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Money Matters: Navigating Candidate Salary Negotiations

Navigating salary negotiations with accounting candidates can be a challenging and delicate process. As employers, it's important to strike a balance between offering competitive compensation and adhering to your firm's budget constraints.  

In a recent webinar, with an audience of 225, 50% of attendees had experienced candidates renegotiating the package offered during the hiring process.

Of those that had, 73% said at least half of their candidates initiated salary negotiations – with 26% saying that every candidate they had engaged with wanted to negotiate. Only 13% of firms said no candidates had tried. So be ready.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 11 essential tips to keep in mind during the negotiation process to help you successfully manage these discussions: 


1)   Do Your Research: Understand the market rates for similar accounting roles and experience levels in your area to provide competitive offers. 
2)   Be Transparent: Clearly communicate the salary range, benefits, and perks associated with the position from the beginning, reducing surprises during negotiations. 
3)   Evaluate Experience: Consider the candidate's relevant experience, qualifications, and skills when determining their potential salary. Depending on what testing you’ve completed you might be taking on someone who is at a lower level technically than you hoped – a good reason for a lower starting salary but maybe with a shorter review period. Emphasise the training you’ll be offering – the candidate gets career enhancement instead of cash 
4)   Highlight Growth Opportunities: Emphasize career advancement and professional development opportunities within your firm to showcase the long-term value of joining your team. 
5)   Be Flexible: Show a willingness to negotiate but instead of focussing only on salary (which is expensive) consider factors such as bonus opportunities, flexible work hours, paid time off or additional benefits like gym memberships – small status symbol benefits can be worth a lot more than cash. 
6)   Set a Limit in Advance: Establish a cap on your negotiation range to maintain fairness among employees and stay within your budget. 
7)   Listen and Understand: Pay attention to the candidate's concerns and reasons for negotiating, addressing them professionally and empathetically. 
8)   Stay Professional: Maintain a respectful and courteous tone throughout the negotiation process, avoiding any confrontations or hard feelings. 
9)   Prepare for Counteroffers: Anticipate potential counteroffers from candidates and be ready to justify your offer. The candidate has a right to understand. Equally, ask and expect the same from them 
10)   Reiterate Company Culture: Emphasize the positive aspects of your firm's culture, work environment, and values to make the position more appealing to the candidate. 

11)   Consider Future Growth: If the candidate is exceptional and has the potential to grow within your firm, consider offering a salary review after a probationary period or upon achieving specific milestones

As you move forward on your next hire, consider how your firm can improve its negotiation strategies. Consider what other factors can influence a candidate's decision to join your firm? How can your company culture contribute to making your offers more attractive? By addressing these questions and staying proactive, you'll be better equipped to navigate future salary negotiations and secure the best accounting professionals for your firm 


Want to see if Accountests will work for your firm? Click on the button for a FREE trial test - use it on a candidate or get one of your staff to give it a go and see what they think.  
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Giles Pearson  |  After 18 years as a partner with a large public accounting firm, Giles founded Accountests to help those recruiting accountants make better hiring decisions

Accountests  |  Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical skills, ability and personality tests designed by and for accountants and bookkeepers. 
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