February 22, 2020 at 11:28 pm #2942268AlexParticipant
I got licensed in November 2019. I thought it would boost my salary by 15 – 20%. However, the company I work for just told me that my upcoming raise would be normal 3-5% along with a normal bonus. Essentially, they don't care that I got it, and they are not rewarding me for it. So instead, I now have to go look for a new job. However, my previous jobs have only been staff accountant level. Therefore, it seems that no-one is interested in me as a senior. It's been 3 months and 13 days and the CPA license has still been a complete waste of time. Anyways, I will keep looking and see what I can get, but I am here to say that getting a CPA license doesn't instantly get you benefits.
AlexFebruary 23, 2020 at 7:16 am #2942403Y05H1 3GGParticipant
I’m having a similar experience as you. I became licensed in August and initially got a verbal congrats from my supervisor. After 3 months I had a check in with him and I mentioned that I was interested in moving into a senior analyst role. His response was not yet and that job roles may be redefined since we were recently acquired and have gone from a not for profit to a publicly traded company. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago my supervisors role was eliminated and now I feel like I have been completely reset on any momentum toward becoming a senior analyst I have built after being with the company for the last 5 years. I’m pretty frustrated too and feel like it hasn’t paid off yet as well.February 23, 2020 at 9:18 am #2942472mvhooverParticipant
I'm very interested in this thread. Following for sure. It's not that I expect some magical raise, but I will be the first person in my firm to get licensed in the last 7 years. All partners are retiring within the next 5 to 10 years. I am just wondering if it is worth it to stick it out for 5 years knowing that they do not give huge pay raises (People have told me that they essentially give at most $1.50 -$2 hourly raise per year) We do get overtime which is nice. Please share your experiences! I am hoping to be licensed by May.February 23, 2020 at 10:02 am #2942526IcaritoParticipant
A good boss/manager should want all of their people to get promoted. The director of tax I work for is always telling each person what they need to show/do during that year and if we do it, we get promoted.
If it’s in the budget and justifiable, your boss should WANT you to get more money/promoted. It’s not like they are writing the paycheck from their own bank…
That said, a CPA license is more educational in nature. Especially in tax, CPA loses meaning very quickly past the senior role. Experience and expertise matter. If you are viewed as an expert in compliance, provisions/accounting, transfer pricing you are going to carve out a long and successful career, CPA or not.February 23, 2020 at 10:54 am #2942550DocJParticipant
“they don't care that I got it, and they are not rewarding me for it”
Well I mean, did you ever get anything in writing? Did they offer to pay the test fees or lessons? Was there any kind of agreement at all?
It sucks and you deserve better, but never forget: Companies ALWAYS look out for #1, that being themselves and NEVER you. If they were able to squeeze work out of you before without the CPA license, you can damn well be sure they'll keep trying regardless of you getting all the education on the planet. In the end, nothing matters except how much they can squeeze out of you while paying the smallest amount possible. I've told the people at my job I'm working on it, and got all the “good for you” BS fake smiles as if they cared, and I fully expect nothing to change when I get it. Again, if they managed to keep you down before without it, they'll try to keep you down now even with it.
At least now you know for a fact that they're a toxic company that doesn't care. All the more reason to get another job ASAP.February 23, 2020 at 11:50 am #294260112tangParticipant
Was a pay raise requested? If the answer is no, then you need to request it. Oftentimes we find ourselves knowing in our head why we deserve better, and we expect others to see why we deserve more as well. Take what you know to be true (your increase in market value via CPA), and bring that to the negotiation table. Employers are very reluctant to just give out raises, even when they know you exhibit excellence. We have one employee who is awesome at what he does, and I overheard one of the owners straight out say, “He's not complaining about his salary” after the other owner mentioned that he is slightly underpaid in comparison to other employees. Only you can develop of a strong basis of your value, and it's up to you on how you sell it. If your current employer doesn't buy it, then find one who will.February 23, 2020 at 12:31 pm #2942682mtaylo24Participant
Time to leave. I went through this back when I passed, and bounced about 10 months later for a 25% increase!February 23, 2020 at 4:47 pm #2942883vbmerParticipant
The CPA merely demonstrates a minimum baseline of knowledge for the accounting profession. It doesn't make you an expert in anything, nor does it entitle you to a raise. It just means you can now work as a professional. If opportunities do not exist at your current company, you can go look elsewhere.February 23, 2020 at 4:55 pm #2942895fsugirl2005Participant
If you don't have a ton of experience then the CPA license isn't worth much…at least initially. Get some busy seasons under your belt and run with it.
I work for myself so I don't worry about being promoted by anybody but my darn self..lol. I started off with my own bookkeeping business over 10 years ago and that's how I've made my living. I've made great contacts and once I get my license, I can make an easy $100K+ per year just specializing in the niche I have now.
Many companies do give promotions and raises withe CPA even if you don't have a lot of experience. Those are the companies you should stick with and get your foot in. With sites like Glassdoor and Indeed that share employee reviews, this can be a start in looking for a company.
Good luck.February 23, 2020 at 5:50 pm #2942979AusNatParticipant
I think most of the value of a CPA lies in job opportunities, not raises in jobs that can (and are) being performed by non-CPAs. Getting your license didn't suddenly make you better at your current position. Even in public, most tax and audit associates are hired with the expectation that they will get their license, and there is often no raise for getting licensed (but most firms will stop you from advancing after a few years if you don't get it).
If you want a raise at your current firm, you will need to demonstrate how you can provide more value for them using your knowledge and abilities as a CPA. What new job responsibilities are you going to take on? Is there a more senior or different position you can either apply for or discuss as a goal with your superiors?
As for looking elsewhere… get serious about it if that's something you're considering. Look for positions that fit your experience with career-paths that you're looking for instead of getting hung up on what title you'll be brought in at.February 24, 2020 at 9:19 am #2943546jombeParticipant
Not sure what you were expecting. I haven't heard of any companies, including public firms, offering any significant raise after you get your CPA. The traditional route of bumping your pay goes something like this –
1) Start working at a public firm w/o your CPA
2) Get 2-3 years, at minimum, of experience under your belt and get your CPA.
3) After getting licensed, you either stay in public until you make manager (generally this is where you get the bump), or explore opportunities in private, which will get you ~20% bump.
Now if you were working in private to begin with at staff level, I would seek out opportunities outside of your current employer, since it sounds like you didn't work out any deal upfront regarding your licensure.
What CPA generally does for people is provide job security, open doors to opportunities & promotions that require such license and thereby provide bit more income than non-licensed accounting professionals (not counting those that open/run successful practices after getting their license). You definitely shouldn't be expecting any major fireworks at staff/senior level, but that's just my opinion, very much based on my personal experience.February 24, 2020 at 9:44 am #2943579jombeParticipant
Let me share my salary history, so people don't get discouraged. I didn't mean to sound like CPA doesn't do much, but setting realistic expectation is important, so you don't get discouraged.
2010 : graduated from college w/ accounting degree
2011-12 : non-accounting / operational role in SOCAL – 34k – 40k
2013 : changed jobs, but still operational role in SOCAL – 42k
2014-15 : changed jobs, Bookkeeping duties in SOCAL – 50k
2016-18 : moved to CO, public/audit – 55k-64k, left after promotion to Sr & got my license soon after
2019 : Sr. Accountant / private – 75k w/ CPA license, still in CO
2020 : Same company, same role – 87k
This may seem great for some, but not so great for those who wants to get to six figures asap, but for me, I can say w/ confidence that getting my license has been worth it.February 24, 2020 at 10:31 am #294366912tangParticipant
There are many schools of thought on this as you can see. To me it's simple. You have a higher market value and you should be paid more than a non-cpa. I'm not saying that you should be paid a ton more but if your raise is the standard, your company is basically signaling to you that they don't value you as a CPA, since they are still paying you like a non-cpa. They have every right to do that, but I'd say if a company truly values you, and sees your commitment to the profession, then they should give you a better raise. If they won't, you have every right to find an employer who will value you properly. So let's say you get more certifications, are you going to be okay being paid like Joe Schmuck with no certifications? I personally will not work for a company that refuses to recognize my achievements beyond the average person. Do certifications make you an expert? No. But nonetheless, they do show value. The burden is not on your company to compensate you for your achievements, the burden is on you to find an employer who will!February 24, 2020 at 10:47 am #2943696bigstakkParticipant
A CPA only pays off instantly if you work for a large public accounting firm. They give bonuses when you pass and you can’t even make manager if you don’t have a CPA. In private you won’t see the benefits instantly, but for upper management roles like Director, Vice President or Accounting/Finance as well as CFO roles you will need your CPA. Being the you have an entry level title you’re just too far from the levels where it actually matters. You should focus hard on getting a senior title and then manager. Getting stuck at the staff accountant level is not good for your career. If your current employer is not willing to promote you then you need to leave ASAP and get a senior title elsewhere or go the public accounting route. I highly recommend getting some public experience. Almost all upper level management accounting roles require public experience in addition to private. For me getting my CPA is what I feel will give me the opportunity to get a CFO title since almost all of the job openings require a CPA or it is preferred. Keep your head up. You are young in your career and a CPA really doesn’t become a factor for about 5-6yrs and you are in year 3. Good luck!February 24, 2020 at 11:47 am #2943780
Alex, you are correct that getting a CPA license does not instantly get you insane benefits. I think some people can get the wrong idea because the CPA is often times over-inflated as the end-all, be-all of career/educational moves in Accounting. I'm assuming you are in industry? Many companies just don't care if you have a CPA in industry, sadly. I mean, really though, why would they? Like others have said, it doesn't automatically translate into an employee being better at his/her job, which is all they care about. I am in industry as well, and while I did get a small raise (8%) after I passed my exams, it was mostly because I had been around for over a year and had basically held the accounting dept together while people quit and we were severely understaffed. Point is, companies want to see demonstrated value in order to be motivated to keep you around, and just simply having a license doesn't prove anything, other than you can study and pass a few tests. Where it will help you tremendously is down the road, especially when you start to apply for Manager/exec-level positions. It will open the door to opportunities you wouldn't otherwise have without the CPA.February 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm #2943912raheeParticipant
The CPA can't replace experience. The license can't automatically put you from staff to senior, and experience alone can't automatically put you from senior to manager. You need both.February 24, 2020 at 2:09 pm #2943960sharebear003Participant
Yeah my professor brings up all the time that getting the CPA will boost your earnings over your lifetime but that doesn't happen without taking on significantly greater amount of responsibilities and getting higher positions. Like, they're not just gonna raise your salary all of a sudden because you got your CPA if you are a staff or senior. And I doubt you will see much improvement if you stay at that level for your whole career…February 24, 2020 at 3:47 pm #2944086Biff TannenParticipant
Reading these posts bummed me out. I’m one section away from passing all sections, and I was planning on walking into my bosses office the day I got my license and ask for a promotion. I will have to reconsider my options now. I may have to look for a different job to get a nice salary boost.February 24, 2020 at 3:59 pm #2944107vbmerParticipant
@Biff Tannen, a more productive conversation could be to meet with your boss, let them know you just became a CPA, and discuss ways in which you can make bigger contributions to the company going forward. The $ will follow as you add more value.February 24, 2020 at 7:00 pm #2944275
Agree with vbmer – @Biff – just solely having the license (IMO) is not a valid reason to get promoted, unless you are in public. I don't think you shouldn't ask for a promotion, but I would have other, demonstrable, reasons at the ready for why you deserve it.February 24, 2020 at 8:14 pm #2944404Biff TannenParticipant
@lindsey what if I have a job offer on hand that offers me more money? Could I use that to negotiate a promotion or will it bite me in the ass?February 24, 2020 at 8:32 pm #2944488AnthonyParticipant
Time to bounce. This can be said to any type of job. Generally, job hopping every few years > trying to climb the ladder in the same company.
Maybe OP should do us a favor and come back after he/she retires and then tell us whether or not it was worth it.February 24, 2020 at 11:00 pm #2944758SilentParticipant
Unless your current employer told you that they will pay you more once you pass the exams, i would not expect that it will pay you off at the current company. You are not hired base on CPA and unless they have a need for one, there is no reason on why they should give you a big bump. If you want to get a nice bump, my suggestion is not start looking elsewhere. When you get hired base on your license the salary you will get will reflect the fact that you have your CPA license.February 25, 2020 at 4:08 am #2945004DocJParticipant
“planning on walking into my bosses office the day I got my license and ask for a promotion”
LOL, no offense but if I was your boss, I'd laugh my arse off at you.
Yes, we gotta promote and recognize and acknowledge talent and success. Anyone who can beat this damn exam and get the CPA clearly has some smarts. But if I'm running my own business (like that'll ever happen), I'm not just about to hand promotions or raises because ooohh you passed some tests. Your contributions to my company matter WAY more than some personal achievements. If I just gave raises and promotions that easily, way more people would do it and I'd probably go bankrupt.
At least that's how virtually every boss out there thinks. They frankly don't give a @#$% if you got all the education in the planet. In fact, many are gonna think “crap this guy wants more money, might have to replace him.” Also, if you were willing to work in your department for $X before, why rock that boat? You were already a good fit where you are, what's in it for them to move you elsewhere where you're unproven outside of some education and go through the trouble of finding a less suitable candidate to replace you? Hell, tell your boss you're licensed and they'll prob think “good, you can take on more at your current job” instead of “oh I need to move you up.”
Promotions happen for those they're sure will give them what they want, not just by virtue of you saying “I'm smart.”
Don't get me wrong, it IS total BS that we go through all this work just for a boss to be meh. That's why the CPA really is better for job-hopping rather than staying where you are. The day you get your license, the ONLY thing you should do is update your resume and get job hunting.February 25, 2020 at 11:43 am #2945445Jimmy DuganParticipant
What are you doing in your job now that you weren't doing before you got your CPA certificate? If the answer is nothing, why would you expect a substantial raise?February 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm #2945676
@Biff – you could, but be fully prepared for them to not give a rat's a$$. If you have a legitimate offer that you actually want to take, it can't hurt to negotiate. Otherwise, I wouldn't risk even bringing it up. Honestly, if you actually want to stay where you are and you like the company, work, etc., why not just ask for the promotion and cite all the reasons why you are valuable to them? Surely you have more to bring to the table than just the CPA license.February 25, 2020 at 3:18 pm #2945706NYSCPAParticipant
You talking about what? Bitching about some company that doesn't want to pay you for passing an exam? Raises are for closers only… Want your CPA to pay off? Specialize in tax, get some actual experience under your belt and start a side gig. Bill at $200-$300/hr. Build that side gig into a full time thing…. That's how a CPA license pays off. You can't play in the CPA game, go home and tell your wife your troubles.February 25, 2020 at 9:34 pm #2946294Club74Participant
There's a reason most job reqs are filled by CPAs. It's extremely difficult for recruiters to weed out resumes for initial screening cause they all look the same after reviewing hundreds. Having a CPA basically allows you to leapfrog most non-CPAs if experience is comparable. There are exceptions like inside connections/referrals but overall, you'll reap the benefits many times over in your career considering that you'll change jobs at some point. Last year during my 6 month job search I was runner up to a CPA who landed the job and was not even considered for another one because they had their eyes set on a CPA. A few of the interviewers even said “I thought we wanted a CPA for this job” right to me face. I thought to myself why the hell are you wasting my time then.February 28, 2020 at 6:39 pm #2949299Cobalt60Participant
What test do I need to pass to be CEO?
Getting a certification is part of the complex forward motion of your career. Work hard, contribute in a significant way, learn, become more proficient, mentor others, outperform, take on new challenges and on and on.
I always tracked my salary. I kept an excel chart with a linear regression of my annual pay points. I'm way cool like that. I just wanted to measure my own performance beyond the “hey your doing a great job today” kind of thing. Know where you are, where you are going and keep track of your progress.
I have occasionally stayed in a job too long because I liked what I was doing or liked my coworkers a lot. There is more to life than money, power and prestige. Not sure what that is, but there is something, maybe.
While I think it's unrealistic to expect a significant raise for the CPA it might be time for you to take a look at what other roles may adequately compensate your for your accomplishments. The CPA being one of many accomplishments.February 29, 2020 at 4:48 pm #2950133NoNameParticipant
A CPA license is like a capital investment. I did not expect any immediate monetary gain but longer term there will be a payback.
Also, there are no explicit guarantees for anything in life. Here are some reasons why I got my license.
1. To prove to myself and my family that I could do it.
2. I further solidify knowledge of accounting and finance topics during my studies.
3. To avoid being categorized or “lumped into a bucket” with people who have a non accounting background. For example, people who don't fully understand basic concepts like cash vs accrual accounting.
4. To avoid being exploited because you don't have flexibility or options. By having a CPA license you will have much more opportunity to move about.
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