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H&R Block, Inc. Message Board

  • tomcypert tomcypert Aug 19, 2005 7:05 PM Flag

    Compensation

    I am considering going to work for HRB. I have been reading this message board for the past month or so and I have seen several comments about certification levels, confusing pay plans, etc. Exactly, how does HRB pay its employees? Are different salaries paid for different certification levels? Is compensation mostly based on commissions? I would appreciate any comments that might explain how HRB pays its employees.

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    • markm1199:

      I din't think ia_ea implied any such salary swing. He said it had a major impact. You putting words in his mouth that it would impact 15K to 45K, or up to 200% is ludicrous.

      Seeing as this impacts a persons earnings, certainly most people feel that even 5-10% is a major impact.

      As ddracral said "Thats why there is a major push to get your certification as high as possible". Most people would like to maximize their compensation.

    • Lets say you earned $30,000 under the old plan. Based on the same volume, you imply
      depending on certification level, this year your earning could vary from $15,000 to $45,000. I submit that your earnings would vary from let's say $29,000 to $31,000.

    • <Certification has as much impact as longevity, and for a Master Tax Advisor (EA)
      even more.>

      Just curiosity, but do you have any hard data - actual figures - with respect to this
      statement? It would be nice to have any sort
      of actual facts, rather than the usual HRB
      Mystery Package.

      Parenthetically, I went online this week to
      fill out the "Employment Application". Yeah,
      you guessed it - the usual HRB Mystery
      Package.

    • I too have been reading the posts and would like to hear comments/answers to your questions. I believe that I noticed it was up to each franchisee owner as to what they were wanting to pay hourly and what the bonus/commission percentage is?

    • <<Compensation
      by: tomcypert 08/19/05 07:05 pm
      Msg: 38240 of 38257

      I am considering going to work for HRB. I have been reading this message board for the past month or so and I have seen several comments about certification levels, confusing pay plans, etc. Exactly, how does HRB pay its employees? Are different salaries paid for different certification levels? Is compensation mostly based on commissions? I would appreciate any comments that might explain how HRB pays its employees.
      >>

      Tom,
      Here's the best answer I can give you.

      If compensation is an issue to you, you shouldn't work for HRB. If you see working for HRB as an opportunity to be educated and gain experience in this field, and be paid something at the same time, then you might want to work for the company.

      fidledeedeee

      • 2 Replies to fidledeedeee
      • If knowing and understanding how you will be paid as a Tax Pro at H & R Block is important in your decision making process you might better forget Block and check with Liberty and/or Jackson Hewitt. Many long tax pros don't understand the system either. It's Block's take what you get and be thankful or just leave philosophy.

      • "If compensation is an issue to you, you shouldn't work for HRB. If you see working for HRB as an opportunity to be educated and gain experience in this field, and be paid something at the same time, then you might want to work for the company." (fidledeedeee)
        --

        Good reply.

        Compensation at Block does improve the longer you work as a preparer. For experienced preparers, it is still quite good, imho. Especially if the preparer is both good and fast. (Of course, the compensation is not as good as it would have been if they hadn't started playing games with the pay formulas.)

        However, my opinions have changed over the past three or four years. Several years ago, if someone asked if he or she should work for Block as a preparer, my answer was always "if you are good with numbers and like working with people, it's a great job." I remember posts on this board from a first year preparer who wasn't coming back. I really could not understand why.

        Today I would have a hard time recommending that anyone starting out in the business work for Block as a preparer for any reasons other than the training and the experience.

        It's not so much the pay. That does improve with time. Rather, it's management's attitude. For example, there's the pracice of "discarding" preparers after peak. Unless the preparer happens to be working at a good franchise or under a good DM, management seems to regard him or her as a liability as soon as the pay rate starts to increase. The career path seems to be work your tail off, take as many courses as you can, and then get your hours cut. (Plus, be ready to spend part of your hours helping the less experienced preparers and handling office problems.) (Again, I'm sure this varies from district to district and office to office.)

        Management's words may sound great, but their actions show that the only thing that is really important to them is showing growth in the corporate eps. Concern about return quality has been replaced by "just don't cost the company any money with POM errors." Most of the "improvements" to TPS these days are generally in connection with marketing data or selling products. Selling is more important than tax prep in management's mind.

        There are some positive things happening. But the message from management is consistently "it's all about the money."

    • "I am considering going to work for HRB."

      Last year was my first year and here's my assessment of the situation. Block sustains it's business by recycling tax preparers before they reach a decent level of compensation.

      The first year I received $7.85 an hour and was limited to 30 hours a week. I staffed the office when there was going to be no business and was sent home when folks started coming in.

      The "old pro" who baby-sat me the first few weeks had nine years with the company and received the same pay.

      There was only one preparer in my office who made more than the minimum and he came in by appointment only, worked no dead time, and would take others appointments if needs be to stay busy.

      I only worked one year so my experience may not be typical. There were six other people in the office, four of which were first year. The other two were second year.

      Many days I'd leave with appointments in the book for the next day and come in the next day to see them rescheduled for others. I assume this was done by the manager but I'm not sure.

      I did one day a week at WalMart (Saturday) which was a total loss to me and the company and never worked a Sunday.

      To put this in perspective for you, the closest pizza shop to the office had a sign in the window all season for $10.80 for inside help and $12 for delivery persons.

      During the off season I got introduced to mystery shopping and I'm going to do that instead of taxes. The hours are more flexible, the pay is better, there are more deductions (mileage)and I can set my own hours. Do a web search for "secret shopper", "mystery shopper", "shadow shopper" if you are interested.

      There are no classes and no fees and it isn't seasonal.

      BTW, I have never worked with a greater group of people, with the single exception of the prima donna (or would that be Don) in our office. Very helpful, fun loving, hard working decent human beings. I made friends with two of them and have seen them in the off season.

      In all fairness, I was not promised anything by the company that I didn't get. I had just retired from a job making five times as much and required about half the effort so there was no way I could have been satisfied. I thought there was more to it than met the eye but if there is I still don't see it.

      Good Luck to you. I'm not sorry I worked that one season. I would have always wondered what I missed if I hadn't.

      • 1 Reply to april12004
      • April1, you put your finger on what it's like to work for Block in the first few years, and it's no wonder you don't want to play anymore. I recall hearing some stats that more than half of first-years don't come back, and close to the same for second-years. "Recycling tax preparers before they reach a decent level of compensation" is only part of the issue. In recent years, there's been a concerted effort on the other end to get rid of the pros who HAVE earned a decent level of compensation, because of their experience and knowledge.

        What is wrong with this picture? Hire zillions of new people to staff the offices during first peak, then dump on them and make them want to never come back. Do all kinds of tricky things to get rid of your experienced, higher paid people so they don't come back either. Hey Mark, who's going to serve the clients? Maybe you're counting on the "medium" tenured folks, not quite experienced enough to land a job at an accounting firm so they stick with Block. Ok, who's going to advise them when they start handling the complex stuff? Only the real old timers who are going to retire soon so they stay at Block, recalling how good the company has been to them in days gone by. What happens when they retire? With no one left who knows how to do a tax return, are you planning on outsourcing? The American public has already weighed in with their opinions about their personal financial info going overseas, and Congress is figuring out how to respond.

        This all sounds like corporate's phase-out plan for the tax division. It's really happening, and it's sad. Management has lost touch with the workings of its core business.

        April, you state, "Many days I'd leave with appointments in the book for the next day and come in the next day to see them rescheduled for others." Are you sure they were for you? In most offices, the appt book is set up with, say, 5 preparers across. As appts come in, they are recorded in any open column, under any preparer's name. This doesn't mean that appt is for that preparer; it's just a way to assure six 10:00 appts aren't made when there are only 5 pros on duty. When an appt is for a specific person, that pro's name is put next to the client's and circled, even though it doesn't happen to be in that pro's column.

        If those appts were really requests for you and someone moved them, you should have told the OM, DM, and the person who moved them. Too late now. HRB lost an enthusiastic first-year pro who could have contributed a lot to the business if given a chance to make it.

    • Tax preparers earn a commission, but are paid a straight hourly draw against that commission through the tax season. At the end of the tax season, the total commission is calculated, and compared to the amount paid out through the tax season. If the commission is more than what was paid out, you get a "bonus" check for the difference. If the commission is less than what was paid out, you don't pay it back, you just got paid more than you earned on commission.

      Beyond that, no one can tell you how the commission will be calculated because no one knows. There were several different commission plans last year, it's possible something will change this year. A lot of tax pros think that they keep changing the commission plan to reduce payroll costs.

    • <I would appreciate any comments that might
      explain how HRB pays its employees>

      So would I (we?), and I'm a high-level
      tax pro with a goodly number of years with
      the Company. Be assured, I'm being neither
      sarcastic nor facetious.

      It may be $7.50 or so per hr with a 20 or so
      per cent commission (commission minus accrued
      hourly pay at the end of tax season) for a
      first-year preparer. It may be a certain
      amount per return plus added "incentives" for
      Company "goals" plus your assigned or earned
      level of certification. It has been known to
      be unknown until you sign the contract in the
      first week of January (And some allege that
      at times it hasn't been known until some time
      after the date of the signing, but I've never
      had that experience.)

      I wish I could be more help to you. I wish I
      could be more help to myself. I'ld LOVE to
      have even a hint of what I could base my
      estimate of my HRB compensation on this coming
      tax season. The only thing I know right now
      is what a somewhat-local CPA has told me with
      regard to what I could receive per hour with
      respect to that Firm.

      I hope someone else can be more definitive, with precise and exact information, as to
      HRB's compensation plan for this coming tax
      season. If so, I'ld love to talk with that
      someone else so I'ld be sure of where I stand.

      • 1 Reply to taxplugger
      • " ... to have even a hint of what I could base my estimate of my HRB compensation on this coming tax season." (taxplugger)
        --

        The only good part about the compensation plan is that at least as far as the certification component goes, they are testing it fairly thoroughly and making needed changes along the way. The latest version of the certification plan seems much more reasonable that what was first introduced.

        There are two different problems in knowing how you will be paid:
        (1) Which compensation plan you will be under; and
        (2) The complexities of each individual pay plan.

        (1)Which compensation plan you will be under is determined primarily by whether or not you are in a test district. (Of course, the details of comp plans in franchise offices is set by the franchisee.)

        (2) Then there is the built-in complexities of the pay plan itself. Besides the basic commission, there are the retention factor, the certifications level factor, and other factors (e.g., the team bonus factor) yet to be determined. In addition, there is a component for selling xIRA's and POM.

        And all of this is subject to change between now and contract signing time.

 
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