2014 Hiring Outlook: Five Accounting Jobs In Demand Across the Country

After years of hiring freezes and cutbacks, employers are finally looking to fill core accounting jobs, and those are now jobs in demand. Firms are playing catch up, filling long-empty positions and adding staff in managerial, senior and entry-level financial roles.

The market for these jobs is tighter than ever, and financial professionals with the right skill sets and in-demand certifications often find themselves with multiple offers. As a result, many employers are extending higher compensation, as well as signing bonuses, relocation assistance, continuing education reimbursement, flexible work options and additional time off, to the best candidates.

For the 2016 job outlook, read Accounting Salaries, Job Opportunities Projected to Keep Growing. And download the most recent Salary Guide.

Which positions are in particular demand? As we researched Robert Half's Salary Guide for 2014, certain accounting jobs rose to the top. Here’s a short list, along with the average salary for each position: 

1. Senior accountant

Due to the lack of hiring during and immediately after the recession, there’s a shortage of financial professionals at the senior level. In addition, many firms are preparing for the retirement of their most tenured employees and are looking to bolster their ranks with accountants who can soon move into managerial positions. Most of these jobs require at least three years of experience; the starting average salary ranges from $58,750-$77,000 at a midsize company.

2. Financial and business analyst 

Analysts were a hot commodity even during the recession, as companies leaned on them to develop smart investment and organizational strategies that would keep them afloat during the downturn. Now that firms are upgrading and expanding their business, these professionals are in even greater demand. The average salary for these professionals in a midsize company ranges from $73,500 to $97,000.

3. Staff accountant

Entry-level accountants are in demand in both private industry and public accounting firms. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree and the right credentials are looking at starting average salaries of $40,000-$51,500 at midsize companies. Some organizations, particularly the Big Four firms, are even recruiting potential hires while they’re still in college.

4. Controller

Businesses are seeking these accounting executives to help guide key strategic decisions from a financial standpoint, as growth opportunities start to arise. Midsize companies are offering an average salary from $103,250 to $142,750 for experienced candidates, who are often expected to have a certified public accounting (CPA) designation and a master’s in business administration (MBA). Firms are also looking for professionals with top-notch “soft skills” who can clearly communicate and collaborate with coworkers across the organization.

5. Anti-money laundering specialists

The ongoing implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III is fueling demand for professionals with experience detecting and preventing money laundering. Those with the certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS) credential are in the highest demand. The average salary for the position ranges from $68,500 to $92,000.

To find out what these (and other) finance and accounting positions are getting now in your region, check out our Salary Calculator. For a breakdown of top accounting jobs and industries across the country, take a look at the detailed maps at our Salary Center.