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Accountants: soaring salaries, bottoming bonuses

Research from international recruiter Robert Walters reveals middle office specialists in Australia are hot to trot in 2008.

The report says product control is in red hot demand and that a Sydney-based product accountant/controller with three to five years’ experience can earn AU$125k, compared with AU$105k last year. Likewise, financial accountants can currently earn AU$125k, compared with AU$100k in 2007.

Neil Dyball, associate director of the banking division at Robert Walters, says controller demand is being driven by multiple factors including a number of new market entrants, increased internal compliance requirements, and the migration of experienced controllers to Asia.

The bad news? Accountants’ salaries may be up, but their bonuses aren’t. “Bonuses don’t reflect salary growth and were relatively flat or back slightly on 2007,” says Dyball.

Recruiter Adam Kolokotsas, general manager of Tanner Menzies’ Sydney, says good product controllers in Australia are hard to find, but bonuses are still tied to the performance of the company and business unit rather than the endeavours of the individual.

Accountants looking for a bigger pay rise may need to walk (or at least threaten to). “If there is a chance of losing a controller, the banks will often throw big counter offers to tie them up,” says Kolokotsas.

Away from the middle office, relationship managers are also enjoying good times, with Perth-based professionals earning AU$180k in 2008, compared with AU$140k last year. James Wilkins, banking and finance consultant with Robert Walters in Perth, says the shortage of candidates and the mining boom is pushing up salaries and bonuses, which are no longer capped.


Financial accountant CA/CPA (3-5 yrs’ exp.)

2007: AU$70k-AU$100k

2008: AU$80k-AU$125k

Product controller CA/CPA (3-5 yrs’ exp.)

2007: AU$70k-AU$105k

2008: AU$80k-AU$125k


Relationship manager (institutional)

2007: AU$110k-AU$140k

2008: AU$140k-AU$180k

Comments (7)

  1. What about other roles in accounting?

  2. its a nice article and really relaxed with new facts through this articles.john

  3. Would be interesting to know about what is happening with Accountants who came from overseas. How long they get to find the first local job. And how is their growing in Australia Arena.
    In my case I worked 10 years at IBM America and have a broad experienece in all spheres of Finance. I understand I shoud not expect the same level of position at the begining, but the fact is when I intent to apply for an entry position I look overqualified,so same I do not get a job. It is common? It is not becoming a problem of unemployed immigrants to this my new country ? What I am doing wrong?
    Txs in advance…

  4. Lisa -for more info on accounting salaries follow the link above (right of article) to the Robert Walters site. And John, glad you find the articles so relaxing.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  5. Hi Cesar.. yes, your situation is very common. You will find that it’s not about your experience. It could be simply about the fact that you are not an Australian… Unfortunatelly, prejudice and racism happen in this country too… but these are mascaraded.
    I wonder why the Editor replied to the other two comments, but not to yours… Any idea?

  6. Hi Cesar,

    Here, prompted by Caroline, is my response to your question…

    Yes – it seems to be fairly common for immigrants from overseas to be told they’re overqualified and for Australian employers to be inflexible. We’ve had a couple of lively debates on this in the past, in which plenty of people expressed similar problems – click
    here and here to view them.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  7. Is there any posibilities that you are going to hire in differnt countries?

    jilla z oledan Reply

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