What Kind of Bonuses Are Common in the Field of Accounting?

As an aspiring accountant, it’s likely that earning potential is part of what drew you to the field. Even with a year or less of experience, cost accountants make $41,000 to $65,000 per year, while CPAs make $50,000 to $100,000 or more. Many accounting firms also offer opportunities for their employees to earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses for various achievements.

Starting Bonuses

Even when you’re just starting out, you could still earn bonuses. Some large, prestigious firms may pay hiring bonuses to exceptional candidates either upon signing or throughout their probationary period with the firm, Accounting Today reported. A clothing allowance, intended to help new accountants begin building a work-appropriate wardrobe, is another form of bonus bestowed on new employees.

You can also earn bonuses for taking the CPA exam. Some firms award these bonuses to employees for passing the test – or one of the four parts of the test. Others will pay for the exam itself and even test prep materials, according to Accounting Today.

Referral Bonuses

Some bonuses are less about what you do and more about who you bring in the door. Both bringing in new clients and attracting new talent can be invaluable to an accounting firm. Some firms give employee referral bonuses to workers who help bring in qualified new employees to fill vacancies. Accounting firms may also reward accountants who go above and beyond to get the firm new business with client referral bonuses.

Productivity Bonuses

Of course, there are also bonuses based on success. Productivity or metric-based bonuses reward employees for meeting or exceeding measurable goals, though those goals can vary widely from one accounting firm to another. Some bonuses are based on the performance of individual employees, while others reward the entire team or firm for specific achievements, Accounting Today reported.

In many ways, productivity bonuses are win-win scenarios. Of course, employees appreciate being valued and compensated for their hard work. Awarding bonuses for productivity can benefit employers as well, the Journal of Accountancy reported. Paying accountants for their performance better engages employees in using their time efficiently, increasing their workload, keeping costs under budget and upselling the firm’s services to existing clients. All of these achievements mean increased profits for the firm as a whole.

Not every firm will necessarily offer bonuses on a consistent basis, and even a firm that does provide bonus opportunities might not offer all forms of bonuses. As an accounting student, you can better increase your chances of earning hiring bonuses by making your résumé appealing to potential employers. This means doing well in school, growing your technical and soft skills through extracurricular activities and attaining real-world accounting experience through internships. If you’re interested in becoming a CPA, let potential employers know about your intentions and find out if the company offers CPA exam bonuses. Once you become an accountant, of course, working hard and smart can help you earn metric-based bonuses.