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Career Counselor
Negotiating Perks: Can I Get an Order of Fries With That, Too?

October 2006 Entry-level accounting professionals are enjoying a strong job market and intense demand for their services. As a result, employers are extending generous employment offers in an effort to recruit and retain today's top candidates.

In addition to a solid staffing salary and healthcare, dental and vision benefits, you may be offered other enticing perks. Below are some examples and tips on how to assess these incentives:

  • Continuing education. Companies that support ongoing learning by providing tuition reimbursement or the flexibility needed to maintain professional designations signal they are committed to the development of their staff. If you are thinking of pursuing an industry-recognized certification or advanced degree, you may want to place increased emphasis and education-related incentives when discussing your compensation package with a prospective employer.

  • Bonuses. In a recent Accountemps survey, 46 percent of chief financial officers said they believe bonuses are the most effective tool in rewarding employees after major projects are completed. Bonuses have become increasingly common as employers attempt to enhance their recruitment and retention of skilled accounting professionals. Ask the hiring manager about the frequency of and requirements for these incentives.

  • Work/life balance. With a growing number of professionals trying to meet mounting personal obligations, such as child and elder care, it is a small surprise that 30 percent of chief financial officers surveyed on a separate Accountemps release feel flexible schedules are the perks employees value most. Other work/life options workers can ask about during the interview include complimentary gym memberships or telecommuting schedules. To facilitate a discussion on work/life balance, however, it is important to first assess your priorities before negotiating any requirements with your potential employer.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2006 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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