Should I be earning more after passing CTA?

My salary increased after I qualified but not to what I was expecting.

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My salary increased after I qualified but not to what I was expecting. Is £45k in London what is to be expected in in personal tax? Others in my firm in same position with less experience have passed their ACA and will be earning more than me. Is ACA that well regarded that it gives a large pay gap over someone who has done ATT and CTA? Once they pass CTA after ACA they will be c£5k more than me which for early on in career seems like a lot. Is this normal in firms?

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By tom123
23rd Aug 2023 07:23

All firms will pay the least they can get away with. The only way you make good salary jumps is moving roles.

However you do generally need experience to go with a qualification to get the best returns.

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Replying to tom123:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
23rd Aug 2023 09:55

Moving or threatening to move.

A long, long, time ago I discovered that someone whose work I checked was earning more than me, as can be imagined I was not best pleased (nor was employer as he did not want us talking to one another re salaries) and I suggested I would be looking for new position.

What I took from all this was I was soft and a mug, trusting in my employer to treat me reasonably. I also deduced that whilst my colleague was a poor accounts clerk (hence my checking) he had been a far better negotiator than I was.

As it turned out I did not need to move, my righteous indignation got me various additions to my earnings which kept me there for a few further years.

Lesson- be slightly more assertive but if you do draw the pistol and threaten to look for another position do not bluff, if they will not accommodate demands mean it.

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Replying to DJKL:
By SteveHa
23rd Aug 2023 11:31

Doesn't always work. I used to work at a practice (now gone bust) where the MD was a proper areshole. I applied for a ne wjob, and was offered it. His response was a much better package than I had if I stayed, and like a fool I took it.

Turns our he had not a shred of honour, never produced the revised contract of employment, and then reneged on what he had offered.

I got my own back when I left one day, and simply didn't go back.

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Replying to tom123:
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By Minstrel987
23rd Aug 2023 19:01

Yes experience is very important. Which is why I was confused why someone who may have worked a year or more less than me would be earning more just because they pass aca. It was apparantly done on a scale so all the aca students were on the same and att/cta students had their own scale.

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Replying to Minstrel987:
Melchett
By thestudyman
29th Aug 2023 01:14

The reason is because companies usually have higher salary budgets for new employees in order to attract them. And for the current employees, try to increase their salary as little as possible.

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By rmillaree
23rd Aug 2023 08:01

Everything in life is about negotiating skills - you should at minimum periodically be reviewing your future prospects with your employers IF you want to maximise salary. That would cover your future prospects.

No one here knowns what discussion were till now - eg they may have paid you more than they wanted to as non CTA on the basis they kew qualifications would tunr up.

Qualifications mean didly squat but are good baregning tool and give you more options.

Reality here is that if you are doing exactly the same job you were previously and qualifications only aid you do you have a right to demand more instantly as you hav e the benefit of a shiny new badge?

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Replying to rmillaree:
paddle steamer
By DJKL
23rd Aug 2023 12:15

In my apprenticeship you got automatic salary uplifts as you progressed through passing ICAS Prelims, Part 1, Part 2, TPC

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Replying to rmillaree:
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By Minstrel987
23rd Aug 2023 18:55

That was my thinking. My thought was that at my level it should be based on experience and what work I am doing. However, someone with less experience than me will be earning more in the same role just because they have aca and I have ATT and CTA.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
23rd Aug 2023 08:43

it depends on the firm, but salary is normally an individual negotiation.
Even if they don't budge this year, then discussing it and expressing surprise, showing comparisons etc etc will feed into the next years round (so long as you do it right)

But as above its about how good you are and if they want you, not about the paperwork. Passing your CTA proves the size of your brain, your determination and your analytical skills. So great you have the talent, but you need to demonstrate what you did with it.

it maybe helpful to keep a log of your big successes, so where you saved lots of money for your firm's clients. Ditto your fees earned. Prove your benefit, and salary will follow. But sit staring at your shoes waiting for the cash to roll in and they will just think "great worker, bargain price"

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By Leywood
23rd Aug 2023 08:47

As above.

But also maybe it’s because of the way you come across. Written communication skills are important, the above isn’t very well written.

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Replying to Leywood:
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By Minstrel987
23rd Aug 2023 19:00

I received good feedback at my last appraisal so it does not appear to be work related. My post above was informal so I'm not trying to write it a fully professional manner

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By Maslins
23rd Aug 2023 09:01

At least in theory CTA and ACA (or ACCA) are equal, in terms of the level.

A lot of it will come down to supply and demand. If the firm's got plenty of decent personal tax bods but is struggling for decent accounting bods, the salaries will reflect that.

Plus as others have said, once you're qualified, you start to drift away from a set salary scale. 2nd year trainees, or newly qualifieds, will often be considered a commodity. Ie they're all considered the same, and worth £X/year. As time goes on, they'll drift apart. Some will plod along, doing an ok job, and stay where they are. Others will excel, impressing those above them, and progress rapidly to manager then director/partner etc.

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Replying to Maslins:
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By Minstrel987
23rd Aug 2023 18:58

The ACA student is in the same role as me doing the same work. My feedback from my last appraisal was all positive as well so not that it is my work that is holding back. It appeared to be a set scale where ACA students earned more than ATT students all else remaining equal

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By tom123
23rd Aug 2023 09:30

Fairly sure there will be a listed company CFO (or several) who is a CIMA member. Probably for less time than me. I think they would struggle to get by on my salary :)

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By Catherine Newman
23rd Aug 2023 09:55

It was like that when I was at PW in Bristol in 1993. They even brought an ACA who had no tax experience from the Audit Department in as my senior. Needless to say my resignation went in immediately as I had got another job.

I guess qualification doesn't change the quality of work your employer perceives as you work the same as you did while studying.

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By Tosie
23rd Aug 2023 18:31

What type of practice are you working in . Specialised tax firms getting referrals from other accountancy and legal practices will put a lot more value on CTA than average general practice which may not have much call for the detailed knowledge that you will have.

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Replying to Tosie:
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By Minstrel987
23rd Aug 2023 20:20

I'm in specialised tax firm so there should be a greater focus on CTA as we require that if we want to get promoted

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By Eighties Kid
23rd Aug 2023 19:49

Yes

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By Matrix
23rd Aug 2023 20:04

Ask a recruitment consultant for going rates and get on their books.

My first job after qualifying as CTA was £50k pa in 1997. I have no idea what the rate is now but we always earned more in Tax so look around.

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By bendybod
25th Aug 2023 10:16

You say "once they've done ACA and CTA" so they will have the all round accounting knowledge as well as specific tax knowledge. It doesn't seem entirely unreasonable, therefore, that they will be earning more. The people who know the going rate for people in your situation in your area, however, are local recruiters.

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By Steve951
25th Aug 2023 14:42

You mention separate scales as students under ACA and ATT/CTA, but not whether there is continuing separate scaling on qualifying/passing exams and whether this is company wide or role dependant.
i.e. is there a continuing disparity in scales or, do they become more aligned, or is it down to individual negotiation now?
I'd confirm the policy first then address the perceived disparities or inherent unfairness via individual negotiation based on the value and achievements you bring to the organisation.
Don't be put off by the tired old excuses which an ill-informed and out of touch HR department might trot out, of which I have overcome some of the following - we have a fixed scale (I don't limit my effort so why should I be paid as if I do), we can't pay you more than your colleagues in case they find out (complete nonsense and rewards excellence as equal with mediocrity. If colleagues do find out then they might improve their value in order to achieve similar pay rates, you are actually providing an incentive for improvement), you've only been with the company/qualified for so long (are your value and achievements time-based? I am not saving my best work and effort for later in my career, I am fully committed and achieving now (with your list of achievements)). This is a company wide policy and cannot be challenged (i'm not challenging I am stating my worth and that under the current policy it does not seem to recognise the value I bring. No policy can account for all future variables & I aim for continuous improvement especially questioning previous decisions I have made which may no longer be suitable due to changing circumstances, should I expect less of the company I work for and align my values to?).
There are much more. I have had to overcome useless & arbitrary HR /management policy and their inflexibility too many times to count.

Avoid comparison with others, this is about you and your worth, not how badly someone who has different quals or is better paid/longer time-served is performing.

Either they recognise the value you bring and it's financial worth or it's time to find somewhere that will (whilst also allowing you to progress your skills and career).

Good luck achieving your financial worth.

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By Yeadonian
25th Aug 2023 14:59

Looking at the HAYS Salary Survey for 2023, Personal Tax in Practice in London at Senior level is £48k for Big 4, £44k for a top-50 firm, and £38k for smaller firms.

So your £45k doesn't seem unreasonable.

https://www.hays.co.uk/documents/d/global/hays-accountancy-finance-salar...

Page 19

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Replying to Yeadonian:
By Husbandofstinky
25th Aug 2023 15:23

Yeadonian wrote:

Looking at the HAYS Salary Survey for 2023, Personal Tax in Practice in London at Senior level is £48k for Big 4, £44k for a top-50 firm, and £38k for smaller firms.

Ouch.

How the hell are you supposed to survive on that even outside of London?

Never been one to move around too much (two previous employers and then self employed), but that is the way to progress apparently. Obviously not a list as long as your arm.

Personally I would have my own agenda and be more than prepared to move on. If this employer is your first place of work as a junior before qualifying, then I would suggest move on as that trainee tag takes a long time to dissolve.

Qualifications are academic now, it is whether you are a good accountant (cash generator for the partners in real terms) that matters.

LLAP

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By gogzyb
01st Sep 2023 15:16

Arm yourself with options - speak to recruitment agents to find out the going rate - if you then discuss your concerns on the salary front with your current employer, you know that you have other options; trying to negotiate a fair salary can only be done from a position of strength if you know what other options you have.

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