October 30, 2020

UPDATED: How Are Public Accounting Salaries Stacking Up for 2020?

By now you guys and gals in public accounting have most likely had compensation discussions with your respective firms. We assume that some of you were pleased with the outcome. But it’s probably more realistic to say that a majority of you were somewhat or extremely disappointed.

While they might not have the most up-to-date salary data for capital market servants as, say, Going Concern’s old compensation discussion threads (R.I.P.), Robert Half’s 2020 Accounting and Finance Salary Guide and the just released 2020 Accounting & Finance Salary Guide from Accounting Principals do provide semi-useful, starting-point salary information for several public accounting positions.

First up, let’s take a look at Bob’s latest salary guide. RH breaks down its starting pay ranges by percentile, and there are four:

  • 25th: New to the role and still developing their skills.
  • 50th: Average experience and has a majority of the relevant skills.
  • 75th: More experience than is typical and has most or all relevant skills.
  • 95th: High level of relevant experience and expertise.

Salary figures represent the national averages. Bonuses, benefits, and other forms of compensation aren’t factored into the starting salary ranges, according to the guide.

Salary ranges are based on the thousands of placements RH has made, as well as the actual salaries firms are paying, the guide states.

The good news: Salaries for all public accounting positions highlighted in the 2020 guide are up from 2019’s.

The bad news: Salaries for those public accounting positions look like they’ve only increased between 1% and 3% compared to the previous year.

We’ve placed a red box around the public accounting portion of Robert Half’s latest salary guide. Here’s how Bob is projecting salaries for 2020:

The data in AP’s 2020 salary guide is broken into two categories:

  • Base salary (10th percentile, 90th percentile, and average); and
  • Average base salary by experience level (low, middle, and high).

The figures in the salary guide are based on national averages compiled through Accounting Principals’ partnership with Emsi, a labor market analytics firm.

Here’s a screenshot of the public accounting section of Accounting Principals’ salary guide:

Let the kvetching begin.

Related article: 

How Are Public Accounting Salaries Stacking Up for 2019?

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