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new partner salary

#1 new partner salary
09/03/2008 12:08


I'm trying to get an idea of the kind of remuneration you can expect having just been promoted to partner level, or the equivalent.

I'd be interested to know the kind of salaries you could expect at MBBB and tier two, and how long you think it would take reasonably to get there to partner level.

Currently weighing up my long term options between an offer for corporate finance m&a at the big4, and attempting to find a top MC graduate offer.

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#2 RE: new partner salary
09/03/2008 12:25

teletubbies to partner (#1)

Partner compensation is more about profit sharing, which can be as high as 60-80% of total compensation when the business is doing very well.

So it is not easy to estimate that. You'd be a partner in about 2015-2020, huh? Think about what businesses are like at that time, ownership structure, etc..

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#3 RE: new partner salary
09/03/2008 13:00

partner to teletubbies (#2)

I understand the fact that it is about profit sharing and generally performance based, ie you eat what you kill. I am just trying to get an estimate of what say an engagement manager at Mckinsey can expect to get, and how long it took to get there. And from there, what the jump would be in salary (on average) when making partner.

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#4 RE: new partner salary
09/03/2008 20:51

mck to partner (#3)


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#5 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 11:17

MBB to mck (#4)

For a start an EM at McKinsey is not the same as a partner.

A McKinsey EM would be low 6 figures (that's 2-3 years in for a post-MBA person) a partner would make several times that, that's after ~7 years post-MBA.

But you are crazy if you join (say) McKinsey for what a partner would earn. Virtually everyone at MBB could earn more money (often with fewer hours) if they worked elsewhere (e.g., PE). Most people are therefore not maximizing for present salary, but for other things like the quality of the work and people (or exit opps).

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#6 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 11:58

Surprised to MBB (#5)

Wow. I had no idea an EM for such a supposedly top notch firm earnt so little. By low six figures, I assume you mean say £200K max? Wow. That's a lot of academics, hard work, stress, investment in expensive MBAs and long hours for what seems like a disproportionately low salary. Particularly when you consider what an equivalent grade bean counter would earn.

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#7 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 13:19

partner to Surprised (#6)

Talking about accountants huh? Say a new EM at mckinsey is 30, at 30 in one of the big 4 accounting firms how much would you be happy to be making at that age? Less than at mcK i would have thought!

how easy is it to make partner at a beancounting firm? and what sort of age is it reasonable to expect to be partner by?

I got the impression that you make partner a lot later in life in accountancy, and make less money. (talking big4 acc firms here)

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#8 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 13:28

MBB to partner (#7)

partner - you are right, it is more than would be made at a beancounting firm for the same experience

surprised - please re-read the last paragraph of my previous post

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#9 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 13:30

Surprised to partner (#7)

Ages of partners in consultancy and bean counting are about the same. Maybe even younger in bean counting actually.

I for one would be happy making less money at a bean counting firm, simply because I would have spent far less on an MBA, stress, long hours, 'on call' expectations etc.

Also have you heard how much a partner at say deloitte makes? It simply blows consultancy partners out of the water. We're talking high six digit numbers here, and in one or two cases, seven digit numbers.

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#10 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 13:36

Surprised to Surprised (#9)

Re: the point about quality of work and the people.. well, I agree the work is interesting and the people are first rate, but let's be honest... nobody in their right mind would endure the kind of gruelling hours or extreme pressure that a strat house gives you, simply because they find the work interesting. Yeah it's interesting *for work* but I'm sure as heck they ain't doing it as a hobby. And re: the people point, yeah they're generally good people, but good people aren't the exclusive domain of consultancy you know!

I'd say 99.9% of people in consultancy are in it for one reason and one reason only: £££. And exit opportunities are over-rated by the way: it may open doors, but you still have to actually get the job!

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#11 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 16:12

MBB to Surprised (#10)

In my experience of MBB, less than 20% of the people I've worked with are doing it for the money - they know they could have worked at GS, KKR, GLG etc...

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#12 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 16:39

MBB to MBB (#11)

PS - I'm not suggesting that people are 'right' to make this decision in sticking with MBB. It's horses-for-courses and many people do go off to Hedge Funds etc instead.

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#13 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 16:50

re---surprised to Surprised (#9)

Surprised- are you saying that an average accountancy partner (big4) earns more than an average partner at mckinsey?

any ballpark figures for mbbb partners?

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#14 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 17:25

Tony Restell ( to re---surprised (#13)

Surprised - I flatly don't believe that accounting pay is higher than consulting. It doesn't stack up. The Big 4 accounting firms used to sell their audit work as a loss-leader to get their foot in the door to sell the more lucrative Tax and Consulting assignments. Ergo consulting work is far more lucrative and can therefore pay higher rewards.

So logic tells me this can't be right.

Lots of friends who've gone into accounting and into consulting also tell me this isn't right.

Salary benchmarking also isn't supporting your argument...

Accountancy Age would be seen as the equivalent of Top-Consultant in the accounting space. Their salary checker shows a London-based Partner can expect to earn an average of £93,400 ; our own benchmarking survey of consulting salaries (<a href= target=_blank>PDF downloadable here</a>) shows that the average UK consulting Partner earns £167,600 which is a pretty significant difference.

In both sectors there would be an elite group of Partners at the very top firms who are earning considerably more than this - north of £500k per year. But if you take Big 4 accounting as an example there are relatively few Partners on the £3/4 million that sometimes gets touted in the press. The majority would be on only a fraction of this. Whereas Partner salaries in the consulting practices of the Big 4 start at £350k+

As MBB rightly says though, the money is only part of why people stay in the game - for many it's the challenge, variety, passion, etc. that the work offers. Not words you'd immediately see yourself using the in the context of an accounting career!

Tony Restell

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#15 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 18:07

anon to Tony Restell ( (#14)

How does that compare with Accenture new senior exec comps? I heard they changed the s.exec pay model in the last year or so.

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#16 RE: new partner salary
10/03/2008 19:25

re----tony to Tony Restell ( (#14)

tony- thanks for the insight, it's always great to get different points of view. I see what you are saying about the differential in salary. do you have a rough idea what a new corporate finance partner in the big4 could expect to earn?

Obviously I am on this board because consultancy interests me greatly. Accountancy has the advantage of a very safe career, and the possibility of high reward- but after how long?

Is the career track to partner faster in a consultancy (mbb) than in the big4 as a corporate financier?

What worries me about consultancy is the uncertainty of the job. It is not safe in the same way accountancy is, and if you lose your job as an accountant you have the ACA and are immediately re-employable.

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#17 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 12:01

DCF to re----tony (#16)

Tony, Tony, Tony...

You have the air of someone trying to convince himself.

Sure, the average accountancy partner may get 'only' £93,400 but this is probably more representative of Doyourtaxreturn & Co on the high street than the more appropriate comparison of the Big 4 and perhaps the second tier firms.

The rest of your arguments are also simplistic and flawed.

Audit work is not a 'loss leader' for more lucrative consulting work. Indeed, being the external auditor can often preclude or at least hinder the sale of consulting services nowadays. It is correct that fees per capita in audit are lower than in consulting but you fail to appreciate the significance of the different business models. At partner level in the Big 4 accounting firms, you do not get paid significantly less in the audit service line than in the others.

True, relatively few partners get the £3m+ salaries one sometimes hears quoted (probably only one or two, certainly no more than a handful in the Big 4 accounting firms) but the average partner remuneration IS well in excess of £700k and there ARE a huge number of partners - 600+ in this firm, or about 1 in 17 of the headcount. Without detracting from the talents of these many individuals, that is not really an "elite group at the very top firms". It's actually a sizeable proportion of the workforce the firms which are the biggest graduate recruiters in the UK, and (I understand) in the least competitive sector for graduate recruitment, in applications per place!

For what it's worth, I think partnership in the Big 4 is a more realistic prospect for most graduates than a similarly remunerated position in a 'pure' consulting firm - although I think you'd be mad to select your career on that basis.

Accountancy has the further advantage of being a profession - unlike consulting - and whilst grdauates leave the audit service lines in their droves as soon as they qualify, it's generally to practice their profession elsewhere rather than an implementation of their 'exit strategy' from their job.

As a final note, I'm not an accountant.

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#18 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 13:40

anon to DCF (#17)

Actually, I do not believe to your figures. At least Tony has some real facts, not belief. Moreover, well in excess of 700k is probably reserved to top Bankers..

With all the respect for accountants, I dont think that they get as much as a banker.

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#19 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 14:19

DCF to anon (#18)

Again this smacks of believing what you want to be believe rather than published (and audited!) fact.

Suggest you go check the annual report of an accounting firm of your choice, you twonk.

Alternatively, do the maths - these figures are applicable to all Big 4 firms. Each fee earner earns well in excess of £200k for the firm. The firm pays each fee earner about £55k, on average. There are a good number of such fee earners to every partner. Even those with sorely limited qualitative skills should be able to understand that even if overheads were rampant, then this would produce a profit of several hundred thousand pounds per partner.

As you clearly need one-to-one coaching in egg sucking, I shall point out that this means that accountancy partners get paid more than many bankers but less than the more successful ones. On the other hand, staff below partner grade generally get paid less than they would in banking.

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#20 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 14:34

Seen it in several places to anon (#18)

I agree completely...I have worked for two of the big-4 and I would be surprised if any of the partners are earning Tony's average. A lot of Directors make more than that. If you do the kind of basic maths it will tell you that the highly publicised average profits figures are right. I admit these are slightly skewed by the very high earners, but £500k+ can easily be achieved.

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#21 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 14:41

anon to DCF (#19)

From August 2005

"Deloitte partners saw their average pay increase from £621,000 in 2003 to £702,000 last year"

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#22 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 14:58

partner to anon (#21)

I wonder what the skew is like on those accountancy partner figures?

most will be earning under 700k, with a few top earners (john conolly at DT earning 4.5m) skewing the results. i reckon about 300k?

more to the point, how hard is it to become partner in the big4, in a reasonable timscale from graduation? ie ten years from graduation, 7 from qualification...?

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#23 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 15:13

anon to partner (#22)

I'd say 10 years is very optimistic. more like 15, but I'd imagine it's more dependant on your lack of a social life/family etc.

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#24 RE: new partner salary
11/03/2008 15:44

DCF to anon (#23)

10 years has been done but that requires a particular combination of factors, not all of which are entirely within one's control.

15 is fairly realistic but of course many will never make it no matter how long they wait - even if they do want it.

I don't think the skew on the figures is all that significant to be honest, or that the median would be wildly far from the quoted mean.

Sure, Deloitte's own love walrus trousers £4.5m or so as has been said and is very much 'primus inter pares' but after that there aren't all that many senior partners as a % of the 600+ to exert too much of a distortion. I believe that at a 'senior' level - i.e. head of something smaller than a service line / been there a while and well connected it's about £1.4m. Pure guessing now but I would reckon newly promoted partners get something like £200,000 and that it takes them a few years to get up to the £700,000 mark.

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