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When it comes to competitive financial ambition, there's no field like the corporate consulting field. Sure Apple, Facebook, Amazon and the rest may be multibillion-dollar whales, but when it comes to individual riches, the odds are better at the Big Four: PwC, Deloitte, KPMG or EY. Each of these consulting behemoths boasts a cutthroat career ladder overstuffed with rivals willing to do whatever it takes to beat you out for a foothold on the next rung, but if you can make it through the mosh pit at the bottom, you can climb to a level of fabulous wealth.
Why Work at Deloitte?
Money's not the only reason to choose a career at Deloitte. As Management Consulted put it, "Deloitte was named the best place to launch a career by Business Week in 2007 and 2009." A Deloitte partner salary averages significantly higher than a PWC partner salary, a KPMG partner salary, or the accounting partner salary of any comparable firm.
If money doesn't motivate you, you won't be a good fit at Deloitte because its business is all about helping clients make more money. If you sign up, you'll be joining 193,000 other ambitious Deloitters worldwide.
What's a Partner Anyway?
A partner is someone who has made it through the various lower and middle job titles, from a start as a mere consultant to senior consultant, manager, senior manager and finally principal/director or partner. Partners don't merely offer their brains in consultations with clients. At a top firm like Deloitte, they direct entire teams or departments of specialists and associates and oversee annual budgets of billions of dollars. The pressure is intense, but the rewards are significant. The past 30 years have seen an increase in partners, which has led to an interesting stratification.
What Are the Two Types of Partners?
There are two types of Deloitte partners, and their compensation scales couldn't be more different.
The lower rung is the salaried partner or junior partner. These people have done well, and demand and expect promotions, but they've reached the top level of their given field. They're given the title of partner, but their compensation remains of the salary-plus-benefits type. Given the salaries are north of $1 million on average, that may not seem too bad until you compare it with the equity partner salary.
The equity partner or senior partner not only has a salary with benefits and a rich expense account but also receives a share of the firm and the firm's profits. Deloitte reached global revenues in excess of $38 billion annually in 2017. There are far fewer equity partners than salaried partners, which concentrates the wealth and makes sure that the direction of the company does not become too democratized.
What Is the Average Deloitte Partner Salary?
Auditors with an undergraduate degree just starting out at Deloitte can expect to earn $72,500 on average for each of their first three years with a one-time signing bonus of $12,000 and a possible performance bonus of up to 15 percent of salary. That's not tremendously impressive, particularly considering the number of 12-hour days you are expected to put in during that time. However, when you reach the status of partner, everything changes.
A newly minted MBA starts out at $147,000 with a $35,000 signing bonus and a performance bonus of up to 25 percent of the base – much more interesting numbers for just an extra two years of coursework.
From these starting points, you progress through a barrage of titles to reach the coveted partner status. A salaried partner at Deloitte made between $323,843 and $509,721 with an average salary of $407,690 in 2015. Partners in the Deloitte Audit division make between $381,000 and $414,000 per year according to Glassdoor.
How Much Does a Deloitte Equity Partner Make?
The $509,721 salary for a salaried partner should be considered the bottom for an equity partner. All of their numbers are unspecific, varying and larger because of the equity itself. A Deloitte equity partner or Deloitte director salary is a rung above a Deloitte salary partner salary, and then there's the equity to take into account.
The Economic Times quotes a Deloitte partner as saying, "In the equity partnership model, the math is simple. About 30 percent of total revenues goes toward salaries of team members, 20 to 30 percent of the total revenues to a partner, and the rest to the firm." So the amount an equity partner can make depends entirely on the performance of the firm. Equity partners have a say in the composition of the board, as they are shareholders.
Equity partners are expected to come up with capital to put into the firm. The amount can reach to up to 25 percent of their regular salary. The company matches the amount put into the pool, and the company uses the pool for investment and business development in that partner's particular field of responsibility. The net profit from this pool forms the basis for the equity partner's significant gains over a salaried employee and functions as a direct incentive for the partner to perform well.
For an ambitious, skilled and MBA-educated person who lives and breathes business, aiming for a Deloitte partnership may be the right choice. Give it 15 years of hard work and you, too, may sit atop a structure boasting almost 200,000 underlings, with billions of dollars at your disposal and millions pouring into your bank account.
- eFinancialCareers: PwC, Deloitte, KPMG or EY, Which Big Four Firm Pays the Most?
- The Economic Times: Why the Rise of Partners in 'Big Four' Accounting Firms Is not as Dazzling as You Might Think
- Management Consulted: 2016 Management Consulting Salaries – Undergraduate, MBA, Interns and More
- Management Consulted: Deloitte Consulting (S&O)
- Glassdoor: Deloitte Audit Partner Salaries
Lorraine Murphy has been writing on business, self-employment, and marketing since the turn of the 21st century. Her credits include Vanity Fair, the Guardian, Slate, Salon, Occupational Pursuit Magazine, the Daily Download, and Business in Vancouver. She has been a judge and mentor at Vancouver Startup Weekend multiple times, and is an in-demand keynote speaker.
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