Accountants: Should You Accept That Counter Offer?

February 8, 2022 Stephanie Klemperer

accounting career

In the accounting industry, which is facing a critical talent shortage, it’s becoming very common for firms to present employees with counter offers when they resign. But if you’re one of those employees, should you accept one?

[Infographic] Should You Accept A Counter Offer?

Whether you’re seeking higher compensation, better benefits, or a more flexible work-life balance, it’s tempting to stay with ‘what you know’ if you can attain those goals with your current employer. However, this isn’t always the best decision for your accounting career. While a counter offer may address some of your immediate concerns, there can be unintended consequences for your future.

“If you accepted a new job offer, there were likely a few underlying issues or concerns that led you to start your job search in the first place,” says Laura Gutierrez, a Managing Director in our Accounting division. “When presented with a counter offer, remember what those are. If the employer wasn’t making a proactive effort to address them, chances are, nothing will change. In this competitive hiring market, so many firms are finding out of the box ways to make themselves a more attractive employer. You’ll have better luck making a fresh start.”

Faced with a counter offer? Before accepting one, consider the following effects it can have on your accounting career.

It may not really be the best offer

If you’re offered an additional bonus or a higher salary as part of your counter offer, there’s no guarantee it won’t affect other areas of your pay. The bonus may just be a one-time offer. Or if your yearly salary increases, this may diminish your bonus potential.

It can close future doors

Even if you can attain all your goals with your current employer, you still run another great risk: tarnishing your industry reputation. When you find yourself back in the job market (which many do), the hiring manager you rescinded your acceptance with will be less likely to make you another offer.

It can harm your reputation at work

Likewise, it can negatively affect your relationships with your colleagues. If team members start to treat you differently, this could decrease your level of productivity, impact your collaborative efforts, and eventually force you to consider leaving…again.

It can put you on the front lines for a layoff

When it comes time for downsizing, companies try to retain their most loyal and dedicated talent. If you’ve already given the impression that you’re willing to move on to something else, your employer may be inclined to choose you first.

It’s a short-term fix

When an employer counters, a higher salary is typically what’s offered. Don’t make the mistake of thinking this will solve all your problems. For example, if you were leaving in hopes of growth opportunities, new challenges, or a different company culture, a salary increase would only serve as a short-term fix for a long-term problem.

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