How to Create a Bonus Scheme Specifically for an Accounting Firm

A properly constructed bonus scheme which is clearly linked to performance can be an excellent way of motivating your accountants and managers within your practice – it can contribute to increased customer satisfaction/loyalty and profitability.

If you do decide to implement a bonus scheme within your firm, it is important that it is properly implemented if you are to gain your return on investment. To be properly implemented, it must be linked to performance, e.g. employees must only be paid if they perform in a way that increases the profitability of the practice. The bonus scheme will then serve to reinforce the behaviours in your team that will deliver competitive advantage.

First Steps

A good starting point for introducing a bonus scheme is to either hire a Reward Consultant who can help you to implement the system or buy a bonus scheme template from an online vendor and adapt it to your needs. Alternately, you can devise your own scheme from scratch, but this is not advised..

Objective Based Bonus Scheme

Whichever method you adopt it is vital that your bonus scheme is objective based. What does this mean? It means that the payment of a bonus is linked to how well an employee performs according to their assigned objectives.

For example, if an employee only partially meets their objectives, e.g. maybe 50% on an aggregated basis, they would only receive 50% of their allocated bonus pot. If they meet 75% of their objectives on an aggregated basis, then they would receive 75% of their allocated bonus put and so on..

What kind of objectives?

Typically, the kind of objectives, you would expect to see in an accounting firm might be related to

  • Levels of accuracy/correction time required
  • Speed
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Efficiency

How Big Should the Employee’s Allocated Bonus Pot Be?

This can depend on the level of role. This can range from 5% to 25% of salary for non partner level staff. The way to assess the correct bonus level for your business is to benchmark pay and bonus levels for staff in your sector and locality. The best way to do this is to purchase a survey from a Reward consultancy. However, you may find that many accountancy recruitment firms publish their own surveys or may be able to give you an indication of bonus levels within your sector.