What’s a Progression Plan? What’s a Career Ladder?
Before completing a Progression Plan, please read the following explanation of terms as well as
the Progression Plan Guidelines specific to Billings, which can be accessed at
www.msubillings.edu/humres or by contacting Patty Rukstad.
The terminology surrounding Progression Pay is a little confusing so here is an explanation of
what each term means. If you have any questions, please contact Patty before proceeding with
A Career Ladder is the overarching idea for where an employee could grow over time. The
ladder could have one rung, two rungs, four rungs…whatever fits your idea. You can set up a
long-term ladder or a short-term ladder, and whatever ladder you set up, the Progression Plan
you write for it does not have to include all rungs. In other words, you may decide that over three
years your department needs to move an employee from Admin I to Admin III. You can submit a
Progression Plan for Admin I to Admin II (which would be one rung) or you can submit the
entire plan with both rungs.
The Ladder Rungs are the significant jumps, increments, or actions that you will take to
progress to another level. These rungs are generally made up of several or many steps. For
instance, you may decide that one rung of the ladder will take you from fairly entry-level
accounting responsibilities wherein you pay the bills, fill out forms, and ready documents for
signature, to responsibilities that include tracking of and reconciling expenses to Banner,
reporting account status on a monthly basis, and making recommendations for purchases. To
complete this movement you would possibly include steps such as taking Excel training,
completing Banner Finance Training, moving your current bill-paying procedures from manual
to electronic, and setting up of spreadsheets so that the processes were more easily accessible to
others. Each of these steps may have a completion date, as would the entire rung. The entire rung
is expected to take a minimum of 6 months, and would, on completion, result in a 9% raise to
your base (effective the first payroll after the completion of the rung and the submitting of forms
to Human Resources).
The Progression Plan is the actual document you would prepare to identify and detail your plan
for progression from one rung to another. A Progression Plan could be written to reflect one
rung’s worth of movement or more. With each of the major rungs being worth 9% to your base, a
Progression Plan in total could reflect a 9% increase, an 18% increase, a 27% increase, etc. Keep
in mind however, that each rung is expected to reflect significant movement in KSA’s,
Responsibilities, and Job Performance, and each rung is expected to require a minimum of 6
Attached is the Progression Plan form that you will complete for your request. If you have any
questions, please contact Patty (x2117).
Job Series Progression Plan
Accounting Associate IV – Manager
Employee Name: Does employee meet all requirements of current
Position Number: Current base pay:
Current MAP Band/Title: Rate of pay after completion (+9%):
Union Affiliation: Expected date of completion:
Length of employment in current position: Index Code for additional base pay:
Accounting Associate IV Accounting Manager
Positions at this level are typically responsible Positions at this level are concerned with
for accounting and fiscal management of a practical management issues and application
mid-size department or for analytical in-depth of accounting theory within a diverse range of
management of specific fund types. For financial activity.
example, position would make decisions and Positions handle concepts that require in-
choices about budget transfers, changes in depth interpretation.
funding, overall movement of resources, and Positions serve as official or unofficial
long-range planning of finances assistant directors and will perform
Positions apply accounting theory to various professional work and utilize concepts and
accounting problems by using analytical, theories of finance, governmental regulations,
evaluative, or interpretive processes and operations, organizational theory and
independent decision-making to solve budgeting and managerial skills.
Positions are expected to refine internal
accounting structures and procedures as
needed to respond to needed changes. For
instance, the movement to GSBY Accounting
practices would be managed on a day-to-day
basis at this level. Or addressing required
changes to audit practices by amending the
overall policies and procedures related to that
requirement or function.
They may manage accounting sub-systems, or
a large portion of a single system or operation.
They will typically oversee other employees.
Positions report directly to Director or Manager.
Distinguishing Characteristics/Responsibilities: Distinguishing Characteristics/Responsibilities:
a. Prepare grant paper work, budgets, and a. Coordination, oversight and direction of
required reports for multiple grant agencies operational accounting activities for a multi-
b. Run reports from Banner that may require some level or multi-unit operation with a campus-
programming. wide or university-system wide impact.
c. Assist in the development of accounting or b. Develop solutions or make modifications to
financial procedures to assure compliance with diverse processes, policies, or procedures.
applicable rules and regulation. c. Perform advanced accounting functions in a
c. Interpret campus, state, and federal rules and centralized or major department accounting
regulations applicable to area of work control unit.
d. Perform checks and balances for levels I-III d. Assess or investigate departmental functions
accounting associates. for compliance.
e. Compliance officer between campus, state, and e. Manage, monitor, and direct departmental
federal rules and regulations by reviewing resources.
departmental or unit work activities f. Disseminate information to other (generally
f. Signatory for budget transfers lower-level) managers internally/externally for
g. Respond to formal audits implementation into their daily work
h. Obtain temporary funding for such things as processes
providing additional change funds for registration g. Enforce audit requirements
processes. h. Modify programs to meet extensive and
i. Prepare quarterly and annual analysis of changing reporting and budgeting regulatory
substantial amounts of financial data requirements.
j. Analyze financial and budget trends
k. Calculate various indirect cost for grants
l. Evaluate conflicting regulations (University,
State, and Federal) to determine which one
takes precedence for such things as travel and
purchasing of supplies with grant monies.
m. May monitor collection agency contracts &
statements for receipts and services charges
n. Manage loan cash flow so that the campus has
enough on hand for emergency loans but also
doesn’t have too much available and just sitting
there. This would include making the decision to
return the money to the funding source. Manage
or supervise account reporting functions for
federal, state and institutional loan funds
o. Calculate and analyze vacancy savings for
Position at this level must understand Position must have considerable knowledge
university, state, federal, and grant-related of management, accounting, and budgeting
accounting practices; budget processes; and theory and concepts and be able to see and
funding agencies’ policies and procedures. work toward the “big picture”.
Must possess ability to understand and impact Positions must have highly effective
the “big picture” and effectively monitor a communication skills, and the ability to
variety of accounts establish effective relationships with
Skill at overseeing employees to ensure that internal/external departments and agencies
rules and regulations and proper accounting for compliance issues.
procedures are being followed. Positions must understand organizational
theory and be able to direct large, significant
fiscal operations that will most likely impact a
large variety of individuals, departments, or
agencies outside their immediate work area.
(Define and explain the actual steps to be taken to progress to the desired level. Provide
expected dates of completion for each step, keeping in mind that the plan should require a
minimum of 6 months.)
Actions/Steps Expected date of
Employee’s Signature Title Date
Supervisor’s Signature Title Date
Dept Head’s Signature Title Date
Dean/Director/VP’s Signature Title Date
Human Resources Approval Title Date