Rise in accounting salaries projected to accelerate

Senior and staff accountants are in high demand.

Salaries for U.S. accounting and finance positions will rise at a faster rate in 2017 as employers wrestle with a shortage of qualified professionals, according to a new salary guide.

Accounting and finance salaries will increase by 2.8% next year, according to the 2017 Salary Guide published by Accounting Principals, a recruiting firm. That's more than the previously forecasted rises of 2.4% for 2016 and 1.2% for 2015.

Counteroffers for job candidates are becoming more common and driving salaries higher, said Kathy Gans, a senior vice president for Accounting Principals. Millennial job seekers in general are seeking flexible schedules and a relaxed workplace culture, and employers that don't offer those perks may have to pay extra to fill positions, she said.

The acceleration of raises mirrors trends seen worldwide. Management accountants from across the globe surveyed by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants expect an average salary increase in the coming year of 6%, up from 5% in 2015, according to recently released data.

In the United States, the accounting and financial professionals who are most in demand include senior accountants, staff accountants, and financial analysts, Gans said. Professionals with certifications and credentials—especially the CPA—are highly coveted, she said.

In addition, a background in technology is beneficial for accounting and finance job candidates, and accountants with strong communication skills are in high demand.

The guide is based on national averages compiled through Accounting Principals' partnership with the career community CareerBliss. Some figures were revised to ensure local accuracy following a review of local market data by each office in Accounting Principals' nationwide branch network.

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