Professional issues

December 1, 2012

  U.S. accounting and finance starting salaries will rise in 2013, according to a recently published salary guide.

Average starting salaries for corporate accounting employees in the United States are projected to increase between 2.7% and 4.5% compared with 2012, depending on the position and the size of the company, according to executive staffing firm Robert Half’s 2013 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance.

Public accounting average starting salaries are expected to increase 2.6% to 3.6% over last year.

The rise in average starting salaries in financial services has a wider range of 0.6% to 4.0%, with client service representatives and some other operations positions predicted to receive some of the lower increases.

The report describes a complicated job market in finance and accounting. Although firms are experiencing urgency for hiring in order to achieve growth objectives, some businesses are proceeding with caution to avoid overhiring, the report says.

Talent shortages for positions that include financial analysts and senior accountants are being reported, and many recruiters are running into difficulty finding job candidates with the skills they need for the positions that are open, the report says.

The CPA remains the credential most frequently sought and trusted by employers for finance and accounting positions, the report says, and CPAs with experience with a Big Four accounting firm are especially sought after. The Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation is also listed among valued certifications.

The guide is available at tinyurl.com/842zpbm.


  A new commission charged with increasing ethnic diversity in the accounting profession held its first quarterly meeting at the AICPA offices in Durham, N.C.

The formation of the National Commission on Diversity & Inclusion reflects a renewed determination within the profession to increase the retention and advancement of under-represented minorities.

Representatives from minority professional advocacy groups, CPA firms, state CPA societies, business and industry, government, and education are included in the commission membership. Ken Bouyer, Americas director of inclusiveness recruiting at Ernst & Young, is the commission’s chair.

The commission’s goal is to help the profession’s diversity better reflect that of the clients and communities CPAs serve.

While minorities make up 20% of professional staff positions at accounting firms, just 6% of partners are ethnically diverse, according to research contained in the AICPA report, 2011 Trends in the Supply of Accounting Graduates and the Demand for Public Accounting Recruits.

“The AICPA has done a tremendous amount of work to make the profession more inclusive, and we will continue to build upon those efforts,” Kim Drumgo, vice chair of the commission and director of diversity and inclusion at the AICPA, said in a statement. “The commission brings together a wide range of stakeholders to address the issue of diversity. This is a critical step toward ensuring the profession’s continued growth and ability to meet the needs of those we serve.”

The commission, which will have 15 members in addition to Bouyer and Drumgo, will work toward proposing strategies to increase the number of minorities in the accounting profession. The commission also will closely monitor the population trends and analyze their impact on the profession and CPAs’ clients.


  CPA mobility efforts met with continued success as California passed mobility legislation and a law took effect that makes it easier for CPAs from other jurisdictions to practice in the District of Columbia.

The California legislation allowing CPAs from outside California to represent clients in the state without being subject to additional license requirements takes effect on July 1, 2013. It will allow out-of-state CPAs to provide many services to their clients without obtaining a license or paying a fee to the California Board of Accountancy (CBA).

In D.C., the Accountant Mobility Act of 2011 took effect Oct. 1 and grants CPAs with valid licenses in U.S. states the ability to practice in the city without obtaining a reciprocal license.

Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have passed CPA mobility legislation. Efforts continue to achieve cross-border privileges for CPAs under a “no notice, no fee, no escape” regulatory regime in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Since 2007, the AICPA has worked with state CPA societies, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, individual state boards of accountancy, AICPA members, and firms in a national effort to update state licensing laws to permit cross-border mobility for CPAs.

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