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What should an Accountant expect as a bonus?

What should an Accountant expect as a bonus?

by Geoff Balmer

Bonus

If you're wondering about performance bonuses for Accountants, you've come to the right place.

There are a lot of factors that go into a bonus scheme for Accountants, and these vary considerably from business to business. For starters, your organisation obviously needs to be successful. If your company isn’t seeing a solid return, then there’s likely no bonus money to go around.

If you aren’t working hard and making a positive contribution within the team, this can also affect whether or not you personally receive a bonus, as well as how much you get.

Ultimately, what you receive comes down to being with the right company, at the right time, and working really hard to deserve one. That being said, there is a rough industry guide around the level of bonuses for Accountants.

The details matter

Again, not everyone will be fortunate enough to receive a bonus. Smaller firms may not offer a bonus structure at all. If you’re in an entry-level position or only have a few years of experience, you’ll make most of your money from your salary but might be able to expect a smaller bonus between 1-2%, and 5% if you are really lucky. For those Accounting professionals who have been employed with the same company for some time, you may find you are given a larger slice of the pie as an additional reward for your loyalty.

Bonuses are rarely in the employment contract and they can change year on year depending on the performance of the business and management decisions. They are more often than not awarded based on both the company's and the individual's performance. If your performance is good or exceeds expectations and the company is doing well, you’ll likely get a better bonus.

It’s a worldwide game

Larger companies have customers all over the world and, as a result, rely on revenue globally to sustain operations and make a profit. This is worth mentioning because while your company may perform well here in Australia, it might struggle with its overseas operations, which could result in you losing a sizable chunk (or all) of your bonus.

If you’re trying to work out what your potential bonus looks like, it’s worth reviewing not just your performance and that of your local office, but of the company as a whole.

By the number

So, how much bonus can an Accountant realistically earn? Well, now that you have some baseline expectations, we can talk about the bonus percentages you'll typically see here in Australia. Although they do range significantly across industries, let’s break down the bonus figures we see most often across these 3 levels: 

  • Mid-level: (e.g. Financial Accountant, Commercial Finance Analyst) - 10%

  • Management: (e.g. Finance Manager, Financial Controller) - 10 - 20%

  • Executive: (e.g. CFO) - 20% and above, but there tends to be a lot of variation depending on the size, role, and complexity 

Again, this all depends on both individual and company performance, and don’t forget that a bonus isn’t a given across the board.

Unexpected circumstances play a role

All of the figures above are subject to variation and have changed during challenging times. Naturally, many companies were affected by Covid and didn’t have the means to pay bonuses in 2020 and may not in 2021 either.

Those organisations that had the means to able to offer bonuses to their team tended to give ad hoc bonuses to all staff and sometimes would also include an additional sweetener such as extra paid leave as an example. Companies had to get creative with what they had.

Summary

If you’re worried about your bonus this year and whether you will receive one, there are definitely some things you can do to increase your chances. Make sure your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, meet with your Manager regularly to give status updates, and communicate your hopes and expectations of a performance bonus this year.

We specialise in finding accounting jobs for both newcomers and seasoned industry professionals. If you’re looking for an accounting position that offers a competitive bonus structure, then contact us here