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Employee salary markup

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HALP! I am working in an accountancy practice in a semi-senior role, (AAT qualified with experience). The role is mixed, accounts prep, tax some man ac.s & managing junior staff. I have been in this position for just over 1 year. The position pays £25k. 

I have invoiced an average of £4k per month during this period. I invoice my own work. My firm has today threatened me with termination if I fail to invoice £7k month, which for me I believe is unattainable. I've had to work weekends, and often stay late to acheive £4k. I have today been put on a PIP to produce two PTRs per day until the end of Jan to hit the £7k for the first month. The pip also involves alot of micro managing meetings. This is small practice firm. 

Can someone please let me know if this appears to be a reasonable request. Its all very stressful & I am considering resigning. Any input would be greatly appreciated. 

Replies (19)

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By WhichTyler
13th Jan 2020 23:50

If 40 ptrs (2 per day for 4 weeks) bills £7k, that's £175 each so we are boot looking at the most complicated accounts.

Whether it's reasonable depends what you are starting with. If it's a year's worth of mouldy receipts stuffed in a plastics bag and some paper bank statement. If it's all in Xero and in reasonable shape it shouldn't be a problem. But I'm not in practice so others will have better advise...

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By nads
13th Jan 2020 23:56

Thanks for the response. It's a large mixture. Client's attempting to provide information via receipts and spreadsheets. Very few have been on software & they are not directors. The £7k per month on a salary of £25k, just seems like a huge ask to me, but perhaps I am inefficient and the practice is justified?

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Replying to nads:
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By WhichTyler
14th Jan 2020 08:42

Does the target include work done by the people you manageor do they have their own too?

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Replying to WhichTyler:
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By nads
14th Jan 2020 18:41

Yes although my trainee was reassigned.

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By Accountant A
14th Jan 2020 00:56

The typical ratio was 1/3 salary 1/3 overheads and 1/3 profit. For your £25,000 salary that would be £75,000 rather than £84,000.

I'm not in practice either but, as WT says, how achievable that is will, in part, depend on the quality of the clients.

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By dejaneiro2005
14th Jan 2020 09:51

I would think carefully if I wanted to work for an organisation that threatened me with termination.

In any case, I would keep a note of the dates and times of any threats. These may amount to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence by your employer. This could form the basis of a claim for constructive dismissal.

What resources, training and help have your employer offered to help you achieve their desired levels of performance? What timescales have they suggested for you to reach this new level of performance?

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Replying to dejaneiro2005:
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By nads
14th Jan 2020 18:17

Thanks for the response. I was issued a Personal Improvement Plan in a meeting, which states failure to achieve could lead to termination. I have 3 weekly meetings to review the next three weeks on Fridays, and meet with the partner every morning to update on workflow.

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By JoF
15th Jan 2020 08:34

w.o.t.

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By memyself-eye
14th Jan 2020 10:53

Interesting that you've been in the job one year. So no employment rights. Sounds like a stitch up - I would be heading for the exit.

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Replying to memyself-eye:
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By nads
14th Jan 2020 18:18

Thanks, I'm leaning this way.

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Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
14th Jan 2020 10:54

Presume you do not bill on an hourly rate basis?

Is that £7k per month expected in months where you take holidays as at a minimum you will not be working 5.6 weeks a year?

I expect with small disorganised clients I might struggle at that level but with larger more organised less guddly clients it would have been readily achievable, the key to its reasonableness is certainly, as others have mentioned, what is involved.

Do partners/directors actually review any work/files or are all the staff just churning out at the required level with no checks, if the latter I can near guarantee your employers that some of their staff are producing ****

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Replying to DJKL:
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By nads
14th Jan 2020 18:23

Thanks for the reply.

We do have charge out rates to gauge.

I didn't think about holiday before now. It's just an average per month invoiced.

The client's I've worked on in the last year vary wildly, but many have had bookkeeping issues adding to time spent.

Partners review everything, we have a stringent & time consuming file prep process which once complete the partner reviews and passes back.

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Replying to nads:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
15th Jan 2020 09:48

With the sorts of individual fee levels you mention further down the thread I can see why you might struggle.

You mention the charge out rates they do have, at these how many hours a year would you and the trainee need to bill to hit the £7,000 would be worth calculating to see how possible it is, compare result with annual working hours available after holidays, sickness, staff training (trainee study release?) etc. If the sums do not add you then at least have some ammunition to defend yourself.

In the meantime, as others have said, I think I would be looking for an alternative position as the current one sounds slightly hostile.

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By lesley.barnes
14th Jan 2020 11:05

As others have said don't resign until you find another job.
If the 40 tax returns are achievable would depend on what state they are in. Are you being given all the dredges while other colleagues are getting the organised work and that they can easily translate into tax returns?
Has your employer told you what they have based the £7k a month on or is it a finger in the air job? Do your colleagues turn this over and are their portfolio's comparable to yours? Do you go through the figures with the clients to get a sign off or are the returns emailed for the client to approve?
It's all down to the make up of your portfolio and how the £7k has been arrived at.
Does the practice you work for under charge to get loads of work in at £175 it's ok for a really straightforward return but if you have a bin liner of rubbish or you have to keep chasing a client for additional info its not.

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Replying to lesley.barnes:
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By nads
14th Jan 2020 18:35

I seem to receive those jobs where the client provides 60% of the info required, so and we're chasing or they keep records, but they aren't reliable.

The £7k was solely 3x my salary + 1/2 of a trainees salary.

I don't know that any colleagues have had this problem so I assume they are hitting targets. Portfolios vary. There are 3 senior accountants that definitely have larger workloads, but seem to manage. It could well be skillset as they seem to be able to engage in office chat which I can't.

PTRs are password protected and emailed where possible.

Yes I wasn't issued a portfolio, and am assigned year end work to complete monthly, as it arrives.

Even simple PTRs can end taking over half a day, once you add in back and forth with clients and the fact that I am unfamiliar with most of the PTR clients etc plus preparing our detailed files etc.

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By PennyPincher
14th Jan 2020 17:56

I am in a similar position to yourself (1 year post qualified Acca experience) working in a small firm in Scotland (10 staff). Salary 25k plus £5k bonus last year and I would say £7k per month seems pretty fair.

Again all depends on the sort of work you have on your portfolio. I billed around £100k last year but I can have a £500 fee for a builder one week and the following week be billing £4K to a solicitor which helps bump the numbers up.

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Replying to PennyPincher:
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By nads
14th Jan 2020 18:39

Thanks for this. Interesting.

My largest invoice has been £1,750 so the vast majority of the billing is £150-£750.

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
14th Jan 2020 18:05

At one of my previous firms, I was given a target of £6k pcm, which worked out as 100% billable time (£40/hr). I was on £25k. I was running the business services team (bkpg, vat) of 5 juniors, so was spending about 30% of my time managing not doing. The partner acknowledged that our work was low grade (cheap) so I would have to put pressure on the practice managers to give me big YE work to get my figures up. I think it was about £3k I needed to make up each month. Not easy - early mornings & the odd weekend.

Feasible, but totally depends on the quality & profitability of the work.

Agree with whoever said “start looking for a new job”. I’m afraid that they’re starting to manage you out.

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Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By nads
14th Jan 2020 18:40

Thanks for the input. I think I may have to look elsewhere.

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