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 you — as well as your new people — are satisfied:
1. Do your homework
Candidates 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.
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.
Thinking of making a counteroffer? Read these reasons to 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 most 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’ve mastered the art of salary negotiation, offering the maximum compensation 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.
Editor's note: This post was published in 2015 and was updated recently to reflect current information.