'm liking these replies lol

but honestly, being ACA qualified in London pretty much guarantees around £45k on qualification. So while I don't consider myself a failure by any means (especially comparing to the national average wage) I also don't consider myself a success.

I personally value work/life balance very highly, as hate to work overtime.. and also I used to be extremely shy in school and still get anxious in meetings etc. So sometimes I think to myself, for someone like me (nervous, average intelligence, didn't get into top uni/big4) I should just be satisfied and stay at my job and enjoy it.

But then I see these women in suits in the city and imagine they're earning huge salaries I feel like I'm being a coward for not trying harder. So I think maybe I should apply to some jobs, but that would mean stress all over again

Edit: abbasahmed786, I did 3 years in audit doing the ACA, then 2 years in industry after qualification
0
455409
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#11
Report 6 years ago
#11


Is the job you're working in what you'd be happy doing if today was your last day alive?
0
Vian
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#12
Report 6 years ago
#12
As others have said, is less leisure time and more stress worth an extra £10k-£20k? What is it about your current salary (which is very good someone in their 40's, let alone a 27 year old) that leaves you wanting? Ultimately, these are questions only you can answer.

Also, do you really think a 27 year old doctor would be earning +£70k? :lol:
2
Stewie2011
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#13
Report 6 years ago
#13
(Original post by maria86)
Hi everyone, I'm not a student anymore but been reading these forums recently about careers. I'm having a bit of a "crisis" with my career at the moment and not sure where I should go next.. was hoping for some advice/opinion.

I'm currently earning £50k in a 9-5 job in the accounting department of a private medium sized company in London. 2 years post qualified ACA, trained with top20 audit firm, not first time passes.

In the beginning it was stressful as had to deal with month end deadlines, unreasonable traders etc but now I've settled into the role it's easier and I've moved up in terms of the actual work, doing more interesting things.

The hours are great and I'm not at all stressed. Have 1 and a half hours lunch most days, leave spot on 5 even at month end, colleagues are mostly nice.

I feel like I should be content with it but a lot of my school friends went into medicine and law and although they seem a lot more stressed out I bet they're earning £70k+ by now.

I wasn't a great student (didn't get into a top uni) and kind of fell into doing what I'm doing unlike my friends who went to oxford/cambridge and were really ambitious..... but all the same I'm wondering if I should aim higher, try to get more money.

when I was doing ACA I wanted to get into a bank or something but I suck at numeracy tests/assessment centers so had to "settle" for my current role.

So just wanted your opinion on here about if I should just be happy with my job or am I taking the easy way out? I'm 27 and sometimes I think, if I don't work hard now when am I going to?
Are you trolling here? If not then you are perhaps one of the most stupid people I have met in a while. I mean who cares if they are earning more, by the time they pay tax on those extra earnings there probably wont be that much difference. What are you proposing going back to uni for a few more years study and subsequent income loss just to get into a job with a higher salary before tax that you probably wont like just to say I'm earning the same figure you are, oh wow, it just sad. Like someone has already said the price of not being stressed and waking up to a job every morning that you don't loath is really worth a lot in itself.
1
Jelkin
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#14
Report 6 years ago
#14
(Original post by maria86)
You guys are very reassuring! I'm liking these replies lol

but honestly, being ACA qualified in London pretty much guarantees around £45k on qualification. So while I don't consider myself a failure by any means (especially comparing to the national average wage) I also don't consider myself a success.

I personally value work/life balance very highly, as hate to work overtime.. and also I used to be extremely shy in school and still get anxious in meetings etc. So sometimes I think to myself, for someone like me (nervous, average intelligence, didn't get into top uni/big4) I should just be satisfied and stay at my job and enjoy it.

But then I see these women in suits in the city and imagine they're earning huge salaries I feel like I'm being a coward for not trying harder. So I think maybe I should apply to some jobs, but that would mean stress all over again

Edit: abbasahmed786, I did 3 years in audit doing the ACA, then 2 years in industry after qualification
You could wear suits! I have a suit but honestly, I feel like such a ponce in it that I just don't bother wearing it.

I'm a trainee actuary. At my firm you get people at both ends of the spectrum: those who put in a lot of hours (by choice), who make partner or even equity partner, who are very "successful" and presumably earn bucketloads ... and those who work 9-5, leave on time, have low stress and are content plateauing in their careers. Which would you rather be? This is something I actually ask myself a lot. In theory I would MUCH rather be someone in the low-stress situation, as I don't care about money that much so long as I have security, and work-life balance matters a lot to me. But I do worry that I'm not someone who could be content doing that, and that I would always strive for "more". But I hope that's not true as I don't want my job to be my life (as much as I like it).

I sense that you don't so much hanker for something more as worry that you SHOULD want more. But there's so much merit in having a contented and fulfilling life. If you think you want some more spark/challenge to your life, why make it about money? You could work in another country, or take up some awesome hobbies, or even try out a different area of accounting.
0
Air_wolf
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#15
Report 6 years ago
#15
I would love to be on 50k right now, unfortunately I did not pay attention like I should have and now have to start again. You are in a much better position than most but as said before, if YOU are not content then you wont be. Unfortunately we live in a world where everyone has to have the biggest braggin' rights. I think that is where your problem is, seeing your friends earn so much (they possibly could be earning much less, even be unemployed what do you really know?)
That said you have done well for yourself and should be proud, If you want more, go for it, if not enjoy yourself
0
Crumpet1
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#16
Report 6 years ago
#16
If you work out your earnings per hour you'll probably find you're earning far more than any doctor or city lawyer.

With all that spare time in your evenings and weekends you could also use your financial knowledge to invest and make money in your own time. My accountant friend paid off his mortgage like that.

Don't be dissatisfied with your job just because of what you imagine others might be earning, especially if you are happy in what you are doing. You really are doing very well and you have no idea what your friends are earning or whether they are tired, stressed and unhappy at work.

Also, read this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wait-b...b_3930620.html
Do you recognise any of this in yourself?
0
maria86
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#17
Report Thread starter 6 years ago
#17
(Original post by Jelkin)
This is something I actually ask myself a lot. In theory I would MUCH rather be someone in the low-stress situation, as I don't care about money that much so long as I have security, and work-life balance matters a lot to me. But I do worry that I'm not someone who could be content doing that, and that I would always strive for "more". But I hope that's not true as I don't want my job to be my life (as much as I like it).
I'm similar to you. Personally the money is not that important to me and I wouldn't mind not being super ambitious and working crazy hours.. but it's all down to comparison with others. If everyone else wants something, why don't I want it too? I'd also want to "keep up" and climb the career ladder with everyone else


Thanks for all the helpful replies! I am actually surprised at these responses. I thought TSR was mostly investment banking applicants and other city high flyers who would think 50k was nothing. But perhaps it's because I'm posting in the accountancy sub-forum lol
0
MJ1012
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#18
Report 6 years ago
#18
(Original post by maria86)
I'm similar to you. Personally the money is not that important to me and I wouldn't mind not being super ambitious and working crazy hours.. but it's all down to comparison with others. If everyone else wants something, why don't I want it too? I'd also want to "keep up" and climb the career ladder with everyone else


Thanks for all the helpful replies! I am actually surprised at these responses. I thought TSR was mostly investment banking applicants and other city high flyers who would think 50k was nothing. But perhaps it's because I'm posting in the accountancy sub-forum lol
You could always try to save some money for a year, invest it and see if you can become successful in the stock market etc. Adds something more "ambitious" to do, and could potentially add to your earnings if you do it right and you get to keep your comfortable job.
1
scrotgrot
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#19
Report 6 years ago
#19
(Original post by maria86)
I'm similar to you. Personally the money is not that important to me and I wouldn't mind not being super ambitious and working crazy hours.. but it's all down to comparison with others. If everyone else wants something, why don't I want it too? I'd also want to "keep up" and climb the career ladder with everyone else


Thanks for all the helpful replies! I am actually surprised at these responses. I thought TSR was mostly investment banking applicants and other city high flyers who would think 50k was nothing. But perhaps it's because I'm posting in the accountancy sub-forum lol
The problem is that there will always be someone making more money than you. And tbh once you top out the upper-middle-class-but-still-a-worker professions like law, accountancy, doctor, you get to the point where you're comparing yourself with dim layabouts from the rentier class who have never worked a day in their lives but are still richer than you, and there's nothing more depressing than that.
2
AW1983
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#20
Report 6 years ago
#20
Let's just be clear on something here. Your friends probably don't earn much more than you. Here's the doctor pay scales:

http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore...y-for-doctors/

I'm assuming that they're at the very beginning of their post qualification career, so maybe they earn £4k more than you. That means that their hourly rate is probably a lot worse than yours.

Now take lawyers. Let's ignore for a moment their current salary and consider their future prospects competing with Alternative Business Structures. the structure of law firms is probably going to foster in an age of less lawyers and more, cheaper, specialist paralegals and management of the firms will not be handled by lawyers either. The demand for lawyers is likely then to decline.

Now let's talk about their current earnings. Some law is very lucrative, like mergers & acquisitions. Some is so badly paid that you'd be financially better off emptying bins, like legal aid lawyers doing a mix of housing, immigration and welfare. The ones doing corporate law at 27 earn pretty much the same as an accountant with equal status in a similarly sized firm. So, an associate at Clifford Chance tends to earn a similar amount to an Assistant Manager at a Big 4 auditing firm (I'm assuming that is still the relevant grade). An associate in a mid tier corporate law firm probably earns about the same as you.

Now let's talk more generally about pay. At 27, I was probably earning about the same as you, minus the London loading. I would estimate that your London loading pushes your salary up by about £10k, maybe a little bit more. In fact, people of a similar grade to you earn £15k more in our London office. So you're probably not ecstatic about your pay right now and I wasn't either.

However, what I'm very quickly learning is that people in their twenties don't get paid much, even if they're qualified. People in your position and mine should just be grateful that we earned far more than the overwhelming majority of our peers at that age.

You will notice your salary accelerate in your thirties; it is the decade of your life when your earnings will ramp up. In the last three years, my income has increased by around 32%. If I perform in the grade I am in this year, my pay is likely to increase by another 17% just this year. It won't last; most people's salaries plateau at around 45 but I won't be complaining!
3
X
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Do you feel comfortable going back to school on March 8th?

Yes (295)
31.79%
No (633)
68.21%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed