Organizations today are looking to create efficiencies, reduce expenses and boost returns in response to an uncertain economy. For finance and accounting roles, this is good news. The skills needed for these roles are in demand and help companies to both plan ahead and translate evolving markets. However, this demand can increase wage inflation, an overall trend in today’s job market.

According to the 2022 Salary Budget Planning Survey by Willis Towers Watson nearly two in three (64%) U.S. employers have budgeted for higher employee pay raises than last year, while two-fifths (41%) have increased their budgets since original projections were made earlier in the year. [1]

While employers may be paying more to keep talent, sharp increases are beginning to abate for generalized finance and accounting roles. This is good news for executives focused on cost cutting. But is it enough for organizations to retain and attract top candidates?

will employees come back to major cities?

The historic shift to remote work over the last two years led to an exodus from metropolitan areas with a high cost of living. Then inflation caused a sharp rise in median rents in the same places. For example, in cities like New York City and Chicago rent prices rose by as much as 64 percent year over year.

Now that things are heading back to normal, employers increasingly want their staff to return to the office. But are they willing to pay the salaries employees need to live nearby? Continuing to offer remote options is a way to curb the impact of wage increases. But that’s not the only reason to consider keeping remote positions. Here are three top ways hiring remote workers can help organizations succeed in today’s market.

1. it’s less expensive

Employers who want to bring staff back into the office may pay top dollar to do so. However, positions that remain remote can be done from anywhere. This means hiring candidates in regions with lower salary ranges can help organizations pay equitably and still find the workforce they need.

Top in-demand finance and accounting jobs have varying pay ranges. Positions such as controllers and senior accountants see the biggest variations while roles like payroll coordinators are more in line regardless. Financial analysts fall somewhere in the middle. This data, along with regional variances, can inform which positions to hire remotely. Some sample regional variances from our salary guide include:

  • San Francisco: 64.8%
  • Atlanta: -4.1%
  • Boston: 34.5%
  • Charlotte: -1.7%

2. it increases the talent pool

Big-city life may not have quite the same appeal for the workforce it once did. The results of our latest Workmonitor survey point to this trend:

Nearly three-quarters of survey respondents believe flexibility of work location is important.

Millennials and Gen Z feel the strongest about having a choice of where they work, with three-quarters responding in favor. However, a clear majority (60%) of 55 to 67 year olds feel the same.

This means the best candidates may not live in the same city as the organization. Allowing for remote or flexible work options can ensure employers have access to the best talent.

3. it promotes flexibility

While finance and accounting functions weren’t as impacted by the pandemic as other industries, organizations are still facing human capital issues with regard to these roles. One is a shift in job descriptions to allow for more flexibility.

For example, controllers are taking a more prominent role as strategic business partners within their organizations, while financial analysts must be increasingly competent with AI, machine learning and data science in a digital age. The need for broader skill sets in key positions can be easier to find when the talent pool extends to remote employees.

Organizations should consider whether the benefits of bringing staff back to the office outweighs the costs. Randstad’s 2023 Finance & Accounting Salary Guide provides valuable data to drive informed decisions. Get the guide here.