• Salaries

    Starting Salaries for Accounting Positions Keep Going Up

    By | August 31, 2016

    If you're a college student studying accounting, prepare your gloat face. Starting salaries for accounting and finance positions are expected to go up 3%-4.3% next year according to Robert Half's new salary guide.

    This increase is slightly down from last year, but the Bob Half people say the competition for able-bodied number crunchers is still intense:

    The prediction trails the unusually high forecast for 2016, when the guide said starting salaries in accounting and finance would rise 4.0% to 5.3%, depending on the position. But the magnitude of the projected increase for 2017 doesn’t indicate a decrease in competitiveness in the job market, said Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources.

    “We’re not seeing any slowdown by any means,” Hird said in an interview. “And, if anything, we’re seeing companies flex their muscles a bit more as it relates to the negotiation process and recognizing that they have to do things differently.”

    Being flexible on pay is one thing, however, the hiring process itself is quite another:

    Accounting employers, meanwhile, are most successful recruiting if they embrace a number of strategies, Hird said. The willingness to negotiate is one key, and a streamlined hiring process is another. Hird said companies and firms that subject candidates to a lengthy hiring regimen are losing potential employees who have multiple job offers.

    So I guess the strategy for accounting firms and businesses looking to hire accountants this fall boils down to this: pay more and be snappy about it.


    KPMG UK Succumbs to Millennials’ Bellyaching on Slow Recruitment Process

    • Lord Treasurer

      That’s encouraging, especially since I’ll be graduating in three and a half months.
      Bring on the money!

      • peakfreak

        Look forward to being underwhelmed…

        • Lord Treasurer

          Hah! I’ve read enough of the comp threads on here and done plenty of research to know better. I have very reasonable expectations upon graduation. Still, every little bit helps..

          • FoonTheElder

            That’s OK. SOP is that for every 1% raise, they will raise the cost you need to contribute for your benefits by 2% of your compensation.

            Give it with one hand and take more back with the other hand.

      • AaronBalake

        Can’t wait to see how much of your soul and jovial spirit will diminish after a year in the real world. Good luck, and I say that with the sincerest undertones of sarcasm.

        • Mose Schrute

          C’mon, it’s gonna be all Models & Bottles for @Lord_Treasurer:disqus right @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus

          • Lord Treasurer

            *plus-sized models 😉 @disqus_IJh58gAM0M:disqus

            • Steve Dave

              Forget the plus-size models, @cpanum31:disqus suggests that we pick up Golden Boys!!! @thehorniestpartner:disqus @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus @disqus_IJh58gAM0M:disqus @Lord_Treasurer:disqus

            • Mose Schrute

              @cpanum31:disqus knows where to find high quality ass!

        • Lord Treasurer

          I enjoy the fact that most of the people who post on here act as if public accounting has completely sucked all of the happiness out of their lives. And instead of actually doing something about this toxic system, they bitch and moan online and only obtain joy through the misery of others. It’s really quite fascinating.
          Thanks for your optimistic outlook! I have, in fact, already been out in the real world. Hence the reason why I decided to go back to school. I am smart enough to know what’s bullshit when I detect it, so I will not throw myself at the first opportunity that comes my way. There are so many better opportunities in accounting than becoming a servant of the Big 4 and other large nationals.

          • N.E.R.D.

            So what “something” would you do about this toxic system?

            How do you even know it’s toxic? You’re not working yet…

            • Lord Treasurer

              You’re right. I am still in school and am only working in public accounting as a part-time intern at a small regional firm. I have no idea what it is actually like in a Big 4 office or large national firm. I don’t see any of the problems that are continuously brought up on this site and in other places at this firm though. So, I don’t know what specifically could be done to address some of the issues, but I would wager that there are many people out there who do.

              With that being said, one doesn’t have to look much further than this site to know that there are a prevalence of problems with this profession. It seems this place was built with that fact in mind. In a different post, you even said, “The industry is sick.” http://goingconcern.com/topic/open-items/starting-out-private

            • N.E.R.D.

              You’re a part time intern. That’s the second best position at the firm after partner because you get paid a lot and have zero responsibility.

              Most places are not going to expose an intern to the real issues of a work environment. You’re not going to run into workflow management friction as an intern. You’re not going to run into actual incidents that make a firm toxic as an intern. You literally do busy work assigned to you for a couple hours and then go home and continue on with your life. You don’t have any real responsibilities at the firm. Just show up and don’t be a shit head, really.

              The industry is sick. I asked a rhetorical question because I’m just calling out your “do something” call to action based on your lack of experience in the business.

              “So, I don’t know what specifically could be done to address some of the issues, but I would wager that there are many people out there who do.”

              Here it is again. You’re just wagering that somebody will just do “something” to fix the problem. It’s not nearly that simple.

              Also, toxicity varies per firm, per office, and per region. Not every firm is going to have the same range of problems or the same severity.

            • AaronBalake

              Watch out everyone! The intern with no job or life experience is going to solve all our problems!

              You picked the wrong profession for changing the world. Furthermore, you have no job or life experience, making anything you have to say here utterly irrelevant.

            • Lord Treasurer

              Who said anything about changing the world? I’m just not going into my accounting career with blinders on as a lot of people seem to have done or still do.
              Since when does someone need ample experience to express an opinion? They’re like assholes, remember? I’m sure you are very familiar with those.

            • AaronBalake

              Only your mothers.

            • Steve Dave

              I’m hoping for a return of @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus Mother to the comment section!

            • AaronBalake

              Please, no.

            • Steve Dave

              This is so 3 years ago…..

              AaronBalake’s Mother AaronBalake • 3 years ago
              Aaron don’t be sad, you’re the best consultant in the world!!

            • PWC Prick

              Flashback to the good old days of GC!

            • AaronBalake

              But to answer your useless comment in its entirety, you don’y “need” ample experience to express an opinion. However, when your opinion has no experience to back it up with, expect to be called out for having a shitty baseless opinion, like you do. Welcome to the real world, where your parents and professors can no longer protect you from criticism.

              I hope you don’t tell me your feelings are hurt next. That will probably make me laugh harder than when I laughed reading your weak rebuttal about assholes.

              Your persistence is admirable but your efforts are futile.

            • Lord Treasurer

              No hurt feelings here Mr. Balake. It takes a lot more than some forum fodder to hurt my feelings.

              LOL at the parents protecting me part. Fortunately I cannot be lumped in with other millenials in that regard. My parents never went to college, held reputable work, or aimed above their station in life. I’ve had to figure everything out on my own. So your words of wisdom are more appreciated than you think.

            • AaronBalake

              Watch out everyone! We have a strong independent woman over here who don’t need no man!

            • Steve Dave

              I think @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus should change his name to Mr. Balake, right @Lord_Treasurer:disqus ? What say you, @cpanum31:disqus ?

            • Steve Dave

              More comments from @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus are needed throughout this website!!!!!!!

          • cpanum31

            Of course it is toxic, it sucks, it always sucked, everyone who has ever been in it knows that it sucks. A small percentage get trapped in it and have to rationalize their situation or just plane lie to themselves. It can’t be fixed because it is the nature of the beast, you can’t get milk out of a bull. For most it has always been get a couple of years and the license because it looks good on their resume and the HR Departments are stupid enough to put, once it was Big 8, people in the “Hire now Golden Boy stack.”

            It can’t be fixed, it never will be fixed, but it will get you a good job in a Fortune 500 company. So, if you want the good life, you suck it up and do it. (And wish you had been born intelligent enough to become an Engineer.)

            So, just do it.

            • Steve Dave

              Hey @Lord_Treasurer:disqus please follow the instructions of @cpanum31:disqus and @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus !!!!! They rule!!!!

            • Lord Treasurer

              What if I’m not out to be some F500 bigshot and don’t care for a life of excess, aka “the good life”? I prefer a much more modest, albeit comfortable, lifestyle. I’m 95% certain that I’m going to start out in public after school, but what are your thoughts on going to work for a mid-tier firm that is one of the top names in its area as opposed to Big 4?

            • AaronBalake

              Enjoy constantly being grilled on job interviews since you lack the gold stamp of “big 4 experience” within your resume.

              Enjoy your modest lifestyle in your mothers basement.

            • Lord Treasurer

              You sound like a really great guy. I’d love to have a beer with you sometime. Come on over, my mom’s basement is open all the time!

            • Mose Schrute

              I knew @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus and @Lord_Treasurer:disqus would be a match made in Mom’s Basement!

            • CantbeLife


            • cpanum31

              Well if you don’t have the blinding, ruthless ambition that Public Accounting requires (only two percent survive to make Partner), you might look to an audit job with the Federal or State Government. (County & City are usually, not always just usually bad.)

              Good hours, reasonable benefits, pay in line with the real median, still have to put up with a mindless bureaucracy but at least most of them have some employee legal protections after a few years of service. Some still have reasonable retirement plans.

              Just my opinion. I believe G.C. is targeted for those who it is either Partner or a Coronary by age 35. (Reminds me of the Manger I once met, who was never going to get equity, who had a blister pack of Parke Davis Nitro Tabs sticking out of his shirt pocket.)

          • AaronBalake

            Watch out guys! The part time intern has been out there in the real world!

            A few fun facts for you before you decide to come back and attempt to sound smart:

            1. I personally am not an accountant or a CPA. I started in Advisory within big 4, then moved to a different big 4 firm (no longer in advisory).
            2. Thank you for letting everyone know you’re a part time intern who is still in school. It will make it much easier for everyone to immediately discredit your opinion moving forward.
            3. You’re not smart enough to keep your baseless opinions to yourself, therefore, I doubt you are smart enough to understand what is “bull shit” because you have not yet had the opportunity to be exposed the bull shit you will only encounter when you join the workforce full time.
            4. People here seem to appreciate my acerbic wit and the fact that I call out uninformed people like yourself. I am also pretty good at it.

            You’re welcome for the outlook.

            • Lord Treasurer

              Ah yes, and people wonder why accounting firms are having a difficult time attracting and retaining new graduates and younger professionals. Surely it’s not the warm and welcoming tone that so many current and former employees set..

            • N.E.R.D.

              Retention is the problem, not attraction. It’s the soul crushing amount of work/hours they require you to put in for weeks/months on end that burns people out, and the partner group is okay with that because it’s currently and has been historically cheaper to replace than to retain.

              The bitterness you see is a result of that.

            • AaronBalake

              No one likes a pompous know it all. Especially if they’re an intern with no real life or work experience.

              Be glad an internet comment board was the first to call you out on your nonsense and not some audit partner that didn’t like that you were slow with the lunch order for that super important team meeting.

            • Lord Treasurer

              “Enjoy your modest lifestyle in your mothers basement.”

              Sure, I’m the pompous one.

            • AaronBalake

              Thank you for agreeing.

            • Mose Schrute

              Personally, I love “bull shit” typed as two separate words!

    • SmallFry

      The reason Mr. Hird is saying:

      “we’re seeing companies flex their muscles a bit more as it relates to the negotiation process and recognizing that they have to do things differently.” and “companies and firms that subject candidates to a lengthy hiring regimen are losing potential employees who have multiple job offers.”

      Is because the recruiters don’t want to waste time waiting for companies and candidates spending too much time exploring all available options. The more time they wait, the higher the chance they would’ve gone unpaid for spending all that time bringing someone through the interview process.

      Of course they’ll want companies to make faster decisions, but the hiring managers aren’t always so easily gullible when presented with barely qualifying candidates with that slightly higher price tag.

      The incoming hopefuls reading this article will now graduate/ enter the job market and get exceedingly confident in their ability to command a higher price and thus carry themselves at the interviews as such.

      Meanwhile Mr. Hird’s colleagues will say “see we told you so, the market is more competitive now and rates are higher” so you better act fast and pay up! which ultimately equals PROFIT.

      TLDR: their commentary is full of hot air and they’re just trying to influence their readers to cough up higher commissions for highering and for candidates to aim for higher pay.

    • iamthelolrus

      I am excited to barely make more than the first years after a double digit raise.

      • FoonTheElder

        That seems to always be what goes on at CPA firms. The pay scales are so low that the new, inexperienced make more than the people with experience. Then they wonder why they have turnover.

    • Ed Flanders

      The numbers in the Robert Half salary guide are garbage. I can’t get the newest one without signing up for spam, but if you check out the 2016 version, it says a first year audit associate at a large firm can expect to earn $59,000-$70,750, and senior is $82,500-$105,750. And that’s for a city at the average cost of living. Using the 140% adjustment for NYC, first year auditors are earning $82,600-$99,400 and seniors are earning $115,500-$148,050.

      Why bother going into investment banking when you can make just as much as an audit senior at KPMG?

    • cpanum31

      It is area specific.
      If you choose the right areas the salaries are increasing as the article indicates.
      Other areas, they are not.

      Generally, IMHO, if it is a bad place to live and you wouldn’t want to raise a family there, the salaries are increasing. If it is a nice friendly place, not so much.

      • Mose Schrute

        @cpanum31:disqus kicking ass

    • IndenturedServant

      Read to “according to Robert Half” and stopped reading.

    • Yea employers that take forever are the worst. They think they are being cute and will find the perfect candidate. Meanwhile they give candidates that already interviewed plenty of time to find jobs at more efficient companies.

      • cpanum31

        Years ago I had a discussion with a old U.S.D.A. Audit Manager about that subject, finding the Golden Boys. He said they had research to show it didn’t work, so they concentrated on other attributes which were, I thought, the ones generally ignored by most HR departments.

        • Steve Dave

          @cpanum31:disqus @Lord_Treasurer:disqus @disqus_bca7XQUaGq:disqus If you have to ask how much a Golden Shower from a Golden Boy costs, then you can’t afford it!

          • Lord Treasurer

            What’s a ZJ?

            • Steve Dave

              Who’s Barry Badrinath? Who’s Barry Badrinath? Who’s Barry Badrinath? Who’s Barry Badrinath?
              Who’s Barry Badrinath?

    • The Horniest Partner

      I had one experience with a RH recruiter and got the impression recruiting jobs fell between churn and burn life insurance sales and door to door meat sales.

      • cpanum31


    • cpanum31

      Well half a bobby is a Sales Organization and “Advertising” is part of their game plan.

      As said here, and many other places many other times, it is just advertising copy.

      I am now living in the middle of half a dozen institutions that grant accounting degrees. They grind them out by the hundreds every year. The salaries reflect this.

      • Mose Schrute

        I see what you did there @cpanum31:disqus calling Robert Half “Bobby”!!!