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

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gr8wizard10
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£50k base on a 9-5, that's impressive.
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Tokyoround
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Money isn't everything dude, if you spend you life chasing salaries and comparing yourself to your neighbours and random people on the street, you will never get anywhere. Seriously, smartly-dressed people doesn't mean anything, for all you know those "women in suits" could be PAs or admin assistants earning 35k-ish. Some people take pride in their appearance regardless of role so you can't use that as a measure.

Doctors do not earn that much at the junior levels, also bear in mind they have had to study much longer than you.

I agree with AW1983, your twenties are for learning as much as possible, your 30s is your make-it or break it period, 30s is the time to step your career up and aiming for director level roles or working on personal investments/entrepreneurship.
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maria86
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(Original post by AW1983)
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!
Thanks that was an informative post. You know exactly what I mean with my pay. It’s nothing to be happy about in terms of other ACA qualified people in London. Actually I know for a fact some of my own colleagues are on £15k more than me, only a year or two older and doing the same role (although they’re big4 qualified and male.. probably makes a difference).

I really doubt my company will pay me more when I’m in my 30s. Is that what you meant or you were referring to getting roles elsewhere? Last year we’ve had a pay freeze and my pay increase was a few hundred pounds. If I jump ship in another year or so I could try for £55k roles but I’m not sure it’ll be worth it.. I just hate the idea that I can’t stay in one place and get familiar with the work/people if I want my career to advance.

(Original post by Tokyoround)
I agree with AW1983, your twenties are for learning as much as possible, your 30s is your make-it or break it period, 30s is the time to step your career up and aiming for director level roles or working on personal investments/entrepreneurship.

Sounds stressful lol, but I know you're right. Rather than thinking about doctors and lawyers and people in the street I should concentrate on my own career and look for advancement opportunities, or otherwise just be content where I am and stop complaining
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I love shopping
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I'm guessing you're in mid to late 20s? 50K at that age is quite a lot of money! If you enjoy your job and are not too stressed, I would not quit because it is a lot of money! Isn't the average salary of an accountant way less than that?

I'm not a 100% sure, but don't medics have a lot of training to do after their 5 or 6 year degree? I'm pretty Medics don't earn 70K in their 20s!
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Observatory
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I would agree with the other posters that you've sitting in a great position for quality of life with those work hours and that income. That's especially true if you don't have to live in London. I might favour law or medicine on grounds that they're more interesting but not for a salary increase on its own.

If you want to commit yourself to work then find out what you need to do to move up in your profession. I'm sure someone out there would at least hire you to work 50-100% more hours for 50-100% more money if that's really what you want. Otherwise, maybe think about starting a family or getting seriously involved in a hobby.
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maria86
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(Original post by I love shopping)
I'm guessing you're in mid to late 20s? 50K at that age is quite a lot of money! If you enjoy your job and are not too stressed, I would not quit because it is a lot of money! Isn't the average salary of an accountant way less than that?
I'm 27. And the actual average salary of an accountant is something like £92k going by http://www.icaewjobs.com/article/ica...-survey-2013-/
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AW1983
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Thanks that was an informative post. You know exactly what I mean with my pay. It’s nothing to be happy about in terms of other ACA qualified people in London. Actually I know for a fact some of my own colleagues are on £15k more than me, only a year or two older and doing the same role (although they’re big4 qualified and male.. probably makes a difference).
Big 4 will get paid more, fact of life. Their hourly rate probably isn't as good as yours though; at one point as a trainee I realised I wasn't getting the minimum wage because of all the unpaid overtime! If you wanted to work their hours and earn the same as them, then you could always provide 3 or 4 hours accountancy tuition every night!

If men do earn more, they do so because they're better negotiators. However, most men don't earn more for their level of qualifications and experience; the reason they statistically earn more is because most comparisons don't take into account career breaks or people working part time. In the Big 4, they wouldn't dare pay women less than men because it would hurt their reputation (and rightly so).

I really doubt my company will pay me more when I’m in my 30s. Is that what you meant or you were referring to getting roles elsewhere? Last year we’ve had a pay freeze and my pay increase was a few hundred pounds. If I jump ship in another year or so I could try for £55k roles but I’m not sure it’ll be worth it.. I just hate the idea that I can’t stay in one place and get familiar with the work/people if I want my career to advance.
This is the other less talked about reason that women tend to earn less. It partly stems from negotiation but in a nutshell it's loyalty, or rather an excess of it, in pursuit of the familiar. You would have to move roles to get the biggest pay increases, or otherwise get into a business that really knows how to reward performance (working for an investment bank's back office, like I do, is a good way of doing this. They tend to reward performance competitively like the front office, albeit slightly less lucratively and with less stress and hours).

But anyway, all that aside, you shouldn't beat yourself up about your choice of career. Doctors will earn the most, granted, but at least you're a bit more future proofed than the lawyers. Rather than looking at others, I would be asking what to do next to take your salary to the next level. Have you thought of doing another qualification to enhance your credentials in your industry, so you have the accountancy and industry qualification to mark yourself our as a future leader of your firm?
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I love shopping
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(Original post by maria86)
I'm 27. And the actual average salary of an accountant is something like £92k going by http://www.icaewjobs.com/article/ica...-survey-2013-/
oh. I'm going to start the ACA next year and I thought it was a lot lower than that.
I still think you're doing very well and you should be proud of what you achieved at such a young age!
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AW1983
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I wrote on another thread that the average is a nonsense; it's inflated by ex-Big 4 accountants who went into front office investment banking and earn something in the region of five times that amount in bonuses - one of these accountants plus eight on what you're earning equals an average of over 90k. Most accountants who I know around our age are on 50k and it's a good wage for our age group. Within 10 years you should be on 75-80k.
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maria86
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(Original post by AW1983)
I wrote on another thread that the average is a nonsense; it's inflated by ex-Big 4 accountants who went into front office investment banking and earn something in the region of five times that amount in bonuses - one of these accountants plus eight on what you're earning equals an average of over 90k. Most accountants who I know around our age are on 50k and it's a good wage for our age group. Within 10 years you should be on 75-80k.

That's what I thought too, so not really bothered about the average!


I've decided I need to satisfy my ambitious urge by at least applying for a job at an investment bank/ftse100 company someday (accounting role of course). Don't care if I'm not successful, but then I will HAVE to be content with my current salary because I tried and can't get any better. And if I get it and hate it, then I can always go back to an easier job and be content with the lower pay.

At the moment my current job is too comfortable, so I will stay to enjoy it... no doubt changes will happen and I'll probably get busier or a new boss will come in and make everyone's life hell. Then I can leave and have no regrets.
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sonic_dream
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(Original post by AW1983)
I wrote on another thread that the average is a nonsense; it's inflated by ex-Big 4 accountants who went into front office investment banking and earn something in the region of five times that amount in bonuses - one of these accountants plus eight on what you're earning equals an average of over 90k. Most accountants who I know around our age are on 50k and it's a good wage for our age group. Within 10 years you should be on 75-80k.
Can I just ask - are these London figures, and if so how much would the average typically be for, say, Leeds or Manchester? Also, are these practice or industry figures?

Whilst you guys are already questioning whether you should aim higher or not, I - of similar age (26 going on 27) - am very much just starting out, and I can only dream of reaching your current level! I still have 24 months of experience and seven (ACCA) modules away from qualifying, and I cannot wait till I fully qualify and hopefully will be able to command much bigger responsibilities, reflected by a decent pay packet of course.
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Crumpet1
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In the law I usually find that people work for an MC or American firm for a few years for the money, but then the penny drops that it is a dreadful life and they leave for a firm that has good work but also offers a good work life balance, even if they have to take a pay drop for it. I could earn more than double what I do if I went to a US firm ... but I absolutely do not want to.
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AW1983
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I think the general rule of thumb is that the London loading is about 25% more with an extra few thousand for trains on top, but as I don't work in London and have never been offered a move to the capital, I'm basing this on anecdotal evidence from my colleagues. The figures I quote are London; in the North of England a comparable income to 50k is probably around 38k. And you'll have more disposable income from that in Sheffield than you'll get from 50k in London too!
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sonic_dream
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(Original post by AW1983)
I think the general rule of thumb is that the London loading is about 25% more with an extra few thousand for trains on top, but as I don't work in London and have never been offered a move to the capital, I'm basing this on anecdotal evidence from my colleagues. The figures I quote are London; in the North of England a comparable income to 50k is probably around 38k. And you'll have more disposable income from that in Sheffield than you'll get from 50k in London too!
Thanks, man. I always knew there was some sort of added weighting that London carried but never really knew roughly how much that added on to your pay. I live in Leeds, and, for the time being, is the only place I've been browsing for jobs I could move on to in the future, and £38K is around the average.

EDIT:
How do industry and practice figures compare with each other in general by the way?
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Narcissist
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(Original post by maria86)
Thanks that was an informative post. You know exactly what I mean with my pay. It’s nothing to be happy about in terms of other ACA qualified people in London. Actually I know for a fact some of my own colleagues are on £15k more than me, only a year or two older and doing the same role (although they’re big4 qualified and male.. probably makes a difference).
But do they both also take 90 minutes for lunch every day and leave at 5pm on the dot? I know in my office there's people who do the minimum and those who give that little bit more, could it be that these people actually work a little harder and get rewarded for it? (Apologies if this seems a bit rude, I'm just actually interested to see if such factors are considered when it comes to remuneration.)
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AW1983
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How do industry and practice figures compare with each other in general by the way?
I don't really know to be honest, although I've always been told industry earn slightly more but practice offers a more lucrative prize in the form of a partnership, which for a large firm will pay more than a CFO. Is that true? I really can't say!

But do they both also take 90 minutes for lunch every day and leave at 5pm on the dot? I know in my office there's people who do the minimum and those who give that little bit more, could it be that these people actually work a little harder and get rewarded for it? (Apologies if this seems a bit rude, I'm just actually interested to see if such factors are considered when it comes to remuneration.)
The time people arrive in the office, how long they take for lunch and when they leave are all terrible measures of a person's productivity and entitlement to rewards. There are far too many inefficient people in this world who equate their long hours with value given to their firm. I find this a particular problem amongst older co-workers who are less likely to have the advanced IT skills that can significantly reduce their workload and it typically tends to be older co-workers who complain about others who leave early (my advice to them is to shut up and do an ECDL Advanced course) although I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you're not one of them!

There are all kinds of reasons why someone working long hours might not be a star performer:

1) They might be a smoker (again, most likely to be older co-workers) and lose approximately 30 minutes on smoking breaks per day.
2) If they don't take a proper break in the day, they're also more likely to make more mistakes and lose time.
3) More generally, they might just be error prone or find certain processes difficult to understand.
4) IT skills might be poor. Someone who can build an efficient spreadsheet can reduce their workload significantly. Likewise, someone who can type fast is going to be much quicker at performing their job in most office settings.
5) In the same vein, people need to understand how to cope with e-mail. People who read every e-mail as it comes in instead of checking the box a few times a day like you would with regular mail is likely to be inefficient.
6) They might spend all day surfing the web or chatting to co-workers. I'm guilty of this procrastination occasionally and find myself finally getting some of the day's work done in the evening!

I think in the past, someone working late was interpreted as dedicated and awarded inappropriately but the culture is definitely changing and rewards are becoming more performance based. Also, the culture will be a key determinant of the hours you work. If you work for an office still run by someone with a dinosaur attitude that more hours = harder worker, and if they're 50+ there's a reasonable chance that you do, then they're more likely to still favour the dweebs who faff around all day and night than an efficient colleague.

However, many firms are growing increasingly wary of people working long hours all the time, especially when they seem to have to work much longer hours than everyone else. In my firm, to be competitive now you really can't be seen to be around much longer than everyone else (and also, you might be considered a red flag for fraud, as a key characteristic of fraudsters is that they like to be in the office when no one else is)!

I should though add a caveat. If you work for a Big 4 firm, a large legal firm or a huge asset manager then the expectation is that you work very long hours very efficiently! They'll pay you well for it though.
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Pipsico
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(Original post by AW1983)
I don't really know to be honest, although I've always been told industry earn slightly more but practice offers a more lucrative prize in the form of a partnership, which for a large firm will pay more than a CFO. Is that true? I really can't say!



The time people arrive in the office, how long they take for lunch and when they leave are all terrible measures of a person's productivity and entitlement to rewards. There are far too many inefficient people in this world who equate their long hours with value given to their firm. I find this a particular problem amongst older co-workers who are less likely to have the advanced IT skills that can significantly reduce their workload and it typically tends to be older co-workers who complain about others who leave early (my advice to them is to shut up and do an ECDL Advanced course) although I will give you the benefit of the doubt that you're not one of them!

There are all kinds of reasons why someone working long hours might not be a star performer:

1) They might be a smoker (again, most likely to be older co-workers) and lose approximately 30 minutes on smoking breaks per day.
2) If they don't take a proper break in the day, they're also more likely to make more mistakes and lose time.
3) More generally, they might just be error prone or find certain processes difficult to understand.
4) IT skills might be poor. Someone who can build an efficient spreadsheet can reduce their workload significantly. Likewise, someone who can type fast is going to be much quicker at performing their job in most office settings.
5) In the same vein, people need to understand how to cope with e-mail. People who read every e-mail as it comes in instead of checking the box a few times a day like you would with regular mail is likely to be inefficient.
6) They might spend all day surfing the web or chatting to co-workers. I'm guilty of this procrastination occasionally and find myself finally getting some of the day's work done in the evening!

I think in the past, someone working late was interpreted as dedicated and awarded inappropriately but the culture is definitely changing and rewards are becoming more performance based. Also, the culture will be a key determinant of the hours you work. If you work for an office still run by someone with a dinosaur attitude that more hours = harder worker, and if they're 50+ there's a reasonable chance that you do, then they're more likely to still favour the dweebs who faff around all day and night than an efficient colleague.

However, many firms are growing increasingly wary of people working long hours all the time, especially when they seem to have to work much longer hours than everyone else. In my firm, to be competitive now you really can't be seen to be around much longer than everyone else (and also, you might be considered a red flag for fraud, as a key characteristic of fraudsters is that they like to be in the office when no one else is)!

I should though add a caveat. If you work for a Big 4 firm, a large legal firm or a huge asset manager then the expectation is that you work very long hours very efficiently! They'll pay you well for it though.
This is so true.
Unless you're a senior manager, there is I good reason why you should be in the office longer than everyone else consistently.

I used to 'look' like one of these people - but that was genuinely because I would study at my desk after work.

It was only when I rotated into a different role in finance that I realised that this had a damaging effect on my reputation.
The person handing over to me commented on how good my excel skills were/how efficient I was and admitted how they thought I was just working slower ("more carefully" in his words) which he assumed explained why I was around so late.

Needless to say, I took my revision to a different floor/meeting room promptly after that!


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AW1983
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One other downside of working late all the time that I forgot to mention was that the assumption is not only that you are slow but also that you don't have the capacity for more challenging work....
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redferry
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(Original post by AW1983)
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!
I just want to say a big thanks for restoring my faith, I read the initial post like 'Argh I don't think I will ever earn 50k, and 50k for a low stress job, what more could you want?!'

My dad earns a similar salary and he goes into work for 5am every day...

My boyfriend just got a 30k a year job that is 9-5 and we were like oh my god this is the best job in the world because he has been working 8:30am until 9pm at night on £17,000 for the past year. This is the reality for most people in their 20s!

not looking forward to living in London off 15,700 for the next 4 years. what I wouldn't give for £50,000
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maria86
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(Original post by Narcissist)
But do they both also take 90 minutes for lunch every day and leave at 5pm on the dot? I know in my office there's people who do the minimum and those who give that little bit more, could it be that these people actually work a little harder and get rewarded for it? (Apologies if this seems a bit rude, I'm just actually interested to see if such factors are considered when it comes to remuneration.)
One guy was previously a manager in another department and he moved into our department to replace someone who retired. I admit his job is a lot more stressful than mine at the moment especially because he is new, but once he's used to it he'll likely do standard hours too.

When I first joined the company I also worked my butt off to exceed my appraisal objectives to get a pay rise. But come the end of the year I was given "as expected" and when I argued that I had exceeded all the objectives, they said "well we can only pick one or two people to give the higher rating to". So I've basically come to the conclusion like most of my colleagues that no matter how hard you work, it won't make that much of a difference.

(Original post by redferry)
I just want to say a big thanks for restoring my faith, I read the initial post like 'Argh I don't think I will ever earn 50k, and 50k for a low stress job, what more could you want?!'

My dad earns a similar salary and he goes into work for 5am every day...

My boyfriend just got a 30k a year job that is 9-5 and we were like oh my god this is the best job in the world because he has been working 8:30am until 9pm at night on £17,000 for the past year. This is the reality for most people in their 20s!

not looking forward to living in London off 15,700 for the next 4 years. what I wouldn't give for £50,000
I think this is good thing about the ACA qualification. After suffering the 3 years of doing (and re-doing) exams there's a mostly guaranteed stable income. I don't consider myself any smarter than the average person, and don't think it was particularly hard for me to get to where I am now.



My ideal salary would be £60k-65k, working no more than 9-6 most days. After that I think the job would get too stressful for my liking, and I'm not that ambitious anyways
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