If you’re looking for a job as a CPA or a financial executive, you probably have a certain salary in mind, or at least a range you’re willing to look at. That makes a lot of sense, as we all have financial needs and better positions tend to pay more on an annual basis.
It’s important to remember, however, that salary isn’t everything. In fact, when you’ve been around as many happily employed financial professionals as we have, you learn that there are a few things that might actually be even more important than your paycheck.
Here are five of those factors we think you should consider:
- Company culture. Over time, even the highest salary isn’t going to make you feel content at your job if you don’t feel like you fit in. Even within the financial industry, there are a lot of different types of businesses, each with its own culture and personality. Do a little extra research when it comes to finding an organization and department that’s a good match for your style.
- Location. Obviously, where you live is going to have a huge impact on your life (and possibly your family and/or leisure activities). On the one hand, if you prefer to stay close to home, you might be pegged within a certain salary range for the position you’re filling in that area. On the other hand, if you like a bit of adventure and want to see someplace new, you could raise your earnings significantly by moving to a new locale.
- Opportunity for advancement. Sometimes, taking a slightly lower salary in the short term could be a smart move – financially and otherwise – if it leads to promotions and leadership opportunities in the future. Occasionally, a job will pay more because it’s essentially terminal; by looking beyond your next paycheck, you could put yourself in a position to advance relatively quickly.
- Work-life balance. In today’s work environment, there are some financial jobs that are highly flexible, while others call for professionals to be on call around the clock. Which suits your temperament and personal goals? Work-life balance is a bigger topic than ever, and one any job seeker should consider when looking at a position, regardless of the salary.
- Excitement. Do you like a steady flow of work, or a fast-paced environment with lots of new and interesting challenges? Finding a good match between your temperament and the excitement level of the position can be important, since you’ll earn more, be happier, and find lots of future opportunities when you’re in a financial job that fits your personality.
Don’t get us wrong: We’re certainly not saying that the salary you’ll earn as a financial professional isn’t important. But if you want a career path you’re going to love, and not just a job that pays the bills, it pays to remember that salary isn’t the only factor to consider… and not even necessarily the most important one.
About the Author: Dejan Ristic
In 2004, I founded Exceleris. In addition to managing all recruitment aspects of Exceleris, I have consulted (as CFO or in similar roles) with a number of technology companies (both publicly traded and venture funded start-ups)....