Financial executives are seeing increases in salary, incentives and benefits, according to new research.

According to the Financial Executive Compensation Survey from Grant Thornton and the Financial Executives Research Foundation, in 2014, the average salary increase for financial executives at private companies is 3.3 percent, an increase from 3.1 percent in 2013. On the public company side, the rate of increase dipped slightly, however, to 3.4 percent from 3.5 percent a year ago.

Nearly half (48 percent) of financial executives receive some form of stock-based incentive compensation, with respondents citing stock options and restricted stock/stock units (21 percent) most often. 

The growth rate in finance and accounting employees is also improving: At private companies with 250 to 499 employees, the number of finance and accounting employees increased to 8 percent in 2014 from 4 percent in 2013, and those with 500 to 999 employees report an increase in finance and accounting employees to 4 percent from 2 percent one year ago.

“Trends like stronger hiring rates and increases in salaries and stock-based incentives could gain momentum during the next few years,” said Ken Cameron, a director in Grant Thornton’s Compensation & Benefits Consulting practice, in a statement. “It’s an ideal time for businesses to take a close look at their compensation structures. Companies that are well-positioned to attract, select and retain top financial executives will have a market advantage as the improved economy takes a firmer hold and expands, perhaps faster than many expect.”

Of the 81 percent of executives who report receiving one or more perquisites, the most popular is a cellphone, cellphone allowance or cellphone reimbursement (85 percent). The majority (90 percent) of those receiving perquisites report that those perquisites have not been reduced in the past year; and

Nearly half (48 percent) of financial executives receive some form of stock-based incentive compensation, with respondents citing stock options and restricted stock/stock units (21 percent) most often.

“The results from this year’s survey are encouraging and reflect the improvements in the United States job market,” said Financial Executives International president and CEO Marie Hollein. “Financial executives serve a vital role within their organizations and it’s not surprising that companies are reinforcing their finance and accounting teams. Competitive compensation packages for the finance function will offer new opportunities for those in the profession and assure companies have the best talent.”