Strong Demand, Shortage of Skilled Accountants Lead to Rise in Compensation Levels


MENLO PARK, CA -- Business expansion and ongoing compliance requirements will drive the demand for skilled accounting and finance professionals and intensify recruitment challenges next year, according to the just-released 2007 Salary Guide from Robert Half International.  As a result, salaries for many specialties are on the rise, with a national average increase in base compensation of 3.8 percent projected for 2007.  Research shows that compliance professionals, internal auditors, financial analysts and public accountants are among those expected to see the greatest gains in base pay.

Robert Half International is the world’s first and largest specialized consulting and staffing services firm.  The company’s financial staffing divisions include Robert Half® Finance & Accounting, Accountemps® and Robert Half® Management Resources, for full-time, temporary and senior-level project professionals, respectively.  The 2007 Salary Guide is based on an analysis of the thousands of job placements managed by the company’s U.S. offices.

“Business growth and compliance-related issues are fueling demand for individuals with expertise in areas such as compliance, financial analysis and general accounting,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International.  “Because of the limited supply of skilled accounting and finance professionals, employers today are offering premium compensation to attract and retain top talent.”

Compliance and Internal Audit Salaries on the Rise in Corporate Accounting

Businesses, public companies in particular, are looking for professionals with knowledge of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reporting requirements to help maintain compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other regulatory requirements.  Chief compliance officers with large companies (more than $250 million in sales) can expect the largest percentage increase in base compensation of any position in 2007, with average starting salaries forecast to rise 14.4 percent, to between $132,500 and $181,250.  Internal audit managers in large companies will see base compensation in the range of $77,500 to $101,500, up 5.8 percent from 2006.

Public Accounting Outlook

An increasingly competitive hiring environment is prompting public accounting firms of all sizes to make recruiting a year-round priority in areas such as audit, corporate governance, tax and risk management.  In 2007, average starting salaries for senior manager and director positions at midsize firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales) are projected to climb 7.6 percent, to between $82,000 and $120,000 annually.  Entry-level professionals at small firms (up to $25 million in sales) can anticipate a 5.1 percent increase in average starting salaries, to the range of $38,000 to $44,000 per year.  To attract top performers, firms have raised salaries and signing bonuses for new recruits and existing staff, and options such as flexible scheduling, part-time work and telecommuting have become increasingly common.

Banking and Financial Services Outlook

Banking and financial services firms also are facing competition for talent.  Business analysts in this sector are expected to see a 6.5 percent increase in average starting salaries in 2007, to $46,750 to $60,500.  Private bankers will see base compensation rise to the range of $43,500 to $62,250, an increase of 6.3 percent from 2006.  Average starting salaries for trust accountants are projected to climb 3.4 percent, to between $39,750 and $52,000.

Other key findings reported in the 2007 Salary Guide:

  • Information technology audit managers at large companies will see average starting salaries of $85,500 to $114,500, up 5 percent from 2006 levels.
  • Bookkeepers can anticipate a 6.7 percent increase in base compensation, to the range of $30,250 to $37,000 annually.
  • Entry-level cost accountants at small companies (up to $25 million in sales) will see starting salaries rise 5.8 percent, to between $33,250 and $39,250 annually.
  • Corporate finance analysts are projected to see base compensation of $48,000 to $63,250 annually, a 7 percent increase over 2006.
  • Risk managers can expect a 6.7 percent increase in starting salary in 2007, to between $54,500 and $72,250.

Nationwide, demand for accounting and finance professionals is expected to be particularly strong in the financial services, manufacturing and commercial real estate sectors.  (All salaries listed are national averages.  However, hiring activity and compensation vary significantly by industry and geographic market.  A regional analysis of hiring trends and compensation variances for select U.S. markets is included in the Salary Guide.)

Information in the Salary Guide is based on the thousands of job searches, negotiations and placements managed each year by Robert Half International’s staffing and recruiting managers.  Continuing or ongoing salaries are not reported because many external factors -- such as seniority, work ethic, job performance and training -- impact the salaries of full-time professionals as work histories develop.  For decades, companies have consulted theSalary Guide from Robert Half International to determine appropriate compensation for all levels of accounting and finance professionals.  In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics references the guide in the preparation of its comprehensive Occupational Outlook Handbook.

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.



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