2015-16 Forecast: Hiring and Salary Trends for Finance/Accounting


As the 4th Quarter approaches, in the remainder of 2015 and as 2016 begins, the global economy is expected to grow, and there should be continued transformation and promise for the accounting and finance fields. Changes in the global market structure have increased the need for accounting and finance professionals.  And, as a result, the need for strong talent has caused industry salaries to go up.[1]  Indeed, in 2015, accounting and finance salaries have increased approximately 3.5% in relation to 2014.  Moreover, experts predict that there will be a 16% growth in accounting jobs by the year 2016 (Leatherbury).  For example, general accountants and internal auditors with little experience (about up to a year) should witness their base salaries grow by nearly 4 percent.

However, with this increased need and higher salaries, that does not necessarily mean it will be extremely easy for candidates to find jobs. Indeed, although there are more jobs available, often, they can be difficult to fill.  For example, according to recent anecdotal evidence, senior finance/accounting executives note that it is challenging to secure highly-qualified entry-level and mid-level finance and accounting candidates for professional level roles.

Why is that? After all, there are vast numbers of potential finance/accounting candidates – new graduates as well as experienced professionals. So, that statistic should not be right. But, indeed, it is. In the connected global economy, employers raise their expectations about candidate qualifications to maintain their competitive edge against peers. If you are a candidate for a finance or accounting position, in addition to basic skills, employers want candidates who can take on many roles and will stay loyal to the company for quite some time. Further, employers aim to hire highly-skilled overachievers.  In addition, employers want to hire candidates with excellent communications and soft skills, emotional intelligence, and specific technical abilities that often include working with Excel, SQL, IBM Cognos and MicroStrategy, and maybe Hyperion.

To further improve your chances of being hired, there are additional qualifications that improve your marketability.  If you have the opportunity to obtain additional licensure or certifications, it adds to your experience.  The highly-sought after licensure/certifications include:

-Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – This has always been the most desirable credential for accounting and finance posts as it can be applied to a variety of specializations. Such specializations are: tax, forensic accounting, audit, risk management, appraisals, and many more. (Dumon).[2]

-Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) – Having an insight into internal audits opens the possibilities to compliance professionals and internal auditors. It is extremely important for companies to possess internal audits, so holding a CIA will give you a special niche.

-Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

-Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

-Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

-Certified Management Accountant (CMA) – While there might be an overlap between a CMA and a CPA, Certified Management Accountants are favored for strategic assessment, financial analysis, budgeting and other roles. However, this is not as useful for public accountants (Dumon).

-Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)

-Master of Business Administration (MBA) – This is optimal for any analytical posts or a senior-level finance post.

These credentials indicate your area of specialty and your area of interest for your potential employers.  Being well-trained with specific subject matter skills will further help you stand out for specific market opportunities.

With these changes in the economy and the increased need for finance and accounting professionals, be sure to show your full capabilities to current and potential employers. Highlight your industry experience and show an engaging personality.  In doing so, you will be rewarded with your next dream job!

Good luck!!



[1] A few positions that are desirable for employers, as of 2015, include:

-Staff accountants earn approximately $46,220-60,882, with an average salary of $54,257.

-A payroll manager may earn $59,612-102,132, with an average salary of $80,433.

-Auditing directors earn between $94,803-180,574, with an average of $133,183.

-Data analysts earn $45,156 dollars-70,331, with an average of $58,325.

-A Compliance Manager will earn $75,567-95,467, with an average of $79,889.

[2]  A CPA has a reach into many aspects of accounting.  As always, as with experience with the Big Four, this certification can be essential for advancement in the accounting and finance world (Dumon).


Works Cited

Dumon, Marv. “Finding The Right Accounting Certification.” Investopedia. Investopedia, LLC, 19 Oct. 2008. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.

Leatherbury, Linda. “What Does a 16 Percent Increase in Accounting Job Openings by 2016 Mean for Students and Employers?” Kaplan University. Kaplan Higher Education, LLC, May 2014. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.

Prince, Russ Alan. “The Future Of The Accounting Industry In 2015.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 21 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 Aug. 2015.

Sundheim, Ken. “15 Traits Of The Ideal Employee.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 2 Apr. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2015.


Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at jacqueline.hill@lexacount.com or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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