When you start out in finance or accounting, you may actually impede your own progress by not considering the total value of a role and looking solely at the base salary. A strategic sacrifice of salary today, at the early stages of your career, can pay huge dividends.
As always with business the key word is strategic. What should you be looking for in your total compensation package? While a gym membership or canteen might be nice, they won’t flex your experience so let’s stick to the three big things that can enhance your career in the long term.
SWOT to get experience
The best way to fulfil your plan is to have one. Identify your ideal role and research what your remuneration will be when you achieve that role. Do a critical SWOT analysis of your experience to date and compare it to the experience you need for your ideal role. With your weaknesses recognised you should then identify interim roles that will fill any gaps. Part of the value of the interim role is the progress it allows you towards your ultimate dream role and the pay that you will demand there. You should put a value on this when you consider the total compensation that the interim role provides. Then when you are in the interim role you should reap the advantage of every possible opportunity and project that you can to fill those gaps.
Get exam support
A massive benefit that you won’t see in your paycheque is exam support. Exam support can take many forms. It could be study and/or exam days off, exam, tuition or professional fees paid. Make sure to add this value to your calculations. A massive benefit that you won’t see in your pay cheque is exam support. Exam support can take many forms. It could be study and/or exam days off, exam, tuition or professional fees paid. Make sure to add this value to your calculations.
Find a mentor
Never underestimate the value of being taken under the wing of a good mentor. This exposes you to experience, learning and networks that you do not yet have. Your progress can be fast-tracked by the right exposure and opportunities. Make it work for you. Lots of roles will boast a one to one mentor, but are those mentors actually active? It is your responsibility to find out whether there is a good mentoring culture in the organisation you are going to join and if so to take advantage of everything your mentor has to offer.
Life today is financially challenging and you have to be able to pay for the basics with cold hard cash. However, once you have those covered, your comparison of roles should not rely solely on the basic salary. It may be that short term sacrifice gives you plenty of long term payback.