Benefits such as health insurance are nearly as popular as salary in convincing accounting professionals to join a company, according to a new survey.

Recruitment company Robert Half International found that 37 percent of the 1,400 CFOs from across the U.S. it surveyed said that offering higher compensation than competitors was the most effective way to attract accounting professionals. But 33 percent of the CFOs cited benefits as the top draw, an increase of 31 points from 2003, when only 2 percent of CFOs cited benefits as the main influence.

On the other hand, telecommuting and flexible work schedules were not as big a factor as they were five years ago. At that time, 33 percent of the CFOs said they were the most effective incentives in attracting top accounting candidates. In 2008, however, the proportion had dropped to 13 percent.

Other incentives such as signing bonuses and extra vacation days were cited by only 4 percent of the CFOs surveyed, approximately the same as five years ago.

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