Rise In Compensation Levels Correlates With Demand For Accounting Talent

MENLO PARK, CA -- Heightened competition for accounting and finance professionals will lead to increases in base compensation next year, according to the just-released 2006 Salary Guide from Robert Half. Starting salaries in accounting and finance are projected to rise an average of 3.1 percent in 2006. Research shows that starting salaries for personnel involved with corporate governance initiatives -- such as internal auditors, information technology (IT) auditors and public accountants -- are expected to see the strongest growth.


Robert Half 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 2006 Salary Guide is based on an analysis of the thousands of job placements managed by the company's U.S. offices. “Organizations are actively recruiting accounting and finance staff to support business expansion initiatives and corporate governance efforts,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half. “To attract and retain skilled financial professionals, firms are reassessing their hiring practices and enhancing compensation packages for current staff.”


Auditing Remains Strong in Corporate Accounting

For the second consecutive year, corporate auditors can expect to see the strongest salary growth. IT auditors can expect the largest percentage increase in base compensation of any position in 2006, with average starting salaries forecast to rise 11.2 percent, to between $67,000 and $94,250 annually. Entry-level internal auditors at small companies (up to $25 million in sales) will see average starting salaries increase 9 percent, to $35,500 to $43,250 per year.


Public Accounting Outlook

Public accounting firms are raising salaries across the board as they compete with companies in private industry for top accounting staff. Average starting salaries for entry-level accounting professionals at small firms are projected to climb 6.5 percent, to between $35,500 and $42,500. Senior managers/directors at large firms ($250 million+ in sales) can anticipate a 4.2 percent increase in average starting salaries, to $85,500 to $130,000 annually. Senior accountants at midsize firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales) will see base compensation rise to $50,000 to $70,000 -- an increase of 8.8 percent from 2005.


Other key findings reported in the 2006 Salary Guide:

·        Tax managers at midsize companies will see average starting salaries of $57,750 to $74,000 -- up 4.6 percent over 2005 levels.

·        Bookkeepers can anticipate a 6.8 percent rise in base compensation in the year ahead.

·        Entry-level accountants at midsize companies will see starting salaries rise

4.1 percent, to $32,000 to $38,250 annually.

·        Mutual fund accountants can anticipate a 4.7 percent gain in base compensation, to the range of $38,000 to $51,250 annually.

·        Accounts receivable/accounts payable managers at small companies will see starting salaries climb 5.2 percent, to the range of $33,750 to $41,500.

Nationally, demand for accounting and finance professionals is expected to be particularly strong in the manufacturing, real estate and construction industries. (All salaries listed are national averages. However, hiring activity and compensation vary significantly by 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 the company’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 nationwide have consulted Robert Half's Salary Guide 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 has more than 330 locations throughout North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and offers online job search services at


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