Compensation for management accounting and finance professionals rose by an average of 7.1 percent last year, according to a new survey, but some specialties received raises while others saw their salaries remain stagnant.

The Institute of Management Accountants’ Global Salary Survey found that 70 percent of respondents reported they received a raise. Median total compensation for management accounting and finance professionals in the U.S. increased on average to $113,000 from $105,500 in the prior year. As the economic outlook continues to strengthen, the prospects for future raises also appear positive, with more than three-quarters of the survey respondents saying they anticipate a raise in the coming year.

However, salaries remained about the same or declined for professionals in areas of responsibility such as taxation, general accounting and internal audit. Accounting roles such as budgeting, planning, information systems and cost-control skills saw an increase in salary. Public accounting remained the lowest-paid area of focus globally.

Based on median total compensation, the highest-paying areas of responsibility are as follows:

1.    Information systems
2.    Education
3.    Corporate accounting
4.    General management

In the United States, an especially large pay increase occurred in the area of risk management, reflecting greater corporate awareness of this issue.

Globally, the data collected from IMA members in 81 countries indicated a median total compensation of $66,000. The Netherlands and Switzerland continued to have the highest average salary and total compensation. Egypt held the lowest rank for compensation, presumably because of economic and political factors.

Asia continues as the region with the lowest average compensation. However, compensation trends in Asia and the Middle East/Africa region showed significant improvement.

“Overall, survey respondents in the Asia/Pacific region experienced gains in earnings,” said IMA vice president of research and policy Raef Lawson, who co-authored the survey. “For CMA-certified professionals, the earnings opportunity is most pronounced. CMAs in the Asia/Pacific region earn roughly 75 percent more than those without certification. Their employers also benefit by having highly qualified accounting talent capable of competing globally.”  

The 2014 Global Salary Survey found that while higher degrees are predictably linked with significantly higher compensation, certification led to both increased pay and new career opportunities.

According to the survey, 83 percent of professionals holding the Certified Management Accountant certification believe it strengthens their ability to move across all areas of the business, while 80 percent are confident that certification creates new career opportunities. Globally, CMA-certified professionals earn 59 percent more in salary ($73,000) and 63 percent more in total compensation ($85,000) than the median rates for non-CMAs.

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