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Can Benefits Help Offset Slow Wage Growth?

Even if your company is in the middle of a salary freeze - as many companies are today -there may be a way to increase your “compensation”. For more than a decade, wage growth in the U.S. has been virtually non-existent according to the Economic Policy Institute. The most recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses shows that 2015 may be the year when wage increases could approach three percent. However, even at that level many employees are feeling as though they are running in sand rather than getting ahead.

One way to get around meager salary increases is to look at your benefits package. If approached well, you might be surprised what your employer is willing to do, even when salary hikes are not possible.

Start by looking at what others in your industry have in their benefits package and list all of the benefits you know your employer offers. Ask yourself, what has high value for you?

Paid Vacation Time - It may be easier to negotiate an extra five days of vacation than to bump your salary by two percent. Does the extra time off mean as much, or more, to you than a percent or two increase?

Flexible Hours – Telecommuting one day a week will save commuting costs and give you that commute time as a bonus. Or, you may be able to negotiate a four-day per week, 10 hours per day schedule, to give yourself a three-day weekend. The benefit in your personal life could help offset the lack of a salary increase.

Share Options – Look into stock options and share grants if you work for a publicly traded company. Can you negotiate a bonus each year based on the company’s performance and yours? Over time these benefits can make a big difference in your total compensation.

Professional Development – Asking for professional development reimbursement may help you move up the corporate ladder and qualify for those additional benefits. Negotiate reimbursement for courses that will ultimately benefit both you and the company, such as professional certification courses.

Understand that your employer may be constrained by the corporate budget even if he or she wants to reward you for exceptional performance. Approaching them with some alternatives to keep you committed to the firm may allow your manager to respond with a package that will be mutually appreciated. Go in to the discussion demonstrating your understanding of the company’s economics and in the spirit of offering some alternatives for consideration.

Can Benefits Help Offset Slow Wage Growth?

Inside Forensic Accounting

In the coming year there will be an unprecedented demand for Forensic Accountants. Combining their accounting knowledge with investigative skills in various litigation support and investigative accounting settings, Forensic Accountants are the “CSI” of the accounting world. They are employed by public accounting firms’ forensic accounting divisions; consulting firms specializing in risk consulting and forensic accounting services; or by lawyers, law enforcement agencies, insurance companies, government organizations, and financial institutions.

A bachelor’s or master’s degree in forensic accounting, accounting, finance or a related field is required for Forensic Accountants. Additional education in criminal justice or law enforcement is a plus. Many companies encourage obtaining the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and/or Chartered Accountant (CA) certifications.

Most forensic accounting positions require at least one to three years of accounting experience. Some job duties unique to forensic accountants include:

  • Research to trace funds and identify assets for recovery
  • Analysis of financial data
  • Accounting reports from financial findings
  • Data for litigation

Forensic accounting focuses on two main areas: litigation support and investigation. Litigation support involves the factual presentation of economic issues related to existing or pending litigation. In this role, the forensic accountant quantifies damages sustained by parties involved in legal disputes. If a dispute reaches the courtroom, the forensic accountant may testify as an expert witness.

Investigation is the act of determining whether criminal matters such as employee theft, securities fraud, identity theft, and insurance fraud have occurred. As part of the forensic accountant’s work, he or she may recommend actions to be taken to minimize future risk of loss. Investigation may also occur in civil matters. For example, the forensic accountant may search for hidden assets in divorce cases.

Forensic Accountants become involved in a wide range of investigations, spanning many different industries. The practical and in-depth analysis which a Forensic Accountant will bring to a case helps uncover trends that bring to light the relevant issues.

Revenue in forensic accounting in the United States is expected to grow $6.0 billion in 2017, according to IBISWorld. So, if you are looking for some excitement in your accounting career, consider Forensic Accounting.

Inside Forensic Accounting

The More Things Change …

Everyone knows that change will happen. I guess we just need to remember that, so we won’t be so shocked and upset when it happens.

It seems that everyone wants “things to change” at work. Many are all too happy to complain about issues, management, or projects assigned to them. Yet, once “change” is announced fear is the first reaction.

Let’s face it, change is going to happen, and most often it turns out to be a good thing! Change keeps us up-to-date, keeps business moving forward, and is usually a sign of progress. Honestly, we just have to deal with it.

It’s normal to fear the unknown. Acknowledge your fears. In fact, you may want to think about what your fear and actually write it down. Then, write some resulting actions you can implement. Is your fear that you’ll be laid-off with a corporate buy-out? Write down a plan of action. Coming up with an actual list of actions you will take should a lay-off occur will help waylay those fears. You are probably more prepared than realize.

Communication is key. Some aspects of the fear of change are just the “unknown”. Don’t get into office gossip and rumors. Talk with managers or a company spokesperson when appropriate; you may gain some information that helps you understand what will really be taking place.

Also, just sharing your fears with a trusted friend helps get it off your chest, and subsequently, off your mind.

At work, and in life, a great attitude makes everything better! This too shall pass and something great will come of it.

The More Things Change …