Bankers and mortgage brokers may be facing slimmer pay packages, but accountants can expect something of a boost next year, according to a recent report on salaries.The 2009 Salary Guide from staffing company Ajilon Finance anticipates pay hikes for accounting and financial professionals both in public practice and industry. "We are definitely not seeing any decline in salaries" in either public accounting or industry, said Kathy Gans, a senior vice president at Ajilon Finance, which compiled the report from input from its staff across the country. "There's still a high demand at all levels. There's still so much regulation work. We're still seeing demand for testing for SOX, a lot of ERP system conversions, and even though we're not seeing it yet, we're anticipating a lot of demand for XBRL and IFRS."

The report offers salary ranges for a variety of positions at different-sized firms in five regions of the U.S., and Canada, and provides variances for major metropolitan areas.

In terms of positions, Gans noted that there is "always a high demand" for people with tax experience, who "tend to be harder and harder to find," and so may be able to command larger salaries. Auditors are similarly situated: "Frankly, auditors are hard to find because generally people want to get out of auditing."

The best cities for accountants to seek raises in, according to the report, are San Francisco and San Mateo, Calif., where salaries for accounting and finance pros are expected to be 20.4 percent above the regional average. Stamford, Conn., at 16.9 percent above the regional average, Oakland, Calif., at 16.3 percent, and New York City, at 14.1 percent, also look attractive, as do Paramus, N.J., at 13.9 percent, and Detroit and Livingston, N.J., both at 12.4 percent.

Most of the other 75 metro areas considered were expected to offer salaries higher than their regions of the country, but the report noted nine that will underperform their regions. These cities to avoid are Albuquerque, N.M.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Phoenix, Mesa and Tucson, Ariz.; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; Richmond, Va.; and Salt Lake City.

For a PDF of the full guide, click here.

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