4 Things You Need to Know Before Salary Negotiations Begin

Woman handing man the 2017 Salary Guide

Salary negotiations with accounting and finance professionals are more challenging for managers and employers than they’ve been in a long time. In today’s hiring climate, there’s a limited supply of talent and a high demand for skilled accounting employees, so candidates have more leverage.

If you’re looking to fill positions, you might feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to salary negotiations: You don’t want to let great applicants get away, but you have your budget to keep in mind. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are four strategies for salary negotiations to help make sure that you — as well as your new people — are satisfied:

1. Do your homework

2017 Salary Guide coverCandidates do their compensation research before salary negotiations, and you should, too. That way, you can be sure you’re making a competitive offer. Look over the average starting salaries — before benefits and perks — for more than 400 accounting and finance roles in Robert Half latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance. Then narrow down the information by city.

Do you know the top jobs and in-demand skills for accounting and finance professionals? Did you know that starting salary levels are expected to rise an average of 3.7 percent in 2017? When it’s time to talk money, you need to be ready.

Visit the Salary Center, where you'll be able to adjust salaries for accounting and finance jobs in your city with the Salary Calculator, and get your own copy of the Salary Guide.

Also watch this short video to learn more about our salary figures and how you can use the information in the guide in your efforts to bring in people.

2. Move quickly

In the war for talent, there’s not a minute to spare. If a candidate you’re interested in counters your offer with a higher amount, analyze and respond to the request quickly. Top applicants today typically weigh a number of options, so even a short delay could cause you to lose them.

Be sure to read: Thinking of Making a Counteroffer? 5 Reasons You Should Think Again.

3. Sweeten the pot with perks

Compensation is about more than just money. If you can’t match a prospective employee’s desired salary, try to entice them in other ways. Among the perks employees prize are extra vacation days, comprehensive benefits packages, flextime, the ability to work remotely, subsidized education and training, and professional development opportunities.

4. Know when to fold

Yes, you want to bring on the best of the best. However, if you’re offering the maximum salary and perks combo you can, and a candidate is still asking for more, it may be time to wish them luck in their search and move on.

There’s no reason both parties can’t leave salary negotiations happy. If you research compensation rates in your industry and area, move quickly to secure top candidates and avoid extending your budget too far, you’ll be well on your way to preparing the paperwork for your new employee.


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More advice for salary negotiation

Editor's note: This post was published in 2015 and was updated recently to reflect current information.