5 Tools for Salary Comparison in Accounting and Finance

Tools for Salary Comparison

As the new dawns, you’ve decided to make one of your New Year’s resolutions increasing your salary — either at your current job or by finding a new one. This isn’t lunacy for an accounting or finance professional. Despite still-high general unemployment levels, unemployment rates for a number of financial occupations are below the national average. In fact, degreed financial professionals with specialized skills frequently receive multiple offers and counteroffers.

The issue, then, may not be whether you’re marketable (especially if you’re in an in-demand specialty like financial, business and business systems analysis) but rather knowing how high you can realistically push your salary desires. Here are five tools for salary comparison to help you benchmark where you stand in today’s marketplace:

1. Reading salary guides

Many industry organizations as well as state and federal agencies publish online salary ranges each year for a variety of positions. Of these, Robert Half's Salary Guide is a comprehensive and authoritative source for accounting and finance professionals. It includes salary ranges for more than 400 positions in corporate and public accounting, finance, banking, and financial services.

In addition, the Salary Guide gives you hints about how much leverage you have in your particular situation: For example, you can typically add 5 to 10 percent to the posted salaries if you have a graduate degree or professional certification.

2. Using online salary calculators

The Salary Center contains a Salary Calculator that allows you to fine-tune listed salary ranges to your geographical area. It provides quick, at-your-fingertips access to the latest salary information for your location.

3. Researching salaries on job boards

You can also make a salary comparison on job boards, such as monster.com and indeed.com. Besides allowing you to search for jobs, many of these boards also have search features to help you find the prevailing pay rate for the kind of work you do.

4. Talking to peers in your profession and industry

Asking someone to divulge his salary is clearly not appropriate at most networking events where you are attempting to establish new relationships. That’s true as well for people you’ve known for years. But it doesn’t mean you can’t gather some very useful information by talking with your contacts in generalities about salary levels in your profession and industry. Anecdotal evidence will round out your other research efforts.

5. Talking to a staffing professional

For personalized, targeted information about your salary potential, there’s nothing better than contacting a reputable staffing firm that specializes in accounting and finance. The staffing professionals from the best of these services know their markets and the latest salary trends. And if you’re job hunting, they can get you in touch with unadvertised openings through their large local and global networks.

For more information about salary and hiring trends, check out 5 Highlights from Our Accounting Hiring Trends Webinar.

Tags: Salary Guide