2019 Finance and Accounting Salary Guide

January 22, 2019 6 mins read
2019 Finance and Accounting Salary Guide

Expected salary ranges in 2019 for Finance and Accounting professionals in Shanghai, working in commercial businesses.

Accounting & Finance Salaries in Commerce & Industry | Accounting/SSCFP & AInternal AuditTreasury Tax Cost Accounting
Commentary on Finance and Accounting Roles and Remuneration in Shanghai for 2019


Basic Salary Per Month (¥)

Accounting & Finance

Accounting & Finance Salaries in Commerce & Industry (Per Month)
Role Low High
Finance Manager (8-10 years) 25,000 38,000
Senior Finance Manager (Manager 10-15 years) 38,000 55,000
Financial Controller (15+ years) 55,000 80,000
Financial Director (15+ years) 80,000 120,000
VP / CFO (18+ years) 120,000 -
Regional Financial Controller (15+ years) 60,000 90,000
Regional Finance Director (15+ years) 90,000 130,000
Regional VP / CFO (15+ years) 130,000 -


Role Low High
Junior Staff 3-5 years 6,000 12,000
Analyst/Supervisor 5-7 years 12,000 20,000
Manager 8-10 years 20,000 35,000
Senior Manager 10-15 years 35,000 60,000
Director / SSC Head 15+ years  60,000 90,000
FP & A
Role Low High
Junior Staff 3-5 years 10,000 15,000
Analyst/Supervisor 5-7 years 15,000 25,000
Manager 8-10 years 25,000 45,000
Senior Manager 10-15 years 45,000 65,000
Director / CFO 15+ years  65,000 120,000


Internal Audit
Role Low High
Junior Staff 3-5 years 10,000 15,000
Analyst/Supervisor 5-7 years 15,000 25,000
Manager 8-10 years 25,000 45,000
Senior Manager 10-15 years 45,000 65,000
Director 15+ years 65,000 100,000
Role Low High
Junior Staff 3-5 years 10,000 15,000
Analyst/Supervisor 5-7 years 15,000 25,000
Manager 8-10 years 25,000 45,000
Senior Manager 10-15 years 45,000 65,000
Director / CFO 15 years above 65,000 100,000


Role Low High
Junior Staff 3-5 years 10,000 15,000
Analyst/Supervisor 5-7 years 15,000 28,000
Manager 8-10 years 28,000 50,000
Senior Manager 10-15 years 50,000 70,000
Director 15+ years  70,000 110,000
Cost Accounting
Role Low High
Junior Staff 3-5 years 8,000 15,000
Analyst/Supervisor 5-7 years 15,000 23,000
Manager 8-10 years 23,000 35,000
Senior Manager 10-15 years 35,000 50,000

Commentary on Finance and Accounting Roles and Remuneration in Shanghai for 2019

2018 Trends in Finance and Accounting Recruitment in Greater China

In 2018, the recruitment market for finance and accounting continued on a downward trajectory, an ongoing trend since 2014. Hiring remained steady, with the usual peaks in Q1 and Q4 coinciding with budgeting seasons, but with fewer jobs arriving on the scene, the labour market was decidedly less fluid as job security became an increasing priority for employees. 

Due to macroeconomic trends, the market forecast and unfavourable government policy, MNCs were hesitant to invest in headcount in China over the last 12 months. These same organisations were replacing senior talent with junior level roles as part of a cost-saving strategy, and we saw a decrease in the overall number of senior finance positions with a package of over RMB 1.5 million. Generally, salaries increased at a much flatter rate than in previous years with lateral moves and a slight down pay becoming more acceptable for candidates.

With jobs in shorter supply, it remained an employer’s market and hiring managers had a large number of high-quality applicants to choose from when filling a role. In contrast, candidates experienced a tougher search and extended hiring process, waiting on average 6-8 months and in some cases up to a year to find the right role. This is a stark contrast to recent years, when a recruitment process of around 3 months and a candidate having several offers on the table was the norm.

In-demand Roles, Skills and Qualifications for Finance and Accounting Professionals

Financial planning analysis and business partnering remained the hottest disciplines in 2018. There was also an increase in system-related finance jobs, such as SAP finance consultants and finance process improvement managers as companies prioritised cost saving and sought to gain higher levels of efficiency by continually optimising their systems. 

Job applicants possessing CPA, ACCA, AICPA qualifications remain highly sought-after, as does experience and training in any of the Big Four accounting firms. CIMA and CMA qualifications also get hiring managers and recruiters’ attention. For candidates with a desire to step into upper management-level roles, those with the time and money to invest in an MBA degree from a well-regarded institution would set themselves in good stead. 

Workplace Trends Impacting Finance and Accounting Professionals in Mainland China

Generally, talent in the market was more mobile and flexible compared to years prior. Whereas previously candidates were steadfast in only accepting jobs in Tier 1 cities, they are now more open-minded towards working location and we saw an increasing number of candidates consider and accept offers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. 

Contracting is undergoing a period of growth in China, and 2018 witnessed an increase in the number of contracting roles offered by companies and being sought-out by talent. Candidates, particularly female, middle-aged talents, were more open to contract, freelance and part-time roles than before as they seek greater work-life balance. 

The past 12 months saw a significant increase in the number of job opportunities available at joint ventures. Due to government policy restricting foreign investment into China, partnerships between foreign and Chinese investors under the joint venture structure have become more common over the past few years and we expect to see these roles increase in number as more foreign firms seek to leverage the resources of Chinese partners. 

Candidates continue to be drawn to companies that work in the booming, on-trend sectors such as tech and Internet businesses as well as Artificial Intelligence, entertainment, education and healthcare. In the consumer industry, sub-sectors like sportswear, baby care, nutrition and health all remain attractive to candidates due to the range of work and more flexible work culture. Another notable trend in the past few years which remained throughout 2018, is an increasing willingness from finance and accounting candidates to consider and accept roles in local Chinese companies. However, due to a generally lower financial and compliance standards, finance and CPA professionals should remain vigilant.

While the industry is not expected to be impacted by large technology trends in the near future, the Big Four accounting firms have launched accounting automation solutions to help professionals work more efficiently. We expect to see new digital tools automate repetitive, manual tasks, freeing up employees to concentrate on areas where human judgment is needed.

What Does the Future Hold for Finance and Accounting Professionals? Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

In general, there is less optimism towards the finance and accounting job market in 2019 due to macroeconomic trends and the uncertainty generated by the US-China trade war, which may have a more severe impact in the coming 12 months.

2019 will remain an employers’ market and organisations will have a large pool of talent from which to draw from. Advice for candidates in this competitive labour market is to be more flexible in terms of job title, location and package. Technological improvements will definitely impact traditional accounting work, from automating repetitive tasks to harnessing the power of AI to complete assignments in record speed and detect anomalies. We advise candidates to improve their management accounting and business partnership experience as these areas will be less impacted by technology.

With many professionals more willing to work for local Chinese companies, candidates are advised to approach these roles through professional recruitment firms who can screen businesses to ensure they are fully compliant. Candidates can unknowingly put themselves in a risky position if they do not have a complete insight into the financial status of a company.

Tracy Luo's picture
Tracy Luo
Associate Director | Finance & Strategy Recruitment