1. Are you being paid at the market average?
Firstly, you need to do some research to find out how much compensation people in similar roles are receiving. If you are being paid below the market rate, then you know immediately that it is time to ask your manager for a raise. An easy way to gather this information is to speak with a recruiter who specializes in placing accountants. You can also check job postings for similar companies and see the average salary amount they’ve posted for a role similar to yours. There are also online resources such as Glassdoor.com, Payscale.com and Salary.com where you can find the information you need.
2. When is your performance review?
Many people choose to wait until their annual performance review to bring up the topic of a raise. Often in these situations, a raise has already been allotted to you. If this raise isn’t as much as you were hoping for, it’s difficult to negotiate once it is set in stone. Be proactive and arrange to meet with your manager prior to your performance review. With a few weeks’ notice, you can express your interest in receiving a raise and also discuss the amount you feel is adequate. By arranging this meeting ahead of time, your manager can receive approval for the amount you are comfortable with.
3. How is the business doing?
As an accountant or a member of the financial team within the company, you have an idea as to the company’s overall financial health. If the company’s goals are not being met financially, you already know the likelihood of employees receiving large raises is slim. However, if the company’s financial health is in great condition, you know that this is the optimal time to ask for additional compensation. After all, the company’s financial health is greatly affected by the hard work of their employees.
4. Prove your worth.
You understand the financial condition that the company is in, and you should also understand your role in achieving the company’s financial goals. Keep track of your accomplishments and the areas in which you’ve improved the bottom line. Have you cut hours by increasing efficiency of tasks? Have you reduced costs by implementing new systems? Each time you make a difference within the company’s operations (specifically affecting the company’s finances positively) make a note of it. When you meet with your manager to discuss the possibility of a raise, ensure you bring these notes with you. Never ask for a raise simply because you feel you are entitled to one. You always have to prove your worth.
5. What’s your next step?
After explaining to your manager what you’ve accomplished that warrants a raise, you must also talk about your next steps. Discuss what you have achieved and what you plan on achieving in the coming quarter (or year) with the firm’s goals in mind.
You will now show the company that your raise will reward you for what you’ve completed to-date, and also act as an incentive for you to continue along your path of positively attributing your efforts to the company.
As a new-hire or entry-level team member, you should expect to see progression in your role, responsibilities and your salary on an annual basis. This is your time to grow and if you have peaked within your department or your company, it is time to find a new company where you have room to continue growing.
As an experienced and long-term team member, evaluate what types of compensation you have received over the last three years. If you have received larger bonuses, additional benefits, or increased vacation time in lieu of a raise, you need to ask yourself what is more important to you. If an increase in salary is what you really want, you will only get it if you ask for it.
Follow the above five steps and prepare yourself for this awfully uncomfortable but rewarding meeting with your manager, and ask for a raise.