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Are my salary expectations too high?

Just turned down a job offer

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Hi everyone

Newly CTA and ACCA qualified accountant/tax advisor working in South East area (Bedfordshire) in a small accountancy practice. Currently earning 45k. I've got almost 4 years experience. 

I've been looking at a few jobs in London full time tax roles which is what I'm after. Most of them are 50k and don't seem to deviate much from that. 

I would lose money if I went into London on 50k because of train fares and high marginal tax rate (9% student loan, thanks lib dems). 

For me to go into London I would expect at least 55k-60k. Recruiter I've been chatting to seems to think it's a bit far fetched for my first pure tax role. 

Am I overpaid right now? Or are my expectations too high? 

What should someone with my experience/qualifications realistically expect to be earning? 

Replies (9)

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By Sarah Z
19th Feb 2021 08:46

Yes I think your expectations are too high and that your current salary is very good for someone with your years of experience

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
19th Feb 2021 08:52

I am about an hour outside of London and newly qualified are on about £35k, £40k at best. You must be pretty smart to do CTA + ACCA inside of 4 years, but will lack practical experience with only 4 years under your belt, and in particular relevant post qualification experience, ie working one more than grunt work. However roll on 3 years or so and £60k regional should be on the cards.

I think when I was newly qualified (and even with 3 years exp post Q) I was disillusioned by the lack of pay, but it took a long while to work out how much I didn't know. All that time I was learning huge amounts. Think of it like how when you were 18 you thought you were really grown up? Than then at 25 you look back at your 18 year old self and thing "what an absolute immature idiot". Its much the same.

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By Matrix
19th Feb 2021 09:09

If that is the market rate then there isn’t much you can do, but good to value yourself and to take time over the next step in your career.

Industry or a specialism may pay more. Or if money is that important then look at financial services (I earned £50,000 + bonus as a newly qualified in 1997).

There are tax firms in Milton Keynes if that is doable and a recruitment consultant contacted me about roles at Fortus this week. PM me if you want his details.

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Melchett
By thestudyman
19th Feb 2021 09:57

I've spoken with a few agencies recently, and 50k is usually the ballpark figure for a newly qualified industry accountant in London. Maybe slightly higher, maybe slightly lower.

Its not all about the salary. Maybe for your next position you can negotiate working from home 3 3 days a week, so you will only be paying for travel for 2 days.

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By FCExtraordinaire
19th Feb 2021 10:01

I think your expectations may be a little high, with 4 years experience I would say you are about right with salary if not slightly better than most around the £40k mark for practice work.

If I was you " post qual" , I would be looking at getting the opportunity you want to progress your career and if you break even at the moment, the job after that will get you the money you want.

In Bedfordshire, you can go to MK, Luton, Cambridgeshire, North London which are all driveable ( I am in the same location) and won't cost you the train fares.

IMO, At 4 years experience, you don't know what you don't know.... and the salary reflects that.

At 25 years experience, it's reflected in your salary of £60k + - The difference in experience is substantial.

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By Duggimon
19th Feb 2021 10:02

£45K is definitely on the high side for a newly qualified.

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By Michael Davies
19th Feb 2021 12:03

Use to hack me off; but not that much ,that Audit Managers got paid more than I did .I am with you when considering the salaries paid in the City;I think a £60 k salary is not unreasonable.Especially when you think what your charge out rate and annual fees will amount to.They use to say one third your salary,one third your overheads and one third profit.However I rarely used a secretary,worked out of a cubby hole etc;so my overheads were not even close to one third.I calculated I use to fund one partners profits.

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Replying to Michael Davies:
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By Mr_awol
26th Jul 2021 09:43

Did you do all your work using a HB pencil, free paper, and a solar powered calculator? Or perhaps did you use the firms (likely incredibly expensive) software and computer equipment, etc. You didn't, i assume, have any employer-provided training (especially not in work time), didn't have your professional fees paid by the employer and had no holiday pay* or sick pay provision*. Nor did any of the fees you worked on come from any of the firm's marketing spend i assume and your work wasn't covered by the firms PI policy.

Of course all of that probably didn't come to the outdated third, but similarly it is fair to say that secretarial time (particularly in the modern age) isn't the bulk of it either. Generally, in fact, 'idle time' (including the items asterisked above) can be a huge part of the 'overhead' of employment in this game - although of course that is an employment cost, if you were to calculate it properly you would consider it an overhead. Many employees forget this (whilst also forgetting to gross up their employment cost for E'ers NIC, pensions and other benfefits) when complaining about their salary to charge rate ratio. I know i used to.**

** Also, and whilst it sounds like I'm being picky/a bit of a dick about grammar, your use of "use to" felt really wrong to me (it kind of worked if i imagined it in a scouse accent, but not in any other context and certainly not written) but you seemed to be using it very deliberately and seem intelligent, so i wondered if i was wrong. As a result i looked it up;

"Used To” Shows a Former Fact, Habit, or Action
We also use the phrase "used to" in the sense of formerly to indicate something that happened in the past but no longer does. While in centuries past there was a corresponding present tense form, "use to", we now use this construction only in the past tense.

Examples:
- The grocery store 'used' to be at the corner of Main and Fifth.
- Karl used to work out every morning, but he has been too busy to keep up with it.
- My father used to take a donkey to school.

The only time you should write "use to" instead of "used to" with this meaning of the phrase is when it is paired with did or didn’t. The reason is that did or didn’t will have assumed the obligation of reflecting the past tense.

Examples:
- Did your father use to take his donkey to school?
- My father didn’t use to take his donkey to school on Mondays, because it was needed at the farm.

Pendants corner over - unless of course you want to pick me up for inappropriate use of a semi colon. I'll admit i have no idea what I'm doing with those ;)

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By Citcat
25th Jul 2021 19:09

I'd expect £40k to £45k in London with your qualifications and PQE length, but only if you'd spent the last 4 years doing tax, and it sounds like you're changing specialism?

£55k to £60k is more like the ballpark for a junior tax manager in London. You know, someone who's not only qualified but knows their stuff well enough to review returns and advisory notes that aren't hugely complicated.

I suspect you're being overpaid for your current role because it's a small enough firm that they struggle to recruit people, and so they pay a premium.

Sorry!

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