Counter offers – should I stay or should I go?

In today’s article we wanted to consider a situation that is not uncommon for our candidates to find themselves in, particularly in this fast-paced recruitment market.

Picture this….

You’ve approached a great accountancy recruiter (aka us.) You’ve explained that you’re feeling unrecognised and unrewarded in your current role and we’ve reached out to our vast database of recruiting firms to find several exciting opportunities.

You like the sound of one or more of these opportunities and attend for interview. It’s no surprise that the firm likes you too and perhaps after a second interview, you’re offered a brilliant salary, some great rewards and the position you feel you deserve.


You’re excited but nervous about handing in your notice. Perhaps you don’t want to leave your colleagues short-staffed or you’ve been made to feel that they have invested in your development and you therefore owe them and should stay. But, you’re feeling motivated by your new challenge so you write your letter and go to deliver it the next day.

But, what a lot of people often don’t expect, is for their firm to attempt to retain them with a counter offer. And when this happens you often don’t have long to make a decision.

So how do you handle a counter offer and what should you consider when making that call; should I stay or should I go?

The first thing we’d draw your attention to is your employers’ motivation. Try and view this conversation through their lens.

They are likely panicking about who will pick up your workload.

They will know that talented accountants are hard to come by and they’ll be dreading the workload and investment they’ll need to put in to ensure a successful recruitment campaign for your empty post.

If you’ve trained during your tenure and your employers haven’t addressed whether you’re being paid the market rate for your recently acquired skills and qualifications, they are also likely thinking about how much more they will have to offer to tempt in someone of your calibre.

So, they are staring at a period of additional work, additional cost and significant additional stress. So, of course it’s worth their while offering you significantly more.

But now think about how your relationship with them will change if you accept it. Both of you will take away new knowledge from this conversation and we’d like to argue that this knowledge will negatively impact your future at that firm. Let’s consider some examples….

You now know that your firm has the means to offer you more but it’s taken you jumping ship for them to put their hands in their pocket and pay you what you’re worth. Does that sit well with you? Can you still respect them as an employer?

Your employer now knows that your loyalty is not infinite. They may be weary of your ambition (which is not something you should ever be ashamed of) and offer opportunities that arise to others who they unfairly deem to be more loyal.

Think about your reason for wanting to explore new pastures – has the counter offer even addressed this concern? Can an old dog really learn new tricks and will the irritations you experience with your current firm really change?

And let’s remember that you’ve been feeling excited and ready for a new challenge, if you slip back into your old role, will you find yourself in a slump as you adjust to the fact that you’ve been reigned back in?

The situation of a counter offer is a tricky one but every time we’d recommend that, at the very least, you discuss your conundrum with your potential new employer and your trusted recruitment partner.

If you ever find yourself in this position, we’re always here to help. Sometimes having a listening ear from someone experienced in career counselling and who understands this niche industry of public practice, can be a huge help!

Contact us today for our expert advice and don’t forget that our Candidates Hub is jam packed full of supporting information to help you on your professional pathway to success in accountancy.



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