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When Evaluating a Job Offer, Consider the Whole Package ... Not Just the Paycheck

Are you a CPA who’s been testing the employment waters and finding yourself receiving one or more job offers? Here’s why you should carefully evaluate the entire package.

November 15, 2007
Sponsored by Spherion Professional Services

by Brendan Courtney, senior vice president, Professional Services Group

Roughly two out of every three accounting and finance workers in the U.S. are confident in their ability to find a new job in the next year if they desired to do so, according to a recent Accounting and Finance Employment Report from Spherion Corp.

If you are one of the CPAs who choose to test the employment waters and soon find yourself receiving one or more job offers, it’s important to take the time to carefully evaluate things so you’re making a well-informed decision about whether to accept, reject or counter the offer. The last thing you want to do is make a hasty decision that you will live to regret.

Our advice to candidates is to consider the entire package that is included in a job offer and to weigh these components collectively in your mind. The package includes salary and bonus possibilities, but it also includes important factors such as benefits, work environment and lifestyle considerations. Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask the employer for some time to mull things over before responding to the offer.

Here are the primary factors to consider when evaluating a job offer:

  • Money

    Hey, money is an important consideration for everyone. Is the offer what you expected or feel you deserve? If your answer is no, then don’t accept the offer right away — nobody wants to be in a job where they realize they’re being underpaid right after they accepted an offer. Make sure that you are getting paid what you’re worth in the market and that you’ll be satisfied with the compensation. If the salary doesn’t meet your standards, consider negotiating a better number with the employer.

  • Benefits

    Sometimes, the benefits package in a job offer can be as important as what you get in your paycheck. If you’re unclear about the benefits that are offered, make sure to ask for additional information or clarification. Find out the details on health and life insurance coverage, vacation, sick time, disability and other benefits — and you should also ask how much of the benefits costs are provided by the company and how much you are expected to contribute.

  • Company Culture

    One of the great changes in the American workforce in recent years is that many of us with small children or elderly parents have been gradually receiving more flexibility in our schedules. What is the prospective employer’s attitude about flex schedules or working from home on occasion? It’s also important to feel comfortable in the environment where you would be working, so try to spend some time in the office and get a feel for the company culture.

  • Lifestyle

    When evaluating a job offer, be sure that you are absolutely clear on the hours and schedule you are going to be expected to keep. Also, confirm how much (if any) travel is involved. If the position requires you to put in more hours than you are used to working, you’ll need to do some serious contemplation about whether you will be able to commit to that schedule and maintain the lifestyle you desire. You should also factor in travel time to and from the new office location; is the new commute going to leave you with more time for the personal things you like to do or will it take away from the time you have available now?

It’s a good time to be a CPA, and the confidence expressed by accounting and finance workers in the recent Spherion survey is soundly rooted in a very favorable employment outlook. If you choose to explore new career opportunities and find yourself faced with a job offer, it’s important to conduct an unbiased evaluation of the offer so that you are truly looking at the entire package and not just the dollars on the paycheck.

In the end, though, everyone has a different set of personal circumstances and what might be best for one CPA is not necessarily ideal for another one. The best advice is to listen to your gut and then make the best decision for you at that moment in time. If the first offer doesn’t work out, the next one might be the perfect fit for you.

For more information visit Spherion Professional Services.

Brendan A.J. Courtney, senior vice president and group executive, Professional Services Group, Spherion Corporation. Brendan Courtney serves as senior vice president and group executive of professional services for Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN).