An improving economy, increasing regulatory requirements and the globalization of the marketplace will push demand for accounting professionals in the coming years, according to federal and private-sector projections.

“Companies are capitalizing on growth opportunities and launching new revenue-generating initiatives,” ‘the global staffing firm Robert Half noted in its 2016 Salary Guide. “To succeed, they need the right people in place. But top accounting, finance and business systems professionals are hard to find.”

The Robert Half report found that demand should be higher for accounting professionals with specialized industry experience, technology skills or advanced education. Employers in the accounting/finance field typically expect candidates to have at least an undergraduate degree, such as a BA in Accounting, and some may require an MBA in Accounting or a graduate degree in a related field.

Starting salaries in accounting and finance are expected to increase by 4.7% in 2016, according to the Robert Half Salary Guide. Here are some projected salary ranges for specific job titles:

General Accountant*

$56,250 to $73,250

Internal Auditor*

$65,000 to $86,750

Budget Analyst*

$58,500 to $80,500

Chief Financial Officer**

$109,750 to $157,750

Controller**

$96,500 to $128,000

Director of Accounting**

$89,250 to $121,750

Financial Analyst*

$61,500 to $82,500

Forensic Accountant***

$74,750 to $116,750

Tax Accountant*

$50,000 to $62,500

Credit Manager or Specialist*

$77,250 to $110,750

Portfolio Manager***

$115,250 to $164,000

* Employee with a few years of experience working for a large company

** Employee working for a firm with annual revenue up to $50 million

*** Employee at any company

As with any career field, it’s important for prospective students to conduct independent research as employment opportunities and potential salary ranges are determined by numerous factors. Those typically include a candidate’s educational qualifications and work history, as well as a company’s size and location, and the specific industry.

Educational requirements for positions within the accounting profession typically increase with the level of responsibility and scope of duties. For example, an AA in Accounting may be adequate for entry-level positions such as payroll clerk or accounts payable clerk.

By attaining higher-level qualifications, such as a bachelor’s in Accounting or an MBA in Accounting and Finance, candidates may advance within an organization to managerial or C-suite positions. Some firms may also require applicants to have industry credentials such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

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