Accounting and Finance Professionals, Do You Know Your Kelley Blue Book® Value?

When conducting a job search, it is important to “practice what you practice” based on the nature of your detailed, oriented profession.

To illustrate this “practice what you practice” concept, let’s review your last automobile purchase:

You determined which auto (make and model) was best for you, as well as your price range, and you immediately googled and landed on a resource site such as Kelley Blue Book, which allowed you to determine the market value of the auto. This was followed up by a review of the History and Safety reports utilizing sites like CARFAX® and Edmunds®. After a test drive, you decided to negotiate a deal based on your many hours of research on multiple pricing, history, and safety websites. You pay a fair and market price. Deal is done!

Based on this process and your current position, you will acquire an economical car (Ford Focus), a mid-range car (Honda Accord) or a luxury car (Range Rover). Now, let’s look at your Professional Blue Book.

Determine the type of professional you are by answering the following:


  • What type of position are you in? (Accountant, Financial Analyst, CFO)


  • What professional level are you at? (Entry, Senior, Manager, Director, Executive, etc.)


  • How many years of relevant experience do you have?



  • What does your career history look like?
  • Do you have a low number of jobs or a high number of jobs?
  • What do your past performance reviews look like?
  • Have you worked for a blue chip company, local company, or start-up company?
  • Have you received professional awards or have you been recognized professionally?
  • Have you ever been terminated in the past?
  • Can you pass a background check?

Please note that you will fall within one of the following historical categories as a professional (percentage represents the typical market average of candidates):

  • Fair: 18%
  • Good: 56%
  • Very Good: 23%
  • Excellent: 3%


• What type of Degree, Advanced Degree, Certification(s), and/or Systems Experience do you have?

Now that you know your make, model, options, etc., it is time for you to determine your value:

Like it or not, you need to start with your current compensation. Unfortunately, most employers utilize your current compensation as the #1 baseline in providing you an offer, and yes, they will ask for you to verify your compensation through pay stubs or a W-2 during the application process, or prior to the offer stage of the interview.

Knowing your current compensation and interviewing for “next level” positions is the appropriate way to grow in your career. Yes, some will jump a level at times in their career but this is not typical and should not be considered the norm. When moving to the next level you should expect to earn no more than 10% more than your current salary. For example, if you are in a Financial Analyst position making $50,000 and you interview and accept a Financial Analyst II position in the same geographic market, typically you will increase your salary to $53,000-$55,000. You will likely have the opportunity to increase your total compensation through incentive programs (bonus), lower cost insurance plans and retirement plans. If you are at $50,000 and discuss compensation with a professional recruiter or prospective employer that you are looking for a minimum of $65,000, know that this is not realistic and you will be searching for a long period of time.

So, when you are determining your Professional Blue Book Value, you can utilize salary tools such as LinkedIn Salary, or Glassdoor. Your trusted local recruiter, Vaco, will provide honest, accurate and timely compensation information as we deal with this on a daily basis.

To be successful in your job search, you MUST be honest with yourself and where you are in your career. Are you a Ford Focus, Honda Accord or Range Rover? If you do not determine this prior to your job search, you will not be able to obtain an acceptable offer and you will not be able to close the deal.

Freeman, Clif. Fri, 3 Mar 2017. “Accounting and Finance Professionals, Do You Know Your Kelley Blue Book® Value?” Article Retrieved from: