Creating an Attractive Compensation and Benefits Package

By Messmer, Max | The National Public Accountant, April-May 2005 | Go to article overview

Creating an Attractive Compensation and Benefits Package


Messmer, Max, The National Public Accountant


If you're like many managers, the last time you devoted significant attention to the competitiveness of your firm's pay package George W. Bush had just been elected--the first time. In the past several years, because of hiring freezes and a larger supply of accounting candidates, many organizations did not have to raise salaries much to recruit and retain top talent. Now that the economy and job market are gaining steam, however, firms are once again assessing their compensation and benefits packages more frequently to avoid losing current and prospective employees to other opportunities.

Crafting Your Compensation Structure

When assessing your compensation levels, take a look at not only the market for various types of professionals but also your overall need for each position. What has changed since pay structures were last evaluated? Have there been any shifts in your firm's goals and priorities? Are the required skills generally available in the marketplace or are they hard to find?

Government and association reports, as well as salary surveys, can be valuable ways to benchmark your compensation levels and identify trends affecting wages. According to our company's 2005 Salary Guide, accountants with one to three years of experience will see an 11.8 percent gain in average starting salaries this year at medium firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales). At small firms (up to $25 million in sales), entry-level accounting professionals will experience the largest increase, with base compensation rising an average of 11.4 percent. (For a free copy of the 2005 Salary Guide from Robert Half International, please call 800-474-4253 or visit www.roberthalf.com.)

Some organizations are opting for variable pay programs in which incentives, bonuses, commissions, profit sharing or lump sums are awarded periodically in addition to base salary. The additional compensation is generally tied to individual performance and the company's profitability. Variable pay is not only appealing to prospective and current staff, but it also provides motivation for all personnel to give maximum effort, which can enhance the entire organization's performance.

Developing an Enticing Benefits Plan

Medical coverage is usually considered a basic. …

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