See What 2018 has in Store for Accounting and Finance Job Seekers

The year 2018 is the year to take charge of your career. The best way to do that is to ensure you understand the latest employment and compensation trends to help you reach your career goals. What’s the salary range in your market for the position you’re after? What skills and certifications are most in demand? What are employers looking for beyond technical skills? What’s the overall hiring landscape look like? What about employers you’ve worked for in the past?

The 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide is your go-to resource for hiring and salary data. Here’s some of what job seekers in accounting and finance fields can expect this year.

Top positions and their salaries

Employers are keen to bring in accounting and finance talent of all experience levels and specialties, but certain roles are particularly in demand. Take a look at 2018’s hottest roles and their midpoint salaries:

  • Controller, corporate accounting: $115,000
  • Controller, financial services: $125,000
  • Financial analyst, financial services: $75,000
  • Financial analyst, corporate accounting (1-3 years of experience): $65,000
  • General accountant, manager: $90,000
  • Internal auditor, financial services (3-5 years): $85,000
  • Internal auditor, corporate accounting (<1 year): $45,000
  • Medical biller: $33,250
  • Payroll manager/supervisor: $71,000
  • Senior accountant, corporate accounting: $75,000
  • Staff (general) accountant, corporate accounting (1-3 years): $60,000

Candidates with a strong skill set and specialized credentials could see higher salaries, as could those who join larger companies or land a position with highly complex duties.

In-demand skills and certifications

Each role in accounting and finance has its own set of technical and educational requirements, but employers today tend to seek the following when filling vacancies:

  • Advanced proficiency in Excel, still the king of spreadsheets
  • QuickBooks expertise, in small and midsize businesses
  • General knowledge of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, especially SAP, Oracle or Microsoft Dynamics GP
  • Knowledge of cloud-based systems, like NetSuite and Workday
  • Experience with data analytics and database management software, especially SQL (Structured Query Language)
  • Professional certifications such as CPA (certified public accountant), CFA (chartered financial analyst), CGMA (chartered global management Accountant), CIA (certified internal auditor) and CPP (certified payroll professional)
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills, including the ability to collaborate with colleagues outside of finance
  • Leadership, adaptability and flexibility
  • Multilingualism

The more developed your hard and soft skills are, the stronger your position is when negotiating employee perks and starting compensation.

2018 hiring trends

The good news for job seekers is that in the current market, outstanding accounting and finance candidates are hard to find. This means employers are stepping up their game to land top talent. Here are some of the recruitment strategies you can expect this year:

  • Higher wages — Managers realize they may have to sweeten their pay package, possibly including signing bonuses, if they want skilled financial professionals to join their company. Don’t be shy about negotiating the starting salary, incentives and bonus structure. Use our Salary Calculator to see the latest wage ranges for accounting and finance positions in your city.
  • Better perks — It doesn’t end with salary. For firms to land top talent, they need to up the ante in terms of extras. That’s why more employers are upgrading their staff’s work-life balance. As you sift through job postings, expect to see more mentions of flexible scheduling, casual dress codes, remote-work options, free or subsidized meals and increased focus on physical and mental wellness.
  • Emphasis on fit — Bad hires cost employers money, productivity, team morale and even key staff members. Hiring managers evaluate your personality traits — and seeing whether you’d mesh with your potential colleagues — before making any offers. In preparation for interviews, come up with anecdotes of your ability to collaborate on projects and play well with others.
  • Flexible hiring requirements — With a limited number of accounting and finance specialists looking for work, employers are readjusting their expectations and are more willing than ever to train for the skills they seek. This is excellent news for job seekers, especially those just starting their career, as you can now feel more confident reaching for certain roles even when you don’t tick all the boxes on a job description.
  • Warm receptions from past employers — There’s no need to feel awkward about applying to firms where you have previously worked. Managers today are often happy to rehire people who left on good terms, as these “boomerang” employees are known quantities and require minimal training to get up to speed. This year, resolve to reach out to former colleagues and supervisors to see what opportunities are available.

This can be the year you land a satisfying and better-paying job. For best results, arm yourself with even more of the latest hiring trends and salary information from our Salary Center.


This article is provided courtesy of Robert Half, parent company of Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources. Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm placing accounting and finance professionals on a temporary, full-time and project basis. For career and management advice, follow our blog at


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