Accountants predicted 3% rise in starting salaries

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There’s more good news for those currently in accountancy or thinking about pursuing a career in accountancy.

The Robert Half salary guide 2016 is predicting that starting salaries for professional roles such as accountants and finance staff are set to rise by an overall average of 3% next year. To put that into perspective, the current inflation rate is -0.1%.

Supply vs demand

The report states that starting salaries will see an average increase of 2.2% across more than 100 positions in SMEs and large business. Fuelling the increase is the continued acceleration of demand for accounting professionals. There simply isn’t enough accounting talent to meet the demand, so companies are willing to pay more to attract young talent, keep them, and develop them.

Phil Sheridan, Managing Director of Robert Half UK says: “Businesses are actively seeking the skilled professionals they need to achieve their growth goals. With the growing supply and demand imbalance, salaries for specialised roles are expected to rise. Hard-to-fill roles are experiencing higher than average pay rises due to the increased competition for these candidates.”

Where to find the highest salaries

The areas with highest rises due to competition are risk and compliance in financial services, and IT roles, especially those in digital and IT security. Compliance is an area where employers find it particularly hard to find the skillsets and quality required, as it is an ever changing area with increasingly heavier regulation as a result of recent scandals and heightened scrutiny.

The technology sector is expected to drive future growth for the UK, and with the increasing amount of digital data being handled security is an area of key focus.

No sign of slow down

The Department of Labor and Statistics in the USA predicts employment of accountants and auditors will grow faster than average for all occupations through the year 2016 as accounting and auditing regulations become stricter and the global economy will continue to expand. There will be a continued increase in demand as large businesses strengthen, SMEs grow, and start-ups find their feet.

As we’ve discussed, accounting is one of the most stable job sectors. Whether businesses are in survival or growth mode, they need robust finance staff. If you’re starting out now you can expect competitive salaries for years to come, and as you move up through the ranks it only gets better.

Senior talent also has high demand, with senior level roles expected to increase by around 4%.  The nature of accounting has evolved and companies are looking for advisory, business-minded staff with a holistic understanding of financial practice to fill their senior roles, so competition is huge. The upward trend in salaries is showing no signs of slowing – demand for accountants can only continue in this time of post-recession recovery and growth. A good time to be starting out, or moving up as an accountant!

The latest AAT salary survey report revealed similar findings with the greatest increase being for those at middle manager level where the average salary has increased by 8% since 2013. All other levels show an increase of between 3 and 5%. For more information on this survey please see here. 

Kayleigh Ziolo is a freelance journalist and writer based in Ireland.

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