Reasonable Salary Expectations for Accounting Positions and How to Negotiate

It is nerve racking to go through the interview process. It’s even harder to be one of the last candidates standing and not get the job because you were ill-prepared for salary discussions. Before going into an interview, have an idea of what you’re worth, what experience you bring to the table, what the average salary is for the listed position and how to negotiate. Here are some tips to help you negotiate salary for your next position.

Expectations:In order for you to better prepare for the “salary” discussion, you need to understand the dynamics of the current economy and your place in it. Every year magazines like Money Magazine, The Journal for Accountancy and Forbes put out a list of current average salary and low and high ends of the median income. Going into 2015, Accountants will earn an average salary of $71,000 a year. Bookkeeping and audit clerks will earn an average salary of $36,400 a year. Financial analysts, managers, and advisors will earn on average $80,000 – $90,000 annually, and loan officers and billing clerks will earn roughly $50,000 annually. What you need to remember is that this is a national average based on 2014 reported salaries, and averages may change based on local state economy.

What is your skill level?:Now that you have an idea of base salary, it’s time to look at your skill level. If your experience matches more than 50% of the job description, you need to be comfortable negotiating a higher salary. Take into account the knowledge you have that has yet to be applied to the field and your ability to quickly learn on the job. Write out exactly what you will contribute out of the gate, why you feel your skills are worth the salary you are asking for, and your work ethic. Believe it or not work ethic is vital when negotiating a salary. Why? Because it shows your potential new employer how hard you are willing to work for the company and your dependability. Once you have all of this written down, take a look at the above rates and determine where you fall within those rates. This will be part of your negotiating tactics.

Know the company: Before entering into salary discussions, do your homework. Look up company statistics, annual reports (which are always made public at the end of a fiscal year), and company profile pages. It also helps to ask around. Utilize your network to connect with others who either currently or previously worked for the company. If they are comfortable talking about their salary or range of salary, this will help you better prepare for your own negotiations. Taking these steps will help give you a better idea of what the company can afford to pay, how large or small the company is, charitable donations each year and how often they promote from within. All of this is leverage for when salary becomes the topic of discussion.

Start high and work backwards: Before going into your interview, have a firm number in mind of what your lowest acceptable salary is. If you truly want to be making $40,000 a year, start at $43,000; the company will likely counter with their own number and eventually you will both meet in the middle (closer to your desired number of $40,000). You can also accept a lower salary in exchange for various other compensation (provided your skill level is worth it). Some candidates have reported negotiating a lower salary than they were worth because they were able to obtain leadership training, paid higher education or extra vacation days as alternatives.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that communication is fundamental to any salary negotiation. You need to convey that you have done your homework, know your worth, but that you are willing to negotiate a reasonable salary based on both the company’s allowances and your needs.

PrideStaff Financial stays on top of current trends and analysis for various compensation rates. Our committed team of professionals can help you prepare for salary negotiations. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.