Employees tend to wait for some catalyst before expressing the need for a pay raise. Unfortunately that ends up looking more like passive aggressive behavior (not attractive) than “logical” though the hope is that explaining to the boss you need a pay raise because – choose any: baby is coming, getting married, buying house – will appear logical.
It’s never logic.
You have needs – social, emotional, physical, mental, spiritual . . .
So trying to fit your need for more pay into the “logic” mode just doesn’t really cut it.
Instead of waiting, why not build the case on actual logic – like the value you provide to the company.
This is far more effective and if done well can’t be turned down. There is however one major potential problem. What if you are not actually generating value for the company . . . well, the following exercise will bring that to light so, don’t go there. Seriously.
First determine the key metrics for your company. How does your company make money? Who are the key customers? What are the most profitable products?
Are you facilitating these relationships? Are you supporting those who do? Are you making it easier for your company to generate more revenue? Are you the one generating more revenue? Get clear about your role and how directly you impact the bottom line. It is always easier to make a case when you directly generate the profit, but even a person in accounting (for non-accounting firms) can make a good case by observing how much contribution she adds to the process.
Let’s take the case of an accounting person at a construction firm – definitely not a “core” competency for a construction firm. So how does an accountant justify higher pay?
As an Accountant she will have access to the billings most like both those to vendors and those from clients. Doing her job of accounting is important and primary, but beyond that, she can extend herself to making suggestions about cost savings, ways to streamline vendor billing, (more importantly) client collections (nothing like getting cash in on time!), automated job site work-flow or wherever her imagination takes her. Any one of these ideas can drive additional profit to the bottom line.
But wait, those activities are already happening – how does that generate more profit?
Using the case of client collections, did you know thtat the faster you collect, the more likely your client is to pay in full? In tough economic climates, giving an incentive for a client to pay your bill first may mean you are the one who gets cash whereas the other folks your client owes get paid next or never. If you are totally on top of client billings you can make sure that your company receives the cash when it is needed, now.
And cash is always needed now.
Collecting quickly also means that even if your client will pay eventually, any short term loans you have on your books to complete the project must be carried as you wait for your client to pay. In other words, every day you wait for your client to pay is an interest payment out of your pocket.
It is also the case that every day you wait for a client to pay the less likely the client is to pay and the less the client will actually pay. And this isn’t just for delinquent clients. That’s true of good clients as well. You want to be the one they think of when they are cutting checks. You as the accountant can be that link.
So gather your data.
How many more clients paid on time because of a billing incentive you initiated? How much more did they pay on average? How much did you save in interest fees on your line of credit at the bank?
It all adds up to your ability to create additional profit dollars for your company.
So don’t wait for a personal event to determine what you want out of the company, build your value proposition from day 1. What are you giving that benefits the company. Then you will make your own market and may be able to get around the stratification that comes at many companies (level 1 accountant, level 2 accountant…), you might even get yourself your own title so you can set your pay independently. Nice!