Accounting, Finance Positions Hot in ‘08, Robert Half Says

Many accounting and finance professionals will have something to smile about this year – especially those pursuing opportunities in the hottest specialties, according to Robert Half International, which recently spotlighted five jobs positioned for growth in the upcoming year.
The information is based on research gathered for the company’s 2008 Salary Guide.
“Demand remains strong for highly skilled accounting and finance professionals, particularly those whose functional expertise is complemented by excellent communication and technology skills,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Job Hunting For Dummies.
Following are five of the most in-demand positions for 2008, according to Robert Half International:
? Internal auditor – Companies seek internal auditors, particularly those who possess the Certified Internal Auditor designation, to help improve internal control over financial reporting and meet the compliance mandates of regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. National average starting salaries for internal audit managers at large companies (more than $250 million in sales) are expected to climb 6.7 percent in 2008, to a range of $81,500 to $109,500 annually.
? Senior accountant – Senior accountants with at least three years of experience and public accounting expertise are sought to perform core accounting tasks, including maintaining the general ledger system and analyzing and preparing financial statements. The greatest gains in starting compensation for senior accountants are expected at midsize companies ($25 million to $250 million in sales), with starting salaries projected to rise 5.4 percent over 2007 levels, to between $49,250 and $63,000 per year, on average.
? Hedge fund accountant – Hedge fund accountants must have contributed to the production of client portfolio statements and net asset value calculations for hedge fund clients. Professionals who possess three to seven years of experience in fund administration or investment management will see starting salaries rise 6.5 percent to a range of $46,250 to $64,500.
? Financial analyst – As firms expand, companies need financial analysts to assist with budgeting, forecasting and financial modeling. Demand for these professionals is especially acute at the management and senior levels. Base pay is forecast to jump 5.8 percent for managers with large companies to between $74,750 and $99,000. Average starting salaries for entry-level professionals at large companies are expected to rise 6.9 percent to between $38,250 and $47,500 annually.
? Public accountant – Demand continues to grow for public accountants as firms look for professionals to deliver diverse service offerings. Average starting salaries for senior managers and directors at midsize firms are projected to increase 7.7 percent in the year ahead, to between $88,250 and $129,250. At small firms (up to $25 million in sales), professionals with one to three years of experience can expect a 7.7 percent increase in average starting salaries to a range of $44,750 to $53,250.
The 2008 Salary Guide from Robert Half International is based on an analysis of the thousands of job placements managed by the company’s U.S. offices and includes an overview of the hiring environment and national average starting salary ranges for positions in accounting, finance, banking and financial services.

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