Starting salaries in the accounting and finance fields are expected to rise an average of 3.1% in the coming year.

Business analysts, tax accountants and financial analysts are among the professionals projected to see notable increases, according to staffing company Robert Half International’s 2011 Salary Guide. The data in the 2011 Salary Guide are national average starting salaries and based on an analysis of the thousands of job placements managed by the company's U.S. offices. The 2011 Salary Guide is accompanied by the Robert Half Salary Center, featuring additional analysis on hiring and compensation trends and the Robert Half Salary Calculator, which allows users to quickly determine the starting salary range for their specific position and location.

“Companies seek experienced professionals who can improve efficiencies, facilitate business growth and manage rising business volume, yet many employers continue to report challenges finding the precise talent they need,” said Robert Half International chairman and CEO Max Messmer in a statement. “In response, some firms are improving their compensation packages to attract the best candidates for high-demand roles.”

Salaries for most specialties are expected to rise 1 to 3% next year. Senior business analysts are expected to see the largest boost in base pay in 2011, with their average starting salary rising 5.0% to the range of $66,500 to $85,500. The projected base pay for tax accounting managers at midsize companies ($25 million to $250 million in sales) is $69,500 to $92,500, up 4.9%.

Starting salaries for financial analysis managers at both large (more than $250 million in sales) and midsized companies are predicted to climb 4.8%. Senior financial analysts at midsize companies are predicted to see their base compensation rise to $60,000 to $78,000, a 4.7% increase.

Senior compliance analysts at small companies (up to $25 million in sales) are anticipated to receive starting salary offers between $58,750 and $75,250, a 4.1% increase. Average starting salaries for tax services senior managers and directors as well as senior tax accountants at midsized public accounting firms ($25 million to $250 million in sales) are expected to climb 3.9% in the year ahead.

Base pay for senior auditors at midsize public accounting firms is expected to range between $62,000 and $81,750, up 3.8% over 2010 levels. Within financial services, compliance managers can anticipate a 4.4% gain in base pay, to a range of $64,500 to $89,000.

“In addition to strong functional expertise, companies seek finance staff who possess outstanding soft skills and proficiency with relevant software packages,” said Messmer. “Professionals also can enhance their marketability — and earning power — by obtaining an industry-recognized accreditation, such as the certified public accountant designation.”