Date posted: 1/12/2016 4 min read

How to negotiate a pay rise like a boss

Tim Lee, national communications manager at Lloyd Morgan, offers five key areas to focus on to negotiate your pay terms

In brief

  • Develop a personal strategy, demonstrate your value to your employer and offer innovative ideas
  • In pay negotiations in accounting and auditing roles, employers look at your future value
  • If money is short, try negotiating for additional benefits such as training or flexible work hours

How do I secure a pay rise at work when tough economic conditions across the globe have seen many teams in the financial profession shrink, and pay conditions slide?

These days you need to develop a personal strategy, demonstrate your value to your employer and come up with viable innovative ideas for the business, among other things.

Tim Lee, national communications manager at Lloyd Morgan, has identified five key areas for individuals to focus on and, unsurprisingly, it involves more than just meeting performance targets each month. 

“Think of it like the investment market,” Lee says. 

“A company may post a good profit but industry analysts want to see sound strategic growth plans before they’ll recommend the business as a buy option.  

“It’s the same with bosses — when it comes to pay increase considerations in accounting and auditing roles, employers don’t just look at how you’re performing now, they look at your future value and getting a bigger share of the pie — pay, a bonus or benefits — takes perseverance.”

You have to ask for it, but you’ve also got to work for it, he says.

How to negotiate your pay terms to match your true value:

1. Develop a personal strategy

To be successful, you have got to know where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. There’s plenty of strategy templates online for companies — adapt one to suit your own personal strategy. 

Be brave and run through this with your manager — they’ll be impressed with your commitment.

2. Prove your current worth

Track how the work you do adds to the bottom line and how you execute it in tandem with company values. Develop it with your manager or colleagues.

KPIs should pinpoint specific tasks that show how you support the sales, revenue or reporting processes or customer metrics.

3. Demonstrate your future value to the organisation

As part of your plan, work with your boss on KPIs that highlight the future value of your role and track your success against these.

4. Sharpen skills that really matter and will help the business financially

For example, research suggests that many accounting firms have reduced the size of teams. It’s a great opportunity to see what skills need back-filling and tune up on them. Boosting your own capabilities will ensure your value to the business.

As part of your plan, work with your boss on KPIs that highlight the future value of your role and track your success against these.
Tim Lee National communications manager at Lloyd Morgan

5. Surprise and please your manager

A good manager loves new ideas for clients and customers so identify areas that could do with a makeover, and just do it, or contribute your time and ideas. Think website, presentation documents, lead generation lists, or industry intelligence. Organise a ten-minute chat with your manager once a month to outline your ideas.

Most importantly, you need to be realistic. A pay rise may not be possible because there simply might not be money in the pot so try negotiating for additional benefits too, such as more training (right on trend at the moment), flexible work hours, or even ask for a mentor.

This article was first published in the February 2015 issue of Acuity magazine.