Compliance Needs Drive Hottest Accounting Jobs

February 7, 2007 ( - Robert Half International has identified five accounting and finance jobs providing the most promising career prospects, driven in part by Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting requirements and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance needs.

According to SmartPros, the high-growth positions and their descriptions are as follows:

  • Internal auditor– Companies particularly seek internal auditors who possess the certified internal auditor designation to help improve internal controls 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 5.8% this year, to a range of $77,500 to $101,500.
  • Compliance executive– Companies are hiring compliance executives with SEC reporting experience to help them meet ongoing corporate governance requirements. Starting salaries for chief compliance officers at large companies are predicted to rise to $132,500 to $181,250 – a 14.4% increase, and to $111,000 to $145,500 for those at midsize companies ($25 million to $250 million in sales) – up 9.3% from 2006 levels.
  • Financial analyst– As firms expand, financial analysts are needed to assist with budgeting and forecasting initiatives and to identify how their organizations can become more profitable. Demand for this position is especially high at the management and senior levels. Base pay is expected to jump 5% for managers with small companies (up to $25 million in sales) to between $55,750 and $70,000, and 5.6% for senior financial analysts at large companies to $58,250 to $73,750.
  • Staff accountant– Accountants with at least three years of experience, including in public accounting, are sought for projects related to general ledger-account maintenance, financial-statement preparation and budget development. The greatest gains in initial compensation for staff accountants are expected to take place at large companies, with starting salaries rising 5% to between $41,250 and $52,500.
  • External auditors– Public accounting firms are expanding their staff levels to meet rising client demand for audit services, desiring professionals who possess three to seven years of experience and the CPA designation. Senior external auditors with small firms (up to $25 million in sales) will see starting salaries increase 5.2% to a range of $48,750 to $63,000.

Robert Half’s information is based on research from its 2007 Salary Guide, actual candidate placements, and discussions with hiring managers throughout the United States, SmartPros said.