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Robert Half Salary Guide Predicts Continued Competition for Top Accounting Professionals in 2009

Oct/Nov 2008 (SmartPros) Despite an uncertain economy and a more competitive job market in many industries, there is ongoing demand for highly qualified accounting and finance professionals, according to the 2009 Salary Guide from Robert Half International. The recently released Salary Guide includes average starting salaries for more than 250 accounting and finance positions that can be adjusted for more than 70 markets across the United States.

Following is a snapshot of some of the guide’s key findings:

2009 Hiring Outlook
Overall, the Salary Guide shows a salary increase of 3.4 percent for finance and accounting professionals. Companies are showing the most interest in practitioners who can help their firms enhance efficiencies and have experience working in other countries and with other cultures. Those who are familiar with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and can speak multiple languages are especially marketable.

Following are three in-demand finance and accounting positions:

  • Tax accountant – New tax regulations and heightened emphasis on potential tax-derived cost savings have led to strong demand for tax accountants in both private industry and public accounting. A growing focus on international tax issues has also contributed to demand outpacing supply for tax accountants. The starting salaries for senior tax accountants at large companies (more than $250 million in sales) will range from $61,000-$77,500 in the coming year.
  • Financial analyst – Companies are looking for financial analysts to help them maximize profitability and identify cost-savings opportunities through better budgeting and forecasting, and improved financial management. The 2009 salary range for senior financial analysts at small companies (less than $25 million in sales) is forecast to be $50,250-$64,000.
  • Credit and collections specialists – The current credit crunch has made companies even more cognizant of the critical role of the credit and collections functions in managing credit risk and collecting from delinquent accounts. Organizations are hiring professionals who can reduce inefficiencies and enhance profitability. Credit and collections clerks at midsize firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales) are expected to see starting salaries of $29,250-$37,500 in 2009.

Soft skills highly valued
Companies are willing to enhance compensation packages to secure top-notch candidates who possess both strong technical knowledge and stellar soft (“people”) skills. In a Robert Half survey included in the Salary Guide, 53 percent of chief financial officers said they are willing to hire someone with fewer technical skills if the candidate had stronger soft skills. Given the weight now placed on interpersonal abilities, payroll professionals can increase their marketability by elevating and promoting their communication and leadership skills.

Project professionals in demand
If you’ve ever considered seeking temporary project work, now could be the time to explore that option. In both good times and bad, organizations turn to temporary employees who can help them cost-effectively handle workload peaks and provide specialized expertise that doesn’t exist internally. Concerned about making costly hiring mistakes, many companies also use these assignments as a way to evaluate project professionals firsthand before extending full-time offers.
To request a complementary copy of the Salary Guide, please visit


ACCOUNTEMPS is the world’s first and largest temporary staffing service specializing in the placement of accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. The company has more than 360 offices worldwide and offers online job search services at

2008 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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