Am I being underpaid?

JJBJJB New MemberRegistered Posts: 9
Hi Guys,

I'm new to this forum so please be easy on me.

Currently I am at level 4 of the AAT and have passed my ICAS and Budgeting exams so far and have another 4 exams to do by July.

I also work full time at an accountants practise in which is am an accounts assistant doing pretty much everything. Book-keeping, preparing accounts, bank reconciliations, Vat control, PAYE control, debtors reconciliations, PL control, fixed asset schedules and so forth.

I have been working there now for 3 years doing this job, whilst studying towards my AAT.

What I want to know is if i am being underpaid. I'll give you a few details, I work in Birmingham, West Midlands, at a medium sized practise I would say that employs 22 people. (Not sure this is classed as small or medium sized practise?)

I am paid a salary of £12285.00, i am 22 years old this summer and will be AAT qualified (hopefully) by this time too. I started at the company on £11650.00 when I wasn't even level 2 qualified in AAT and was only 17/18 years old which i thought was a decent wage to begin with, however now after doing and learning so much in accounts I feel I perhaps should be on more than this, our company is not struggling in the slightest (believe me!)

Your opinions would be extremely grateful.

Best Regards ,JJB

Comments

  • SandyHoodSandyHood Font Of All Knowledge Registered, Moderator Posts: 2,034
    I have made a very selective quote.
    I am paid a salary of £12285.00
    I also work full time at an accountants practise in which is am an accounts assistant doing pretty much everything. Book-keeping, preparing accounts, bank reconciliations, Vat control, PAYE control, debtors reconciliations, PL control, fixed asset schedules and so forth.

    This is what is important.

    I would imagine that your firm charge clients for your time. I am sure that you will be able to find an overhead cost of them employing you. Do you earn the practice £30,000+?

    Have you spoken to other students in your area, are they earning similar salaries for the work? I suspect not, but real evidence means a lot more than my suspicions.

    Have you applied for other jobs nearby? How much are they offering?
    Sandy
    [email protected]
    www.sandyhood.com
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,069
    Are they paying for your study? If they are, then that takes your salary up to about £15k or so (rough estimate).

    For what you do, and at your level of qualification, assuming you're self-funding your study, I would pay significantly more than £12k. But then I have 3 staff, not 22. But still...
  • DcollinsDcollins Well-Known Registered Posts: 179
    Hays do a salary survey every year, and this is about a year out of date, but it might help
    http://www.hays.co.uk/job/accountancy-finance-jobs/HAYS_393456
  • clegganatorclegganator Well-Known Registered Posts: 184
    Hi JJB

    It doesn't sound like an amazing salary however I echo Sandy's question, do you earn a lot of money for the practice?

    That said it could be that when you pass you'll get a significant pay increase. Though that's a chat for you and your manager.
  • JJBJJB New Member Registered Posts: 9
    Hi guys,

    Thanks for your replies,

    They have set charge out rates per hour for each member of staff and mine is £22/Hour so if you do the sums as I work 7.5 hours per day, its about approx £40000 P.A isnt it? (22x7.5x5x4x12)

    I do go to college on a thursday but it is funded by the givernment so they do pay me the days wage but I do technically do 7.5 hours at college so at the most its £50 a week they fund.

    I havent applied for any others maybe i should?

    Personally after looking through research i believe it should be £15000-£18000, does anybody agree?

    Thanks guys

    JJB
  • MonsoonMonsoon Font Of All Knowledge FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant Posts: 4,069
    They probably won't be able to charge out all your hours at £22, and if you take holiday and college into account, your full time week equates to £30k at £22ph. So I'd say £25k is probably more realistic. That still leaves a nice margin to give you a payrise though.

    £15-18k sounds reasonable. Remember though, work is a balance of what you get paid but also who you work with, if you enjoy it, how far you have to travel, how nice your boss is etc. If I was an employee, I'd take a lower wage at a nicer workplace than a higher wage at a place I hated, so remember it's not all about the money.

    But still, I would do some research so you can see if you're being underpaid and then can demonstrate that. Then have a chat with you boss.
  • JJBJJB New Member Registered Posts: 9
    Thanks for the feedback Monsoon.

    I see what you are saying and totally understand it, however i'm getting to the point in my life now where i want my own place, i have been with my girlfriend for a long time and we want to live together etc.

    I am happy you agree with the fact 15-18k is reasonable and it would be nice to be offered this.

    I have already brought the payrise subject to my bosses and they rejected it however if i maybe look for another job with a higher salary doing the same thing maybe i could use this to my advantage?

    Nowadays, college is closed every other week, for example this week im working 5 days full week. We get a standard of 20 days holiday per year and this doesn't increase.

    My bosses have openly told everyone they have bought shares in a certain company and its for quite a sum of money. I realise this is their money to play with but cant help thinking this could of gone towards it thats all?

    If theres anybody of my age or maybe in the same capacity or region as me, it would be nice to hear from you to see how much you are earning if thats cheeky i am sorry lol. Thanks guys,

    JJB
  • stuartanderstuartander Feels At Home Registered Posts: 82
    You can earn alot more working in Industry than you can in practice.
    About 2 years ago i was offered a job in practice paying £13k :( and i was on £17k back then, and im 40 miles from London- now im on double what that practice was offering, doing first stage of acca (fully funded)..
    Practice never pay very well!!

    Ohh and experience weighs more than Qualifications
  • SandyHoodSandyHood Font Of All Knowledge Registered, Moderator Posts: 2,034
    JJB
    I think you have a case.
    My experience of accountants has been that they are straight forward in matters of money.
    Ask for a chat, outline the package that you believe you receive from them. Outline the package friends at college receive for similar work. Ask if they consider your work good and then ask them if £18,500 would be a more reasonable salary.
    A lot of non-finance bosses can get bogged down by other things. If you are doing a good job, have some satisfied clients who don't need you boss to appease them and you are bringing in the money, then you are worth keeping so long as your request is reasonable and has an obvious profit for the firm.
    Sandy
    [email protected]
    www.sandyhood.com
  • AK002AK002 Font Of All Knowledge Registered Posts: 2,492
    I was on £14k, doing full Accounts and ran one or two audits, chargeable at £40ph.
  • Craig_GCraig_G Settling In Nicely Registered Posts: 17
    JJB, I would say that you're certainly being paid less than you're worth.

    In industry you would probably be looking at £17,500 plus — if you could get a job. Of course, at the present time that can be a big if!

    I don't see much mileage in rocking any boats until you're MAAT qualified. Once you are, rock boats.

    As an MAAT with several years of good fee-earning experience under your belt, you should be entitled to seek a sensible but decent pay rise, and also to seek sponsorship for further study such as ATT.

    Unfortunately, before finishing your AAT studies I suspect that your negotiating position isn't great — there are just too many people, such as HND-qualified college leavers and even university graduates, waiting for an opening. I certainly believe that your years of experience puts you way ahead of industry entrants, but does your employer fully appreciate that? Not all of them do.

    I understand your frustrations and I sympathise with you. However, I believe that your priority should be to qualify as an MAAT — this will be the time to to approach your employer for a more realistic package, or failing that to look elsewhere.
  • clegganatorclegganator Well-Known Registered Posts: 184
    Craig_G wrote: »
    I understand your frustrations and I sympathise with you. However, I believe that your priority should be to qualify as an MAAT — this will be the time to to approach your employer for a more realistic package, or failing that to look elsewhere.

    Craig makes a very good point. If you go into a negotiation without been qualified they could very easily throw you out and you'd be struggling to find a way to finish. Wait until you've got your letters you're in a better place to go elsewhere and they will want to keep you on to keep getting a return on the cost of sending you to college.
  • Louise89Louise89 Trusted Regular England, UKMAAT Posts: 296
    Hi JJB,

    I am kinda in a similar situation to you; I'm also 22 and due to finish AAT this summer, although I started on a lower salary of £6,000 (Apprentice wage) now I'm on £13,000 pro-rata which works out about £11,500 per annum - which I was never really happy with, but you've got to start somewhere!

    I know the job market is tough at the moment, but if you really are unhappy and don't want to wait you could have a look around and go for some interviews, but I would stress that you do not compromise your current job or your study. The thing is you never know, the recruitment process can go on for weeks so if you do find a role it might be in time for you to start chartered (if thats what you aim to do) or as Craig advised, wait until you're a MAAT then try to negotiate a better salary with your current employer.

    At the end of last year I started going to a couple of interviews here and there, with the view that I will take my time and choose the best opportunity and not settling for any old role just because it is better paid and I ended up with two offers last month. So I'm starting a new job next week with a salary almost double of what I'm currently on and study support for chartered. :)

    Anyhoo whatever your choice, Good Luck X
  • MarkTMarkT Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 302
    Louise89 wrote: »
    Hi JJB,

    I am kinda in a similar situation to you; I'm also 22 and due to finish AAT this summer, although I started on a lower salary of £6,000 (Apprentice wage) now I'm on £13,000 pro-rata which works out about £11,500 per annum - which I was never really happy with, but you've got to start somewhere!

    I know the job market is tough at the moment, but if you really are unhappy and don't want to wait you could have a look around and go for some interviews, but I would stress that you do not compromise your current job or your study. The thing is you never know, the recruitment process can go on for weeks so if you do find a role it might be in time for you to start chartered (if thats what you aim to do) or as Craig advised, wait until you're a MAAT then try to negotiate a better salary with your current employer.

    At the end of last year I started going to a couple of interviews here and there, with the view that I will take my time and choose the best opportunity and not settling for any old role just because it is better paid and I ended up with two offers last month. So I'm starting a new job next week with a salary almost double of what I'm currently on and study support for chartered. :)


    Anyhoo whatever your choice, Good Luck X
    Can I have the details of the one you turned down then?? :lol:

    Congratulations!!
  • MarkTMarkT Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 302
    I'd follow the advice of gaining your full MAAT status first and then put together a case to your current employer as to the qualities that you have gained during this course and while working for them as to why you believe that you should be given a pay raise.

    Use a salary checker like Hays to gauge your true market worth beforehand as this can only help you get your point across

    Good luck!
  • Louise89Louise89 Trusted Regular England, UKMAAT Posts: 296
    MarkT wrote: »
    Can I have the details of the one you turned down then?? :lol:

    Congratulations!!

    Haha, thank you! Is Basingstoke near London?
    MarkT wrote: »

    Use a salary checker like Hays to gauge your true market worth beforehand as this can only help you get your point across

    Good luck!

    This is a really good guide, I used this when I was job hunting before, but I think that they are a little generous in some areas and do not include the lower bands as much.
  • chrisstbbchrisstbb New Member Registered Posts: 7
    Hi Everybody,

    Slightly unrelated but I recruit AAT students/qualified for practice positions in London - if anybody would like to have an informal discussion please contact me on 020 3465 0137.

    To add: a AAT qualified Bookkeeper/Management Accountant should be paid anywhere between £30,000-£32,000 at a practice in London.

    Thanks, Chris
  • Louise89Louise89 Trusted Regular England, UKMAAT Posts: 296
    chrisstbb wrote: »
    Hi Everybody,

    Slightly unrelated but I recruit AAT students/qualified for practice positions in London - if anybody would like to have an informal discussion please contact me on 020 3465 0137.

    To add: a AAT qualified Bookkeeper/Management Accountant should be paid anywhere between £30,000-£32,000 at a practice in London.

    Thanks, Chris

    Hmm, from my experience, I don't know if thats entirely accurate? It depends on your level of experience surely? Personally I would say it ranges from £18-28K+ MAATs depending on your level of experience and if you have a training contract etc. Also, chartered part-qualified jobs start in the mid £20K's...

    Apologies if I'm wrong, just thought I'd voice my opinion.
  • MarkTMarkT Trusted Regular Registered Posts: 302
    Louise89 wrote: »
    Hmm, from my experience, I don't know if thats entirely accurate? It depends on your level of experience surely? Personally I would say it ranges from £18-28K+ MAATs depending on your level of experience and if you have a training contract etc. Also, chartered part-qualified jobs start in the mid £20K's...

    Apologies if I'm wrong, just thought I'd voice my opinion.

    Don't be too sure, my last salary as a temp for a company in Reading (how I miss that income) was £32k and I'm not fully fledged AAT yet - ok, I have experience, but still.... I think it is achievable, especially in London
  • Louise89Louise89 Trusted Regular England, UKMAAT Posts: 296
    MarkT wrote: »
    Don't be too sure, my last salary as a temp for a company in Reading (how I miss that income) was £32k and I'm not fully fledged AAT yet - ok, I have experience, but still.... I think it is achievable, especially in London

    But 32k for 14 years experience is reasonable... maybe I'm just thinking about AAT studier salarys. I tried to upload the Hays salary guide for accountancy but its a bit too big. It has salary ranges for all the different levels and qualifications and regions.

    (Also, I think that so many people as you said in your thread are looking for work and thinking that once they're qualified they can walk straight into a job around 30k without experience. I just don't want people to think that, as I know many who have and were almost heartbroken if thats the right word.)
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