Senior Accountants in Demand, Salaries Rising

Senior Accountants in Demand

Senior accountants are in demand. In fact, the 2015 Salary Guide from Robert Half reports senior accountant is one of the most sought-after positions. So, if you're looking to make a career move or this is a consulting career path you’ve been mentally kindling, it might be time to fan those flames.

But first, you should know what to expect, as well as what will be expected of you.

Expanding opportunities

There are many opportunities for an outstanding senior accountant. Even when companies don't have immediate job openings, it's not uncommon for them to create new positions to make room for highly skilled professionals.

This is especially true for experienced accountants who combine strong technical and nontechnical skills with industry-specific knowledge and regulatory compliance expertise. A professional designation, such as the certified public accountant (CPA), can also help candidates set themselves apart.

Rising salaries

As the need for these professionals has increased, so has the senior accountant salary. Compensation varies depending on the size of the firm and your area of expertise, but the 2015 Salary Guide indicates senior accountants in corporate accounting can expect to see gains in base pay above the average 3.5 percent increase for accounting and finance positions. Here's a summary of starting salary projections for senior accountants in 2015:

  • General accountant
    Large companies ($250+ million in sales): $68,750 to $87,750
    Midsize companies ($25 million to $250 million in sales): $61,250 to $79,750
    Small companies (up to $25 million in sales): $57,500 to $70,000
  • Cost accountant
    Large companies: $69,750 to $91,500
    Midsize companies: $64,000 to $80,500
  • Tax accountant
    Large companies: $76,000 to $96,000
    Midsize companies: $64,000 to $85,750

(These figures are national averages and can be localized with the Robert Half Salary Calculator.)

Growing roles

The senior accountant's role has expanded to encompass areas such as business analytics, strategic advisory and IT. As technology and big data more prominently affect organizations, employers seek job candidates with expertise in traditional and nontraditional realms, including:

  • Excel and QuickBooks
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
  • Advanced modeling techniques and SQL
  • Business intelligence software (for example, IBM Cognos and MicroStrategy)
  • Regulatory compliance

You’ll need to demonstrate stellar soft skills, too. Employers want professionals with exemplary verbal and written communication abilities, which play a vital role in conveying the results of financial information and data analysis, along with the subsequent recommendations. Additionally, as senior accountants work with business units throughout their companies, they must be keen collaborators with a team mentality.

For additional insights on hiring and compensation trends, download the 2015 Salary Guide.