2005 Accounting and Finance Salary Guide Now Available

Starting salaries for accounting and finance professionals are expected to increase an average of 2.4 percent next year, according to the just-released 2005 Salary Guide from Robert Half International Inc.

Internal auditors and professionals focused on Sarbanes-Oxley and other corporate governance-related initiatives will see the greatest demand for their services and, as a result, the biggest increases in base compensation, research shows.

The 2005 Salary Guide is based on an analysis of the thousands of job orders managed by the company's U.S. offices.

"Compliance-related issues are fueling demand for individuals with expertise in internal auditing procedures and corporate governance regulations," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Accounting and finance professionals with skills in these areas may receive multiple employment offers in the current environment."

A Focus on Internal Auditors in Corporate Accounting

In corporate accounting, there is heightened demand for internal audit professionals, particularly within public companies. Internal audit managers at large companies (more than $250 million in annual sales) are expected to see a 12.5 percent increase in average starting salaries in 2005, to the range of $69,500 to $90,000 per year.

Internal auditors with one to three years of experience at midsized companies ($25 million to $250 million in annual sales) can expect the largest percentage increase in base compensation of any accounting and finance position, with average starting salaries projected to rise 16.8 percent, to $42,250 to $50,000 annually.

Public Accounting Outlook

Public accounting professionals also will see significant increases in average starting salaries in 2005 as accounting firms strive to meet clients' demand related to Sarbanes-Oxley compliance initiatives.

Managers at large firms can expect average starting salaries to rise to between $68,000 and $92,000, an increase of 10.2 percent. Professionals with one to three years of experience in midsized public accounting firms will see average starting salaries increase 11.8 percent, from $42,250 to $48,000 per year.

Average starting salaries for entry-level professionals at small public accounting firms (up to $25 million in annual sales) will rise to $34,000 to $39,250, an 11.4 percent increase.

Other key findings in the 2005 Salary Guide:

  • Senior accountants at large public accounting firms can expect to see average starting salaries increase 11.7 percent, to between $55,000 to $69,000 annually.
  • Bookkeepers can anticipate a 5.4 percent rise in base compensation, to the range of $26,250 to $32,750 per year.
  • Tax accounting managers and senior tax accountants at large companies will see average starting salary increases of 3.7 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively.
  • Senior cost accountants at large companies will experience a modest increase in average starting salaries of 1.8 percent, to between $49,500 and $63,750.

Demand for accounting and finance professionals is expected to remain strong in the healthcare and real estate industries.

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