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To move or not to move

Should i ask for a payrise or leave?

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I joined a small company 10 months ago as a trainee accountant. My salary was 15000/year, i was looking for an opportunity just to get into accounting work so happily accepted it. In 10 months i think i have learned quickly. I can use sage payroll and sage accounts confidently and also do some ad hoc reporting for management. Im an acca finalist and i think i can earn more in the job market. I can barely make my ends meet at £1100 a month. 

I think I may be able to get  20k salary in the market with the skills i have now and my qualification. Am i punching above my weight or being too impatient. I donot take any study support from my work.  I feel like im being disloyal by thinking about leaving within a year to owner who gave me my first opportunity.

I dont think it is appropriate to ask for my salary to jump from 15 to 20 in a year. That is why moving on seems like the sensible thing to do.

Should i move or am i being too impatient?

PS: I love the people and the work im doing, but work is mostly book keeping. However, I want to learn more.


Replies (21)

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By Accountant A
17th May 2019 14:14

I'd speak to a few agencies and get their view.

You say you are an ACCA finalist but only doing bookkeeping so that doesn't add up. Unless you are doing an accountant's role, you won't get paid an accountant's salary.

Have you sought more responsibility which would aid your experience and also maybe justify a salary increase?

Thanks (0)
Replying to Accountant A:
By [email protected]
20th May 2019 16:59

Hi , I work in a small company and I share pretty much every work with my finance manager. So in terms of responsibilities, there is not more I can get. We are a team of two only.

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By Maslins
17th May 2019 14:31

Hmmm...the thing is, the exams in isolation aren't worth a great deal. I believe with ACCA you'll need 3 years practical working experience as well as passing all the exams to get the qualification. So you're still 2+ years away from being qualified.

How long away from getting final exam results are you? That would perhaps be a good time to have a chat with them about salary (if they don't offer you something beforehand). Yes you won't be qualified, but will be exam qualified, which still seems a significant milestone.

If they offer you something you consider to be feeble at that stage (or nothing), then I'd start to look around.

Personally I do feel you owe them some loyalty. The reality is despite the fact you'd presumably done a fair few exams before starting work with them, as a small accounting practice owner I know that's not worth a great deal. From personal experience I'm aware there seem to be a LOT of decent candidates for "first rung on the ladder" type roles.

Thanks (1)
By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
17th May 2019 14:44

As you are nearing your first year, that it normally the appraisal time. That would be the natural time to discuss salary etc. You could ask perhaps with a month to go, what the system is for appraisals, and say you would like a review and feedback etc on your progress. Ie look keen ,but don't push too hard when you are at the bottom of the heap.

If you are decent, most employers would be looking at pushing up your rate without asking. Dont stress the "cant make end meet", employers don't really give a stuff, what you need to stress is the "value to their business".

NB you may be in the situation of "not knowing what you don't know", ie you are clearly a newbie, and often the more you learn in the next couple of years, the more you will come to realise you didn't know now.

There is a lot to be said for doing a lot of crunching whilst training, you learn a huge amount (even when you think you are not) and cement all the basic double entry skills which are crucial to be fluent in in order to progress. Fundamentally being able to use some outdated software fit for the scrap heap, does not make you an accountant. What you need to do now I imagine is learn to use lots of other packages.

Thanks (4)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Routemaster image
By tom123
17th May 2019 15:01

Not a Sage fan then :)

(mind you, who is)

Thanks (2)
Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
By Maslins
17th May 2019 15:09


You could ask perhaps with a month to go, what the system is for appraisals, and say you would like a review and feedback etc on your progress. Ie look keen ,but don't push too hard when you are at the bottom of the heap.

I like this idea. It's not as blunt as "Can I have a payrise" (which some employers may take offence at), but hints at it.
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Replying to Maslins:
Hallerud at Easter
17th May 2019 16:04

I concur- a couple more months and the feedback may give the OP a genuine flavour re how they are valued and a better way to judge their future with their employer, using about the only latin I remember, festina lente

I appreciate things are very different these days but back in time (early 1990s) I used to weed out job applications by the number of job moves the individual had previously , in effect average time they stayed in a role, those that hopped too often did not get interviews.

Thanks (0)
Replying to DJKL:
By johnhemming
18th May 2019 14:21

I dont know if things have changed, but I would always worry about a cv with short length jobs. Some of my staff in my big company have worked for me for decades.

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Replying to johnhemming:
By bettybobbymeggie
18th May 2019 17:03

I think I'd be more worried about someone who worked in the same place for decades than I would a youngster who had moved a few times.

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Replying to bettybobbymeggie:
By johnhemming
18th May 2019 17:14

I would be unenthusiastic about employing someone who had had four jobs in 2 years unless there were really good reasons for them moving around.

Generally it takes a little time to train an employee and if they move on just as they become useful that is a real pain.

Then again I am inclined to give reasonable salary increases from time to time.

Thanks (0)
Replying to johnhemming:
Hallerud at Easter
18th May 2019 17:50

I agree with John- it is not even only training, for a small employer recruitment is a cost re time dealing with the process.

I always wanted to guard against needing to repeat the process as frankly drafting advert, reviewing CVs, contacting for interviews , conducting interviews and then contract issuing to the successful applicant and notifying the unsuccessful ones added up to a fair few hours better spent doing something that earned income.

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By andy.partridge
20th May 2019 17:08

Errr . . . how about speaking to your employer?

A pay rise isn't the solution, is it, because you are frustrated by the job content.

More challenging work isn't the solution because you think you are underpaid and could get a lot more money elsewhere.

If you are unhappy with the work content AND the money a satisfactory resolution within your current employment can only happen through talking.

Ten months is really not a lot of experience, but credit your employer with a bit of common sense. If they think you are as good as you think you are they might want the chance to accommodate your ability and ambition.

Give them a chance.

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By bettybobbymeggie
17th May 2019 18:45

am i being too impatient?

If you are as good as you think you are your impatience just sounds like ambition. Speak to a few recruitment consultants and see what they think.

Thanks (1)
By WhichTyler
18th May 2019 13:48

You seem to be on or close to national minimum wage at £15k for full time. I think a payrise is in order...

Thanks (0)
Hallerud at Easter
20th May 2019 10:33

To move or not to move, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the wallet to suffer
The slings and arrows of diminutive pay,
Or to take arms against a miserly employer
And by opposing leave there. To leave—to debit,
No more; and by a credit to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand reconciliation difference
That books are heir to: 'tis a suspense account
Devoutly to be squared. To tick, to balance;
To balance even in your dreams—ay, there's the rub:
For with the balance a debit where goes the credit,
When we have fully embraced this MTD,
Must give us pause—where’s the respect
That makes calamity of such a life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of Hector,
Th'oppressor's wrong, the taxpayers’ contumely,
The pangs of anti avoidance, the law's delay,
The insolence of helplines, and the spurns
That patient merit of th'unreprsented takes,
When he himself might his settlement make
With a low penalty? Who would fardels bear,
To tick and bash under a weary life,
But that the dread of boredom unto death,
The ticking clock continues, eternity chimes
No auditors return, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus uncertainty does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry
And lose the name of action.

Thanks (2)
Replying to DJKL:
By Tax Dragon
20th May 2019 10:46

Wow. That's impressive. I feel like someone ought to modify some Rabbie Burns in response.

(Not me... best I can do is "leave or remain?" - and not even I would lower the tone like that in response to poetry from the great Bard!)

Thanks (0)
Replying to Tax Dragon:
Hallerud at Easter
20th May 2019 11:59

Its not impressive, its merely substituting a few words here and there. My dad and I would on occasion knock something similar up to amuse each other but he was far better at it than I ever was, he could insert snippets of French and Latin into his, even into his 80s- he had a really good memory as long as you did not ask him what he had eaten for lunch.

Not sure I could do Burns despite being half Scottish and half English- best of both worlds so to speak. I would certainly need to use a Scots dictionary but doubt I have the vocabulary to substitute in Scots words.

I did however used to be able to recite odd snippets of Burns whilst standing drunk on a high mantelpiece- Teviot Row House Committee, Edinburgh Uni, the forfeit for attending the Burns supper without wearing evening dress- but I have forgotten most of it over the intervening years- I do vaguely remember reading (but not memorising) Tam O'Shanter in Ms Wallis' class in first year of secondary , we did spend a fair bit of time memorising poetry that year (Blake, Tennyson etc), but other than that never really studied Burns

It was the same with history- used to be able to recite all the Kings/Queens of England from 1066 onward yet we never studied the Scottish ones at school-in hindsight very strange given I was educated in Scotland.

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By Duggimon
20th May 2019 10:44

We take on trainees at slightly above what you are earning and, as they learn more skills and pass exams, their salaries are increased to the point where, after they finish their training in three years, gain the qualification and are up to speed fully with the various aspects of work here, they're move up to around double what they were paid at their start date.

If the firm you are with follows the same sort of process, which I believe is fairly standard across the industry, I would expect this to be the period of your career with the biggest and fastest jumps in salary and patience might be called for. £15K to £20K in the first year, assuming it's as the result of good results both academically and in the office wouldn't be unreasonable.

First and foremost though, you should talk with your employer about these things, I'm sure they're sensible people who realise one of the main reasons you come in to work is for the salary and as such it's important to you that you earn enough.

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By justsotax
20th May 2019 12:04

there is always someone who will pay more.....the only question then is will you be happier (is it longer hours/shorter lunch break/further to travel etc).

When I was really ambitious I would have gone I work 15 mins from parking....good hours....nice people.....what I do now for sure is that where ever you go you have to deal with the same old [***]....(whether that is work/people/clients....)

Thanks (1)
By Farkhem Hall
24th May 2019 11:59

Try getting a second income doing books for other clients.

You may find that looking to help other new clients (you would have to find them) on the side in your own time would do the following:

1. Give you an entrepreneurial side crucial to building your own practice later on when you may want to go it alone.
2. Allow you to learn more
3. Supplement your income

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24th May 2019 16:23

Stick with the smaller firm...

where you are, you will have a far wider range of work and be closer to and learn far more about the clients and different client types. You can grow by using your ACCA skills, for instance use the bookkeeping information as a platform to identify where margins are weak, debtors too slow to pay or the client has no financial control over costs or consider being the person that brings cloud to this firm - you can add value there and the pay will come in time

Generally in a larger better paying firm, the work will be rather more specialised, with yourself just completing accounts or tax, with minimal client contact until you get to manager level and of course can you cope with the joys of office politics and umpteen emails a day pushing you to meet your budget/time costs and so on.

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