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Career Counselor
Fair Weather Ahead for Accounting and Finance Professionals

Jan/Feb 2008 Despite cooling trends and heavy rains this winter, the job market remains unseasonably warm for many accounting and finance professionals. With the right degrees and accreditations, the most skilled practitioners will continue to see opportunities.

According to the 2008 Salary Guide from Robert Half International, business growth coupled with compliance mandates and a shortage of skilled candidates continue to breed favorable conditions for those looking for opportunities in accounting and finance. Staff and senior accountants, internal auditors, payroll professionals, and credit and collections specialists are in particular demand. Professionals with designations such as the certified public accountant (CPA), certified credit executive (CCE) and certified internal auditor (CIA) are even more marketable and could receive base pay offers of up to 10 percent above the market standard.

Certifications can enhance a portfolio, and soft skills and computer skills still rank high among hiring managers. Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Excel, Hyperion and Microsoft Access are in demand, along with familiarity of industry-specific applications such as Timberline, Yardi and MRI. At the entry level, candidates who have internship experience and strong referrals are preferred.

Competition for the best candidates has made campus recruiting more intense. Companies seeking top-ranked graduates are promoting their internship programs with the hope of securing early employment commitments from students. For hard-working, entry-level professionals, signing bonuses are not uncommon, adding an even brighter prognosis to a career in the financial industry.

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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.

2008 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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