As the financial world waited for a verdict in the Enron trial this week, such generous rises may seem a little perverse. But if Enron shows anything it shows the need for proper financial policing – by internal and external accountants, business managers and regulators. Getting the right people requires the right salaries and the right salary rises to ensure organisations can retain the right talent.
That’s one way of looking at it. The other is to say that most accountants would have received their last annual rises in January this year – before the full implications of Enron. Add to that the fact that the problems and profits warnings brought about by September 11 and the economic slowdown have only bitten in 2002, and you could be forgiven for concluding that the impact on the annual professional services pay round has yet to be felt. There is probably truth in both theories. But the accountancy industry is unlikely to hand out as many double-digit percentage point pay rises over the next year.