Salary Guide Research Suggests Bright Outlook for Consultant Jobs

By Robert Half September 16, 2016 at 1:56pm

Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide for the accounting and finance profession offers specialized consultants insight into where their skills and expertise might be needed in the coming year.

National average starting compensation for all accounting and finance occupations in the United States is expected to rise 3.7 percent in 2017.

Among the roles likely to see the biggest increases in base pay next year are positions that employers often staff as consultant jobs.

Research for the Salary Guide suggests that the current shortage of highly skilled accounting and finance job candidates will persist in the year ahead. Employers are increasing salaries and bonuses as a way to attract and retain top talent in this challenging hiring landscape. However, even though offering a more generous compensation package can provide employers a competitive advantage, it does not solve the basic supply-and-demand challenge many companies face when trying to fill open roles.

That’s why many employers make consultant jobs a part of the overall staffing management plan for their accounting and finance organization. Businesses large and small are finding that many positions don’t require a full-time hire and are better covered by interim team members, such as consultants.

They are also engaging expert consultants for special projects requiring hard-to-find subject-matter expertise and other critical initiatives of limited duration. Some also rely on interim management consultants during a lengthy hiring process.

Following is a quick overview of in-demand roles featured in the latest Salary Guide that could also be consultant jobs.

Chief financial officer

In recent years, many CFOs have seen their influence expand beyond the accounting and finance function. As the CFO’s role continues to increase in importance in many organizations, starting compensation for this role is growing, too, according to research for the Salary Guide.

To find out what skill and abilities are needed for this senior-level finance role, see this post.

Finance director

When fast-growing companies realize it’s time to take a more strategic approach with their finances, many decide to bring on a finance director to help them set long-term business goals.

Read more about the requirements for this challenging position here.

Senior accountant

Companies need senior accountants to handle everything from preparing budgets to reconciling account balances. The Salary Guide reports that many employers specifically seek senior accountants who have strong general accounting abilities, proficiency with Excel and excellent soft skills.

For more insight on the types of nontechnical abilities needed for today’s accounting and finance jobs, in general, check out this post.

Financial and business analysts

Organizations need financial analysts and similar specialists to help them identify opportunities to reduce expenses and increase sales and profits. Business analyst will be one of the hottest positions in the accounting and finance profession next year, too, according to the guide.

To determine if you have the skills needed to work in financial consulting, read this post.

Compliance expert

With regulatory compliance demands on the rise, many organizations, especially financial institutions, are bringing in compliance experts to offer objective evaluations of their operations. Consultants with compliance expertise can help recommend ways to improve compliance processes and keep related expenses in check. (And compliance costs are on the rise, according to this special report.)

Starting compensation for all compliance positions tracked in the Salary Guide is expected to increase by at least 3.8 percent in 2017. This includes starting pay for compliance officers.

Learn more about the role of the compliance officer here.

Internal auditor

The increasingly complex regulatory environment is also driving demand for internal auditors. Another factor: Companies are launching new revenue-generating initiatives and need internal auditors to help them assess and monitor the risks of these new ventures.

Internal auditors are also helping organizations adapt to emerging technologies, as this post explains.

Industry to watch in 2017: healthcare

The Salary Guide also examined trends in financial hiring specific to the healthcare industry — which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to become the largest employment sector over the next decade. Employers in healthcare are likely to add consultant jobs around mergers and acquisitions, healthcare information management system implementations, and revenue cycle improvement initiatives in the year ahead.

Interested in consulting jobs? Search our site for opportunities available in your area.

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Download the Salary Guide

Visit the Robert Half Management Resources Salary Center to get the latest Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance. The data in the guide can be useful to consultants who want to track general compensation trends for their industry, and learn about the attributes and credentials that today’s employers want most.

The Salary Center also provides information on regional hiring trends for 2017, from financial positions in demand to the fastest-growing industries in the United States.

Visit the Salary Center

Additional resources for consultants

Considering a Career in Consulting?: See this page for insight into why many highly skilled accounting and finance professionals choose to work in consultant jobs. You’ll also find links to other resources that can help you decide if consulting is the right career path for you.

Working with a Staffing Firm: 5 Benefits for Consultants: Working with a staffing firm can help set both experienced consultants or those just entering the field on a course for career success. This post outlines five reasons, in addition to earning attractive compensation, that consultants should consider working with a reputable staffing firm.

5 Consulting Resume Tips for New Consultants: Creating a compelling consulting resume is an important first step along what could become a rewarding new career. See this post for expert advice that can help you develop a consulting resume that will stand out to a potential client.

Video Interview Tips Every Consultant Needs to Know: Prepping for a video interview for a consulting job? The advice outlined in this post can help you make a great impression.

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