Menlo Park, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2002) -- Starting salaries for most accounting and finance professionals are expected to remain flat in 2003, according to the latest salary survey by staffing firm Accountemps, a division of Robert Half International Inc.


Professionals in public accounting can expect to see the biggest gains in average starting salaries next year, with managers and directors at large firms (more than $250 million in annual sales) expected to see 4.1 percent rise in average starting salaries to the range of $78,500 to $116,500.


Base compensation for entry-level accountants at midsize public firms ($25 to $250 million in annual sales) are expected to grow 3.7 percent to between $32,000 and $38,500, while senior accountants at small firms (up to $25 million in annual sales) can expect a 3.5 percent increase in average starting salaries, to the range of $41,750 to $53,750.


On the corporate side, starting salaries are expected to be for most positions, with small gains forecast for payroll supervisors and managers (up 2.9 percent overall); assistant controllers and assistant treasurers (up 2.2 percent); controllers (up 1.9 percent); and general, audit, tax and cost accounting managers (up 1.7 percent).


At small companies, base compensation for payroll supervisors will be 4 percent higher than 2002, the biggest increase for any single position in corporate accounting. Assistant controllers and assistant treasurers at small and midsize firms will see starting salaries increase an average of 2.7 percent. The same positions at large companies ($500 million or more in annual sales) should see average starting salaries of $90,750 to $114,250, a 2.5 percent gain over 2002.


Average starting salaries for directors of accounting at companies with $50 to $100 million in annual sales will increase 2.6 percent, bringing base compensation to between $75,500 and $103,250 per year. Base compensation for general, audit, tax and cost accounting managers at large companies is projected to remain unchanged from 2002 levels, ranging from $59,000 to $78,750 annually.


Salary declines are expected at the most senior levels. For example, chief financial officers and treasurers could see declines in average starting salaries of up to 3.6 percent at companies with $250 million to $500 million in annual sales. Directors of finance at companies with $500 million or more in annual sales could see declines in base compensation of up to 8.6 percent, bringing them to the range of $125,000 to $184,000 annually.


-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff


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