Monday Management Minute: How Competitive is That Accountant Salary You’re Offering?

How Competitive is That Accountant Salary You’re Offering?

As the economy continues to recover, many employers are bringing in new accounting talent to address growth goals and ease the heavy workloads of current staff. However, some are under the impression that because the nation is still recovering, there’s a large talent reservoir from which to draw.

For the most highly skilled accountants, this is not the case. In fact, the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half reports that 68 percent of CFOs polled note it’s challenging to find skilled talent. Employers need to understand where this talent shortage comes from to make sure they secure top-notch accounting employees. They may also need to step up compensation levels and retention efforts. 

A Matter of Supply and Demand

The best accounting and finance professionals are in limited supply these days. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that demand for accountants and auditors has driven the unemployment rate for those fields down to 3.1 percent, more than two points below the national unemployment average. Another issue to consider is the aging baby-boomer generation. The AARP notes that 8,000 baby boomers per day will reach retirement age in the coming years, which will further deplete employers’ numbers of seasoned staff members. So, while employers may have positions available, it’s going to be more difficult to staff them. 

Meeting Demand Through Compensation

As demand for accounting professionals increases, those in this role are seeing higher compensation. In fact, the 2015 Salary Guide predicts accounting and finance salaries will increase across the board. To land skilled professionals in this high-demand environment, employers need to make themselves aware of what the competition is offering. To do this you can: 

  • Search local job boards to obtain information on the average accountant salary.

  • Use the detailed salary breakdown for individual positions in the 2015 Salary Guide.

  • Research current hiring trends.

  • Examine the going rates for specific positions in your region with our Salary Calculator.

This not only goes for hiring new employees, but also for keeping current staff from jumping on new offers. Because the job market is so favorable for accounting professionals, they may be tempted to explore other offers to find a higher accountant salary. The favorable waters for finance professionals coupled with loss of experienced staff as boomers retire further underscores the fact that retention is not an issue that should be taken lightly. If your team’s current compensation doesn’t align with the numbers you find in your research, you may want to take the time to reevaluate the salaries of key players. 

Employers should keep in mind that salary is only one facet of compensation. To maintain a competitive edge, consider offering employees benefits and perks, such as the ability to work remotely

In the long run, when you understand what’s driving the demand for skilled talent and subsequently offer competitive compensation, you’ll stand a better chance of attracting and landing top-notch accounting and finance talent. 

Does the accountant salary your firm offers stand up to the competition? Find out with the 2015 Salary Guide.