Amid generally sluggish demand for corporate accounting and finance professionals, the hottest skill-sets for 2010 are tax, compliance, credit management and collections, according to global recruiting chain Robert Half International.
On average, starting salaries for accounting and finance roles are expected to creep up just 0.5 percent nationwide, Robert Half's 2010 Salary Guide says.
Positions whose average salaries are expected to increase or hold steady include:
- Tax accountant. Effective tax management strategies save money. Companies' need to maintain compliance with tax-related accounting regulations such as FAS 109 and FIN 48 also makes this group valuable. Tax accountants with one to three years of experience at large companies (more than $250 million in sales) are expected to see an average national starting salary in the range of $46,500 to $61,500.
- Compliance director. SEC mandates and preparing for the potential transition to International Financial Reporting Standards are priorities here. A further source of demand stems from authorities in the U.S. and elsewhere crafting new regulations as a result of the financial crisis. The starting salary range for a compliance director at a small company (up to $25 million in sales) is forecast to be $83,750 to $108,500.
- Credit manager/supervisor. Credit and collections specialists who can evaluate credit risk, manage delinquent payments and help improve cash flow are in demand. In small companies, the projected base compensation range for this group in 2010 is $42,500 to $57,500.
- Senior financial analyst. These professionals evaluate financial plans, forecasts and budgets, and identify ways to improve profitability. A senior financial analyst at a midsize company ($25 million to $250 million in sales) is anticipated to earn $57,750 to $74,000 in starting salary in 2010.
Beyond the eternal hunger for financial pros who can cut expenses and gin up profits, Robert Half says employers value deep technical expertise, excellent communication skills and an ability to work effectively with colleagues across multiple departments.