As a job candidate who's been offered a position, even if you feel confident that the inevitable "money talk" with a potential employer will be a breeze, you still need to be prepared. Success with salary negotiation is largely dependent on the quality of research you do before holding the conversation.
Reviewing salary information as well as the demand for your position can give you solid points for arguing why you deserve a higher salary than what's been offered. Your professional achievements and career history are obviously influential in a salary decision, but having additional information about hiring and salary trends can add weight to your request.
When conducting research prior to a salary negotiation, it's key to find credible resources. There are many websites that contain outdated or otherwise inaccurate data. Here are a few tips to find reliable information:
Review Industry-Leading Salary Guides
Publications such as the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half provide up-to-date information on starting salary ranges for accounting professionals. It contains figures for various roles, levels of experience and specific information for the corporate accounting, public accounting and financial services sectors. The Salary Guide can also give you an inside look at the hiring environment and the accounting certifications employers want to see.
Look at Regional Trends
The Salary Guide features national averages, and you can use the Salary Calculator tool to limit your search to the region where you're located. While accounts receivable and accounts payable professionals, for example, may be in demand nationwide, there could be a larger concentration of job candidates in one city over another, possibly limiting your leverage in a salary negotiation.
Check Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Another reliable source for salary information is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS website provides the average salary per hour and year for many positions, the total number of jobs available, the job outlook and more. The BLS also has tools to compare similar positions so you can research salary information for those roles.
Speak With Professionals in Your Industry
Another way to get information for a salary negotiation is to talk with other accounting professionals in your network, especially those in your target region. By politely asking your contacts what employers typically pay, you can compare their information with your salary research and arrive at a range that seems reasonable.