Accounting Execs See Comp Hikes

October 28, 2004 ( - Top corporate accounting executives saw the largest hike in median total cash compensation among the 25 most common finance, accounting, and legal jobs - rising 18% to $150,300 in 2004.

A news release said Mercer Human Resource Consulting’s Finance, Accounting, and Legal module of the 2004 Mercer Benchmark Database Pay found that median pay increased for the majority of the jobs between 2003 and 2004.

Top finance and legal executives saw sizeable increases in pay, as well. The position of top corporate legal executive/general counsel jumped 12% (from $280,500 in 2003 to $314,600 in 2004) and the position of chief financial officer rose 9% (from $330,000 in 2003 to $360,700 in 2004).

“Pay for top executives typically reflects overall business performance. As companies are starting to show signs of growth, it’s not surprising that executives’ salaries, especially their annual incentives, are improving. In addition, a number of regulatory initiatives, including Sarbanes-Oxley, has placed increased emphasis on finance and accounting issues,” according to Lee McCullough, a senior compensation consultant in Mercer’s New York office

While finance and accounting positions showed steady progress in pay over the past year, increases were not as strong for corporate legal jobs, according to Mercer’s study.

The survey includes responses from more than 2,000 mid-sized and large organizations across all industries reporting compensation data for more than 115,000 employees in 107 positions. The database includes administrative, clerical, accounting, communications, human resources, information technology, and legal positions, among others.

The Finance, Accounting, and Legal module, or any other module of the 2004 Mercer Benchmark Database , can be purchased from Mercer online at or by calling 800-333-3070.