Accounting and Financial Women's Alliance

Salary Guide Foresees a Cheery Future for Accounting and Finance Professionals

Submitted by AFWA Honorary Trustee, Accountemps, a Robert Half Company


at1As another year draws to a close, CEOs and managers across the U.S. are beginning to plan ahead. Which accounting and finance positions will be in demand? What skills will you need to compete with top candidates? What will the salary range look like for your dream job? The 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half covers all of this and more, including starting compensation and the overall hiring outlook for the new year. Read on for a sneak peek of what you can expect from the 2015 job market.

Job outlook for accountants

Boomers who have put off retirement during the financial crisis are now taking the plunge. This means managers are seeking to fill these newly vacated positions, as well as new ones created in response to a robust pace of business growth. While many organizations are expanding and adding new full-time positions, they’re also seeking interim and consulting professionals with highly specific skills in areas like auditing, financial analysis, compliance and business systems. Hiring is brisk for skilled candidates with senior-level experience, but companies are also actively recruiting entry-level workers whom they can train in-house to meet specific needs.

In-demand positions

According to the 2015 Salary Guide, managers are actively seeking accounting and finance professionals who can analyze information, come up with smart business strategies, identify trends, make solid merger and acquisition decisions, increase company efficiency and control costs. Auditors, business systems analysts, financial analysts and controllers are just a few of the most in-demand positions.

Additionally, a deep understanding of the constantly evolving regulatory environment will make you a top candidate for risk, compliance and internal auditing positions. Training in a specific area, such as healthcare or energy, will give you an edge on compliance jobs in those industries. In healthcare, managers are looking for accounting and finance professionals to help ensure businesses comply with changing tax provisions and coverage mandates under the Affordable Care Act. Because Congress delayed the revision of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10), businesses will be looking for additional finance staff with healthcare expertise to prepare for the conversion in 2015. The continued movement to electronic medical records is another factor in the increased interest in finance experts who specialize in healthcare.

Desirable skills and credentials

As businesses shift to take advantage of big data — a more analytical focus on data — CFOs are on the lookout for accounting and finance professionals with advanced Excel skills, experience with data analytics and advanced modeling techniques, knowledge of IBM Cognos and MicroStrategy, and proficiency with Hyperion and QuickBooks. If you’re looking for a position specializing in compliance, a deep understanding of consumer protection and anti-money laundering regulations is essential. Applying for a position at a global company? Knowledge of International Financial Reporting Standards and multilingual abilities will put you a step ahead of other candidates.

Earning an accounting or finance designation is another way to increase your standing in the eyes of potential employers. For most accounting and finance roles, the CPA (certified public accountant) continues to be the credential firms value most. If you’re interested in moving up to a senior-level role, an MBA (master of business administration) will boost your chances — and your salary. Other sought-after credentials include:

  • CFA (chartered financial analyst)
  • CGMA (chartered global management accountant)
  • CIA (certified internal auditor)
  • CISA (certified information systems auditor)
  • CMA (certified management accountant)
  • CPP (certified payroll professional)
  • PMP (project management professional)

Salary expectations

While all accounting and finance positions will see an increase in compensation in 2015, some will experience a greater leap than others. According to the Salary Guide, wages are on the rise particularly in risk and compliance, frequently sweetened with sign-on bonuses and other incentives. A compliance officer at a large firm in financial services will start at between $102,000 and $137,500 in 2015, up 4.1 percent from this year. An internal auditor with three to five years of experience landing a job at a new company can expect to earn between $67,000 and $88,750, an increase of 4.2 percent from 2014’s projection. Financial analysts in the financial services sector will see a 4.3 percent bump — from $52,500–$76,750 to $54,500–$80,250. Use our Salary Calculator to adjust these base salaries for your city.

Whether you’re looking to move into a senior role at your company or thinking about shifting your specialty, our 2015 Salary Guide can help you identify hiring trends and get a leg up on your competitors for the most in-demand finance and accounting positions.

Accountemps, a Robert Half company, is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The staffing firm has more than 340 locations worldwide. More resources, including online job search services and the Accountemps blog, can be found at