Up Salaries: Accounting and Finance Are a ‘Candidate’s
weakening national economy, the accounting profession added almost
30,000 new jobs in the fourth quarter of 2007, according to the
accounting and finance staffing company Ajilon Finance (www.ajilonfinance.com).
The company forecasts strong continued demand for qualified financial
professionals in 2008. The South and West regions retain the most
encouraging job outlooks this year.
a regional permanent placement director for Ajilon Finance, shared
additional analysis about Ajilon Finance’s 2008 Salary Guide.
Noting that the Northeast is conspicuously unrepresented in a
CNNMoney.com list of cities with the best job prospects over the
next two years, McNamara said that the Northeast is still expected
to experience some job growth. (The top five cities cited by CNNMoney
.com were Orlando, Las Vegas, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Phoenix.)
He also noted that salaries are obviously higher in New York City
and the Northeast in general than the rest of the country. He
added that this is a challenge when trying to relocate accounting
and finance professionals to other regions because they often
don’t consider an area’s lower cost of living as a
significant factor to weigh against a lower salary. He also noted
that getting people from the West or Midwest to accept positions
in the East is difficult.
growth in the South and Southwest has also had an effect on accounting
and finance job markets. McNamara said that lifestyle is extremely
important to younger professionals, characterizing a “Generation
Y mentality” as one where work/life balance is highly valued.
He said that many Gen Yers don’t want to pay the price of
long hours and make other sacrifices at large firms that have
fewer partner slots to which a younger professional can aspire.
McNamara said some of his recruiters find it more challenging
to work with CPA firms because placing people into those openings
can be more difficult. He noted, however, that an increasing number
of firms are providing more work/life balance opportunities.
packages for accounting and finance professionals increasingly
include bonuses that in many cases are 5% to 25% of the base salary.
McNamara said that performance bonuses—often based on a
combination of the individual’s and the company’s
performance—started to become common about three years ago,
when bringing “A-plus” candidates to companies became
of the skills accounting and finance professionals need to have,
enterprise resource planning (ERP) experience is increasingly
important. McNamara noted PeopleSoft, Oracle, and SAP, as examples
of ERP applications where experience makes a candidate more desirable.
He said that some larger companies doing an ERP conversion will
specifically look for people with both an accounting and information
technology (IT) background—perhaps even an IT-related degree.
Such people are rare, however, and McNamara said they usually
command a premium in the job market. On the finance side, it’s
common for an MBA to be required as well as strong expertise in
Microsoft Excel, which many companies use instead of the budgeting
capabilities in ERP applications.
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