What’s the Right Salary for Accounting & Finance Employees?

What motivates your employees? In a 2017 salary survey conducted by Dice, participants were asked: What was the primary motivator your employer provided you in 2016? Flexible hours, remote work options, and professional development opportunities ranked among the responses—but the top motivator? Increased compensation. Offering a competitive salary gives your company a distinct advantage in recruiting and employee retention, but it’s difficult to do that without the data. Before you can determine what salaries to offer candidates, you must look at a few things: your industry, your location, and the size of your company. Note: For the accounting and finance industry in Portland, we’ve compiled an extensive salary guide. It covers a range of professionals—from support staff like payroll specialists to executive positions like CFOs—across small, mid-size, and large Portland companies. At VanderHouwen, we recognize how important it is for hiring managers and professionals to have current and local compensation standards for the accounting and finance market here in the Portland Metro area. It’s also important to understand why this data is so critical to leverage. Here are 3 reasons why you should be offering a competitive salary to your employees:

Stay competitive when recruiting

You’ve likely heard us say this before: Today’s market is candidate-driven. Losing out on top talent because you’re offering less than other companies your size is a waste of opportunity and time. This means that your candidates’ expectations of their future compensation are important, and it’s essential for hiring managers to have a firm grasp of these numbers. Hiring managers should regularly review local current salary trends to ensure that they’re staying competitive. Say that your HR department conducted this research years ago, and they’re confident they’re offering the right salary to prospective employees. Yet, your hiring managers keep having to eliminate skilled candidates during the interview process whose salary expectations are higher than what you’re offering, or candidates keep rejecting your offer to accept one that’s more attractive. This is a good indication that your salary structure is out of date. Make a habit of doing this research, and you’ll learn that average salary for a Director of Finance for a small size company, for example, grew about 5% from 2016-2017 alone.

Boost your employee retention

Even if your employees aren’t active job seekers, they will be contacted by competitors and agency recruiters.  The employment market in Oregon has experienced record growth and is still seeing significant increases in new jobs. This means that companies are consistently hiring, online job boards are actively populated, and recruiters are busier than ever. With platforms like LinkedIn, recruiters and hiring managers have access to a wide pool of active job seekers as well as currently employed professionals—in other words, passive candidates who can potentially be swayed to leave their company if they’re approached by a recruiter with a more intriguing offer. You never want your current employees to feel underappreciated, and that’s why it’s extremely important to know your team’s skillset and their value in the marketplace. You might feel that you have a great relationship with your team, with short and long-term career trajectory plans in place for each member, but if your compensation ranges are outdated, you’re at risk of losing talent. Low salaries are often a reason for high turnover. Plus, happy employees are loyal employees. That’s always a positive thing.

Benefit your company’s reputation

In general, Portland is a relatively small market, and it becomes even smaller when we narrow our search down to the accounting and finance community. In this market, reputation is a very powerful motivator. Reputations, especially negative ones, are easily built and are difficult to break. If your company becomes known for offering competitive salaries, you’ll be top of mind for candidates who are looking for new opportunities. Top talent will turn to you with confidence, knowing that you’re a company that does good work and values and supports their employees. On the other side of this spectrum, you certainly want to avoid developing a negative reputation for below-market compensation. This will result in candidates who may be low quality or even employees who are a flight risk. Don’t let your company be a stepping stone for better opportunities.

Feeling unsure if you’re offering a competitive salary to your accounting and finance employees? Check out our Salary Guide.