How to ask for a pay rise

November 10th 2023 | Posted by phil scott

There comes a time in a role, whatever level or specialist area of accountancy you are in, where it feels like the right time to discuss salary expectations and how you see your salary progressing in the future.

But asking for a pay rise can be easier said than done.

Raising the suggestion of an increase in salary is often not a straightforward discussion and the more prepared you can be, the more optimistic the outcome.

What approach should you take to secure a positive outcome where you feel well rewarded and appreciated for your contribution to the business?

How should an Accountancy professional ask for a pay rise?

With confidence

Don’t be afraid to have the pay rise conversation.  Whatever the outcome may be, knowing your value to the business and being able to raise the salary question shows self-belief and self-assurance.

When approaching your boss, discuss the pay rise with confidence.  Be direct, clear, assertive and sure about the points you are making to demonstrate belief in your own abilities and the fact that you believe you deserve a financial contribution to reward these.

With evidence

While conviction is key, confidence without substance could make you come unstuck.  It’s easy enough to confidently state that you believe you’re deserving of a pay rise, but you’ll need to be able to back it up.

Gather evidence of the outstanding work you have done and give examples of the impact you’ve made to the business.  Have you substantially improved a system or process within the accountancy team that has had a positive financial impact on the company?  Have you successfully evaluated the financial risks and reward of new business opportunities that have made a big difference to the organisation?

Look at the impact you’ve made in your role over the last 6-12 months and give solid evidence as to the level at which you’re now working and how a pay rise will be reflective of your increased performance.

With market research

Come to a discussion regarding remuneration having done your homework.  Taking the time to benchmark salaries for similar roles in similar-sized organisations or industries will mean you know your financial worth and understand that is reflecting the market rate.

Having a detailed understanding of the salary market rate will give you the knowledge you need to confidently discuss your position within the team and achieve the financial package that matches your hard work, contribution and commitment.

With consideration

It is important to remember that you are not the only individual in the team (or indeed the business) that has been dedicated to the company and pushed themselves to deliver.

Approach a pay rise discussion with consideration to your manager and the business as a whole and give some awareness to other issues that may be influencing the company – both internal (such as other requests for increased pay) and external (outside forces that may be impacting the finances of the business).

With a strategy

When approaching a discussion about a pay rise for your role, take some time before the conversation to formulate a strategy for a) how you’d like the conversation to progress and b) your overall progression within the business.

This will help shape how you approach the conversation and the outcomes you are looking for.  For example, will you be happy with a suggested pay increase that is below what you are looking for but still rewards your contribution and effort?

Or would you be content with a lower pay increase than hoped, but additional opportunities to grow and progress your role that could help achieve a higher salary in the future?

Understanding your expectations and levels of satisfaction in advance can help during these important discussions.

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