Accounting and finance professionals are in strong demand today, a trend that will continue into next year, according to the recently released “2007 Salary Guide from Robert Half International,” a specialized consulting and staffing services firm. The company has published its yearly salary data based on an analysis of the thousands of job placements managed by its U.S. offices.
High demand means higher salaries, the guide reports. Base salaries are projected to increase, on average, by 3.8 percent in 2007. Among those that will see the greatest gains in base pay are compliance professionals, internal auditors, financial analysts and public accountants.
“Finance and accounting professionals are in high demand for two reasons: business expansion and compliance initiatives,” says Andrea Dunn, division director for Robert Half Finance and Accounting in Columbus.
Smart Business spoke with Dunn about the details of the salary increases for accounting and finance employees, and what businesses can do to attract and retain these professionals.
What is happening with the finance and accounting talent pool?
Businesses, particularly public companies, are demanding more professionals with knowledge of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) report requirements to help maintain their compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other regulations. These professionals can expect the highest increases in salary in 2007.
The average starting salary for a chief compliance officer will rise 14.4 percent in 2007 that’s $132,500 to $181,250 a year. Those with internal auditing skills in large companies will see an increase in starting salaries of 5.8 percent over 2006 that’s between $77,500 and $101,500 a year.
What about entry-level positions? Are people for those positions in high demand as well?
Yes, there is also a high demand for staff positions. Our guide shows that entry-level accounting professionals at small firms can expect a 5.1 percent increase in average starting salaries that’s in a range of $38,000 to $44,000 per year. And all other positions in between, as well, can expect healthy increases in compensation.
What are the top areas that are experiencing the most acute shortage?
The top three are in internal audit and compliance, financial analysis and public accounting. Combined auditing principals and technology are particularly a very sought-after skill set at the moment. Information technology audit managers at large companies will see average starting salaries increase by 5 percent over 2006 levels that is an $85,500 to $114,500 annual salary.
What are companies doing to attract these accounting and finance professionals?
It is important that companies know how to price starting salaries in order to remain competitive and attract these professionals. So the first way to attract a top candidate is to know exactly what the going compensation rate is at the moment for a particular profession.
Companies are also offering signing bonuses for new recruits and also for the existing staff members. There are also other creative options such as offering flexible work schedules, part-time work, enhancing benefit packages and other perks, and telecommuting.
I suspect that while companies are offering more compensation, other steps could be taken to help retain talent. Companies need to find other creative ways to increase the satisfaction of their employees in order to keep them.
Are salaries similarly rising nationwide?
It is important to note that these numbers are averages and that compensation can vary region to region. You can be sure that salaries for a position on the East Coast won’t be the same as for the Midwest. But the demand regardless of region will continue to be high in 2007. Industry-wide, the demand will be particularly strong in financial services, manufacturing and commercial real estate sectors.
Is your salary guide available to the public?
Yes. Free copies are available from Robert Half International by visiting the Web site www.roberthalf.com or by phoning (800) 474-4253.
ANDREA DUNN is division director for Robert Half Finance and Accounting specializing in full-time placement. Robert Half International has more than 350 locations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services at www.rhi.com. Reach Dunn at (614) 221-9300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.