Articles

Understanding the Finance and Accountant Careers Website

  • By Joanne Oh
  • Published: 11/21/2022
Understanding Finance and Accounting Careers

Whether you’re looking for a job in finance or trying to hire for an open position, recent, relevant data about similar roles can make all the difference in the process. For hiring managers, it means making sure what they’re offering is competitive in the talent marketplace. For professionals, it means making sure they have the necessary skills and certifications to stand out. 

To meet this need within the finance community, AFP created the Finance & Accountant Careers website, a resource with finance labor market and wage data in the United States. We talked to the people at Lightcast, the company that helps source data for the website, to share how hiring managers and financial professionals can use the website, as well as trends in salary, retention strategies and in-demand skills. 

How can people — whether they’re hiring managers, financial professionals or people interested in the field — find reliable benchmarking data on finance and accounting positions? 

Lightcast: AFP’s Finance & Accountant Careers website is a great way for companies to see if what they’re looking for is realistic, and for students and professionals to make sure they’re obtaining in-demand skills. The website is the result of a deep dive that Lightcast did on finance and accounting positions, combined with data from AFP’s annual Compensation Survey

Some insight into how we gather data: Lightcast pulls from a variety of sources to help us draw a clear and complete picture of industries and jobs and careers. Government sources contain a huge amount of data on all kinds of jobs, which provides a terrific high-level picture of things like how many finance workers there are, where they work, and what kinds of education and training they typically have. 

Those official counts are incredibly important, but they only tell us so much. Since the government needs to do this across the entire economy, the view is necessarily at a high level, and the data on any given industry isn’t updated as fast as those industries change and evolve. 

To give us a more granular, real-time view, Lightcast gets right to the source — employers. Every day, we visit tens of thousands of websites where jobs are posted, and we gather, read and organize those postings. We can tell you what jobs are being advertised, what industries are hiring for what kinds of employees, where the work locations are, and importantly, what skills, education and experience requirements companies are saying they need. 

What trends are you seeing in the labor market and attitudes of job seekers? 

Lightcast: It is a tight labor market, and we’re seeing upward pressure on wages in jobs across the economy. Also, a lot of people have enjoyed removing commutes from their schedule and having greater flexibility and want to see those benefits continue moving forward. 


Mouse over a state, metropolitan area, or title circle to see a high-level summary of the data. Click on a state or metropolitan to see the detailed data. Select a title from the dropdown box to narrow the results to a single title. Click here for the full site.




In general, we’re looking at a more constrained employment environment for the foreseeable future in which there are just not as many workers to fill the great need that employers are expressing. So that puts the onus on employers to make sure that they are paying well, offering work that is interesting and engaging, and helping people see a career path that will continue to be fulfilling. 

 

Workers aren’t off the hook, though. Companies work hard to get the people they need — not just because the competition for workers is tough, but also because standards are increasing. We’re seeing companies ask for a wide array of skills and experiences. We’re seeing increasing demands for technology and data skills. The bar is high for workers, so it’s important for them to continue to invest in themselves and keep pace with the evolving nature of these jobs. 

What are the trends you are seeing in salaries?  

Lightcast: Employers certainly need to pay attention to salaries. If they lag behind their competitors, they’re going to have a very hard time attracting and keeping employees. Finance & Accounting Careers offers two important measures of salary: earnings of the incumbent workforce, which come from AFP’s annual Compensation Survey, and an estimate for the average salary advertised on job postings, which comes from a machine learning model developed by Lightcast. 

For example, the average job posting for a treasury analyst pegs the salary at $58,000, but the average salary for an incumbent treasury analyst is $68,000. To retain top talent, it will help to know that earners in the top 25th percentile earn $76,000. 

Of course, different parts of the country are going to have different salary trends, and workers who are open to moving may have some advantages in maximizing their earning potential by locating to a more favorable job market. 

For example, recent grads looking for financial/FP&A analyst jobs can use the tool to see that many areas in Texas offer both high compensation and high demand relative to other regions in the United States. In the Austin and Dallas regions, there are almost as many annual job postings for financial/FP&A analysts as there are incumbent workers, and salaries are around $68,000. 

Have you noticed any trends in what companies are doing to increase retention or reduce turnover? 

Lightcast: Talent retention is more critical now than in recent memory. Investing in employees through skill development and internal career ladders is a great way to ensure that employees thrive within an organization. For example, companies can invest in their treasury talent by allocating funds for professional development to help them obtain the Certified Treasury Professional (CTP) credential. And they can help FP&A professionals earn the Certified Corporate FP&A Professional (FPAC) credential. 

Certainly, there has been upward pressure on wages, and education requirements have softened. As companies have functioned reasonably well over the past few years, there appears to be greater openness to flexible, remote and hybrid work arrangements. While we’re not sure how many companies will remain remote in the long term, hybrid work is certainly becoming more common. Of course, every company is different, but companies need to be aware that work flexibility is becoming an important part of a candidate’s decision-making process. 

Based on the data, what are the most in-demand skills you are seeing for the finance profession overall? Which skills do you anticipate will become the most in demand in the coming years? 

Lightcast: With the need to manage complex financial arrangements with accuracy, security and precision, we’re seeing high levels of demand for technology and data skills. Examples include the ability to operate in the cloud, and data visualization skills to not only crunch the data but also present it to others effectively. There are also a number of software applications that are specific to roles, so learning those and staying up to date on the latest versions is critical. 

For those in leadership, in addition to being good financial professionals, they also need to understand fintech, key performance indicators and management principles. 

Ready to go deeper? Explore the Finance & Account Careers website. 

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