What are the highest paying jobs in Australia for finance experts?

By Robert Half on 20 April 2018

The finance and accounting industry in Australia remains heavily affected by the ongoing forces of digitisation. While this is automating many traditional finance roles and functions, it is also creating new jobs and opportunities.

Research by Robert Half revealed that 86% of Australian CFOs agree that workplace automation does not imply a reduction in finance employees, rather presents a shift in the skills required to succeed in the industry.

As such, there is a high demand for candidates with diverse skillsets, such as the possession of commercial acumen to drive business agendas forward. Five of these roles have been detailed below, selected based on the 50th percentile or mid-point salaries for roles analysed in Robert Half’s Salary Guide.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO) / Finance Director

Whether managing the financial affairs of a small business or a large corporate organisation, the CFO or Finance Director is responsible for the planning, implementation, managing and running of all finance activities at an organisation. These roles are key parts of the executive management team and will work closely with the CEO.

  • Demands and responsibilities of the role include:
  • Providing leadership, direction and management to the finance and accounting team
  • Managing financial forecasting and budgets and preparing comprehensive financial reports
  • Advising on long-term business and financial strategy
  • Establishing positive relationships with senior internal and external stakeholders
  • Ongoing improvement of all organisational finance procedures

The strategic nature of this senior role, combined with the responsibility of ensuring productivity amid ongoing technological change makes it one of the highest paying finance jobs in Australia.

Business Advisory Services Director

This role is responsible for providing commercial advice and a range of business advisory services to the clients of an organisation. Business Advisory Services Directors are senior employees and required for a range of industries to ensure business growth and continued relevance.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Providing financial advice and innovative solutions to an organisation’s clients and market
  • Negotiating and executing contracts
  • Managing stakeholder relationships and proposals
  • Leading multiple high-level projects simultaneously and to deadline
  • Developing asset management and market engagement strategies

Business Advisory Services Directors are responsible for creating long-term strategy, assessing industry competition and providing specialised advice on how to succeed and increase capital. By doing so, they add value to organisations in every sector, making this role in-demand, and also one of the highest paying finance jobs in Australia.

Head of Tax

As the name suggests, the Head of Tax is responsible for leading the taxation process at an organisation. A critical position across all industries, the role ensures compliance with national authorities such as the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and any industry or sector standards.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Liaising with various teams on organisational tax and accounting procedures
  • Managing ATO communication, including reviews and audits
  • Identifying opportunities to streamline processes and create efficiencies
  • Resolving taxation issues and providing comprehensive and lasting solutions
  • Report to the executive team and the Board on important tax matters

Although many accounting functions have been automated through digitisation, the Head of Tax position remains an important and highly paid role in the finance and accounting sector in Australia. The role attracts exceptional remuneration due to the significant and highly relevant industry experience required for success. A high level of expertise is also required by any Head of Tax, and the best candidates often possess specialised industry certifications, such as those offered by CPA (Certified Practising Accountant) Australia.

Commercial Manager

Commercial Managers are responsible for finding, assessing and securing advantageous business opportunities for an organisation. They work across a range of teams to ensure commercial alignment and continual growth.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Managing the staff, resources and projects of an organisation’s commercial team
  • Researching opportunities for business growth and expansion
  • Implementing contracts and commercial processes
  • Preparing and distributing business reports
  • Influencing and shaping business goals and targets

In the age of digitisation and automation, both forces that disrupt and displace traditional sources of income, Commercial Managers are key to finding new revenue streams and innovative value opportunities for organisations. Their commercial acumen is highly prized, used to ensure profitable projects are successful from inception to completion. As such, they are one of the highest paying finance jobs in Australia.

Internal Audit Manager

Internal Audit Managers work within an organisation to monitor and assess how risks are managed, determining overall efficacy of existing internal processes. Once a thorough assessment is made, they make recommendations to their organisation on how to improve and streamline process.

Demands and responsibilities of the role include:

  • Anticipating emerging issues through data analysis and assessment
  • Communicating risk assessment findings to a range of stakeholders at an organisation
  • Advising and assisting in the development of internal audit and risk management methodology
  • Providing continued risk and compliance education to a variety of teams and staff
  • Reporting on risk management issues to executive staff and Board members

The Internal Audit Manager is a role essential to ensuring that the adoption of new processes and technology is safe and sustainable. Given this high level of responsibility and seniority, they remain a well remunerated role in Australia.

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