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How Much Does an Accountant Make?
Salary outlook, what is the outlook for accountants.
The BLS projects 81,800 new jobs to open in the accounting field by 2031. The profession is expected to grow by 6%.
Best-Paying Cities for Accountants
The 5 best-paying cities for accountants.
Best-Paying States for Accountants
The states and districts that pay Accountants the highest mean salary are District of Columbia ($110,240), New York ($105,790), New Jersey ($97,950), California ($92,840), and Massachusetts ($92,310).
What is the Accountant Salary by Place of Employment?
Frequently asked questions, average accountant pay vs. other best jobs.
Bookkeeping Accounting and Audit Clerk
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8 Types of Accounting: Careers, Degrees, and Salaries
Discover types of accounting, skills, salaries in different jobs, qualifications, and certifications, as well as the steps to getting started.
Accounting is a growing industry in the US, having generated over $141 billion in 2022, according to Statista's research [ 1 ]. Accountants themselves are in demand in various industries, from government and nonprofit organizations to manufacturing and service firms. According to Lightcast™, the number of accountants and auditors will increase by 2 percent in 2023 from last year. There were 1,390,915 in 2022 and 2023 will add 27,829 more .
As an accountant, you can specialize in different areas of accounting, each with its unique accounting career path, certification requirements, and average salary. If you enjoy working with numbers, you might find that one of the accounting fields below is right for you.
What is accounting?
Accounting is the process of recording, classifying, and summarizing financial transactions to provide useful information when making business decisions and complying with laws and regulations.
Different types of accounting exist because businesses have different financial needs. For example, public companies are required by law to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), while private companies may use any accounting method that suits their needs.
Most accounting jobs will generally require at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Many employers also require accounting candidates to have professional certifications, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.
Read more: What Is a CPA and How Do I Become One?
Why is accounting important?
Accounting is a crucial process for organizations, as it helps them evaluate their financial health. More specifically, accounting enables organizations to:
Measure their financial performance over a period of time
Compare current and historical financial data
Comply with tax laws and regulations
Make financially sound business decisions
Share financial data with stakeholders
Who sets accounting standards?
There are several regulatory bodies that determine the accounting standards that guide accounting practices. These include:
Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) establishes financial accounting and reporting standards for public, private, and non-profit organizations that follow the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) helps taxpayers understand and meet tax obligations and enforces the laws.
National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) helps accounting regulators, educators, and practitioners maintain the accounting profession's viability and ensures public protection.
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) oversees how public companies and SEC-registered brokers and dealers are regulated.
Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) establishes accounting and financial reporting standards for governments at the state and local level.
Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board (FASAB) improves federal financial reporting standards and guides users on what to do with federal financial information.
Read more: What Is a Staff Accountant? And How to Become One
Accounting fun fact
Did you know? Musicians Mick Jagger and Janet Jackson, comedian Eddie Izzard, and author John Grisham all studied accountancy before they went on to fame!
What are the types of accounting?
Several different types of accounting exist to meet the needs of various organizations. These include but are not limited to the following:
Accounting information systems
You can specialize in niche areas of accounting too. These include but are not limited to the following:
Political campaign accounting
As the accounting field continues to evolve, new types of accounting are likely to emerge to meet the ever-changing business and organization’s needs. Explore different types of accounting jobs and salaries below.
Financial accounting focuses on the financial statements prepared for external users, such as shareholders and creditors. The goal is to provide accurate and timely information that will help these individuals make informed decisions about the company.
Careers and salaries
One of the reasons you might choose to work in financial accounting is that it is a stable and secure career path with many opportunities for advancement.
Financial accounting is a critical function within any organization, and it can be satisfying to know that you are helping managers to make sound financial decisions. Working in financial accounting can also be personally fulfilling, as it allows you to use your analytical and problem-solving skills to improve the financial health of businesses.
Examples of financial accounting job titles and US base salaries, as of April 2023:
Chief financial officer: $178,356 [ 3 ]
Financial accountant: $69,853 [ 4 ]
Accounting officer: $51,941 [ 5 ]
Glassdoor's top-rated companies hiring chief financial officers, as of April 2023, include: Burkland Associates, South Carolina Federal Credit Union, The Conner Group, Thermacell, and New Western.
This type of accounting provides information to internal users, such as managers and executives. The goal is to help these individuals make decisions about how to run the company in a way that will maximize profitability.
Management accountants produce financial reports that help managers decide how to run their business. They use their accounting, finance, and economics skills to provide insights into capital, margin and constraint analysis, inventory levels, and costs. In addition, management accountants may also be involved in planning and budgeting, risk management, decision analysis, and performance measurement.
Careers, specializations, and salaries
Management accounting is a challenging and rewarding career that can offer opportunities for advancement and high earning potential. With education, certification, and experience, management accountants can become financial controllers or even chief financial officers (CFOs) of companies. As a management accountant, you may also choose to open your own accounting practice or become a consultant .
Examples of management accounting job titles and US base salaries, as of April 2023:
Financial controller: $99,555 [ 6 ]
Management accountant: $91,583 [ 7 ]
Financial analyst : $69,196 [ 8 ]
Glassdoor's top rated companies hiring financial analysts, as of April 2023, include: Intuit, ServiceNow, Akamai, NVIDIA, and CHG Healthcare.
Management accountants often pursue the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation. To gain CMA certification, you must pass an Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) exam. The CMA exam covers topics that include:
Technology and analytics
Planning and forecasting
Typically, management accountants have at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. Many management accountants also have a master's degree in accounting, business, finance, or a related field.
Read more: Becoming a Certified Management Accountant? Here's What You Need to Know
This type of accounting focuses on the preparation of tax returns and tax payments. The goal is to ensure that the company pays the correct amount of taxes; does not overpay or underpay.
Tax accountants use their knowledge of tax laws and regulations to ensure that their clients comply with the law and minimize their tax liability. Tax accountants may also be involved in tax planning and advising clients on how to structure their affairs.
Read more: How to Become a Tax Accountant: Your Guide
Among the reasons you may choose to work in tax accounting are the various tax laws. Every year, the IRS updates the tax code, which provides new challenges for tax accountants. You must stay up-to-date on the latest changes to prepare your clients' taxes properly. Additionally, tax accountants must be able to navigate the complex web of tax laws to find the best way to minimize their clients' taxes and provide tax advice. Seeing your clients save money on their taxes can also be gratifying.
Examples of tax accounting job titles and US base salaries:
Tax accountant: $67,811 [ 9 ]
Forensic accountant: $64,588 [10 ]
Tax specialist: $53,995 [ 11 ]
Glassdoor's top rated companies hiring forensic accountants, as of April 2023, include: Studler Doyle, IT Veterans, Reichman & Associates, PC, Morones Analytics, and HSSK.
The most common certification for tax accountants is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. Other popular certifications include the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and Certified Management Accountant (CMA) . Each of these certifications requires the completion of specific education and experience requirements, as well as passing an examination.
Government accounting focuses on the financial reporting requirements of governmental entities such as cities, states, and federal agencies. The goal is to ensure that these entities are transparent in their financial dealings and use taxpayer money wisely. Government accountants provide financial services to government agencies and organizations. Some duties may include:
Producing financial reports and audits
Forecasting future revenue streams
Preparing tax schedules
Managing payroll accounts
Analyzing expenditures to ensure compliance with legal requirements
Government accountants keep track of the money that the government spends. They ensure all spending is within the budget and that there is no fraud or waste. Government accountants may work for federal, state, or local governments.
Keep in mind
Government accounting is different from private-sector accounting. It can be more complicated and detailed than private-sector accounting because of the increased amount of regulations and requirements for how money is spent and accounted for in a public setting.
Government accountants have the opportunity to help ensure public funds are used efficiently and effectively. You'll also help ensure compliance with laws and regulations and contribute to policy-making decisions. Government accounting may have various challenging and interesting work assignments. This type of accounting tends to offer excellent job security and benefits that are often very competitive.
Examples of government accounting job titles and US base salaries:
Government accountant: $71,360 [ 12 ]
Government auditor: $70,401 [ 13 ]
Government financial manager: $110,835 [14 ]
Government financial analyst: $83,102 [ 15 ]
The specific certifications required for government accounting positions vary depending on the position level and the jurisdiction in which it is located. However, government accountants often complete the Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) from the Association of Government Accountants or certifications from the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) board.
Accounting information systems
Accountants use accounting information systems to collect, store, and analyze financial data. In this role, you will use these systems to track a company's financial transactions, generate reports, and help decide where to allocate resources.
Accounting information systems specialists design and maintain the computer systems used to store financial data. You will use your knowledge of accounting principles and information technology to help organizations automate their financial processes. Accounting information systems specialists may also be involved in the following:
Capturing financial records
Compiling financial documents
Processing financial data
Ensuring accountability and compliance
Demand for technical expertise
The demand for accountants with technical expertise is expected to rise because many companies are using more complex software programs, such as SAP ERP and Oracle Financials, instead of spreadsheets and manual processes.
Accounting information systems roles are typically well-compensated, in high demand, and have a high degree of job security. These roles are often critical for a business to operate, and as such, companies are often unwilling to outsource or eliminate them.
Accounting information systems specialists must have a strong understanding of accounting principles and computer science concepts. You may find employment with a variety of businesses or agencies. Professionals work in various industries, including:
Health care and social assistance
Here are some accounting information systems jobs and US base salaries:
Accounting information systems analyst: $73,833 [ 16 ]
Accounting data analyst: $64,419 [17 ]
Accounting systems manager: $96,201 [ 18 ]
Glassdoor's top rated companies hiring accounting systems managers, as of April 2023, include: RLI, Match, and Thompson & Knight.
Degree and certification requirements
The first step to becoming an accounting information systems professional is to earn a bachelor's degree. While no specific majors will qualify you for this position, you should look for a program that includes courses in accounting, business, computer science, and information systems.
While a specific certification in accounting information systems does not yet exist, you can pursue various certifications that focus on different aspects of accounting and information systems. For example, the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification focuses on auditing and controlling information systems, while the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification focuses on overall accounting principles and practices. Software vendors, such as Microsoft and Oracle, also offer various certifications focusing on their respective accounting software products.
Forensic accountants investigate fraud and embezzlement cases. They use their skills in accounting and investigation to gather evidence and build cases against individuals or organizations accused of wrongdoing. Forensic accountants may also be involved in testifying in court as expert witnesses.
Careers, specializations, job outlook, and salaries
The work of a forensic accountant is interesting and challenging, and it can make a difference in the world. Forensic accounting is a growing and high-demand field because of the rise in fraud and increasing financial regulations.
Examples of forensic accounting job titles and US base salaries:
Fraud examiner: $74,756 [ 19 ]
Forensic accountant: $64,588 [ 20 ]
Forensic auditor: $60,960 [ 21 ]
Glassdoor's top rated companies hiring fraud analysts, as of April 2023, include: Barclays, Expedia Group, Bank of America, American Express, and Capital One.
Read more: What Is Forensic Accounting? (Education, Careers, and More)
You have a choice of several certifications in forensic auditing. One of the most respected is the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) certification offered by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). To earn the CFE designation, you must:
Be a member of ACFE
Meet minimum educational requirements based on a point system
Have two years of professional fraud experience
Pass an examination
Agree to follow an ethics code
The CFE credential is recognized and respected by businesses, governments, and law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Public accounting is the field of accounting that deals with the financial statements and records of public, government, and non-profit organizations. Public accountants ensure that these organizations' financial statements comply with generally accepted accounting principles. They may also provide tax, advisory, and consulting services to their clients.
A public accountant has the opportunity to work with a variety of clients and different types of businesses, which can be interesting and challenging.
You may also have various work tasks and responsibilities, including auditing, tax, or consulting projects. Public accounting firms typically offer opportunities for promotion and pay increases. With hard work and dedication, you can move up quickly in your career and increase your earnings. The demand for public accountants is set to increase as more companies seek assistance in complying with new accounting standards and regulations.
Examples of public accounting job titles and US base salaries:
Certified public accountant (CPA): $83,308 [ 22 ]
Auditor: $52,697 [ 23 ]
Tax advisor : $63,439 [ 24 ]
Glassdoor's top rated companies hiring tax advisors, as of April 2023, include: Intuit, TaxAct, H&CO, Timberline Tax Group, and The Fox Alliance.
Read more: Public Accounting: Careers, Skills, and How to Become a CPA
To become a public accountant, you'll typically need to become a CPA and have a four-year degree in accounting from an accredited college or university. In addition to passing the CPA exam, public accountants must also meet continuing education requirements set by state boards of accountancy.
This type of accounting involves an independent review of a company's financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and in compliance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Auditors may also perform operational audits to assess an organization's internal controls or compliance with standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley.
Auditing is a stable and secure profession. It is also a well-paid profession, with the potential to earn a high salary. This type of accounting career path can be challenging and interesting, which can provide you with a great deal of intellectual stimulation.
Examples of auditing job titles and US base salaries:
Internal auditor: $66,159 [ 25 ]
External auditor: $63,367 [ 26 ]
Glassdoor's top rated companies hiring external auditors, as of April 2023, include: Deloitte, EY, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Smith & Nephew, and RSM.
Some of the most popular auditing certifications include the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) , and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designation. Each of these certifications requires different levels of education and experience, so it’s important to research each one thoroughly before making a decision.
How to launch an accounting career
If you are ready to launch a career in accounting, follow these steps to streamline your process:
Reflect on your career goals . What do you want to achieve and why? What accounting role would you like to fill?
Investigate different types of accounting. Which areas of this field peak your interest and offer the career future you seek?
Get an accounting education. Look into accounting degree programs to find one that best suits your needs. Compare their costs, application processes, and reputations. In addition, obtain the certifications and/or licensures required by your specific area of accounting.
Gain accounting experience. Search job sites for entry-level jobs in accounting that may lead to your long-term career goals.
Refine your accounting resume. As you obtain credentials and gain experience in accounting, be sure to keep your resume updated. Also consider practicing your interviewing skills so that you can approach career advancement opportunities with confidence.
Read more: 9 Accounting Interview Questions + How To Prepare Answers
Learn accounting with Coursera
Taking online courses can be a great way to build job-ready skills in accounting. The Intuit Academy Bookkeeping Professional Certificate is a good place to build a foundation in the accounting field and qualify for entry-level jobs. If you're ready to further your career, consider Google's advanced professional certificates in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics , and build skills for handling large amounts of data.
Statista. " Accounting industry in the US - statistics and facts , https://www.statista.com/topics/2121/accounting-industry-in-the-us/#editorsPicks." Accessed April 21, 2023.
Lightcast™ Analyst. "Occupation Summary for Accountants and Auditors." Accessed April 21, 2023.
Glassdoor. “ How much does a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/chief-financial-officer-cfo-salary-SRCH_KO0,27.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
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Glassdoor. “ How much does a Financial Analyst make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/financial-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,17.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
Glassdoor. “ How much does a Tax Accountant make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/tax-accountant-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
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Glassdoor. “ How much does a Tax Specialist make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/tax-specialist-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm.” Accessed Accessed April 24, 2023.
Glassdoor. “ How much does a Government Accountant make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/government-accountant-salary-SRCH_KO0,21.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
Glassdoor. “ How much does a Government Auditor make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/government-auditor-salary-SRCH_KO0,18.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
Glassdoor. “ Salary Details for a Financial Manager at United States Federal Government , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/United-States-Federal-Government-Financial-Manager-Salaries-E236635_D_KO33,50.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
Glassdoor. “ Salary Details for a Financial Analyst at United States Federal Government , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salary/United-States-Federal-Government-Financial-Analyst-Salaries-E236635_D_KO33,50.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
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Glassdoor. “ How much does an Accounting Data Analyst make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/accounting-data-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm Accessed April 24, 2023.
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Glassdoor. “ How much does a Fraud Examiner make? , https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/fraud-examiner-salary-SRCH_KO0,14.htm.” Accessed April 24, 2023.
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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
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Accountant Salary in the United States
How much does the average accountant make in the united states.
The average salary for an Accountant in the United States is between $56,000 and $121,190 as of November 27, 2023. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the actual Accountant position you are looking for. With more online, real-time compensation data than any other website, Salary.com helps you determine your exact pay target. View the Cost of Living in Major Cities
- What They Do
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- Related Careers
- Working Environment
What is an Accountant?
An accountant analyzes and organizes the financial information and transactions of an organization. They ensure that principles and standards like GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) are followed and that all required reporting is prepared and completed. Accountants may be found in any industry. Some accountants may specialize in a particular type of industry like healthcare or energy, or have a specialization, such as tax accounting or cost accounting.
Learn More About
Maintains financial records and ensures that financial transactions are properly recorded. Ensures the accuracy of entries to ledger accounts and reconciles subsidiary ledger accounts to the general ledger. Compiles financial data to aid more senior accountants in the preparation of balance sheets, profit and loss statements and other financial reports. Assists in analyzing cur... View job details
Maintains financial records and ensures that financial transactions are properly recorded. Ensures the accuracy of entries to ledger accounts and reconciles subsidiary ledger accounts to the general ledger. Prepares balance sheets, profit and loss statements and other financial reports. Analyzes current costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations incurred to predict... View job details
Maintains financial records and ensures that financial transactions are properly recorded. Ensures the accuracy of entries to ledger accounts and reconciles subsidiary ledger accounts to the general ledger. Prepares complex balance sheets, profit and loss statements and other financial reports. Analyzes current costs, revenues, financial commitments, and obligations incurred to... View job details
What degree or educational requirements does an accountant need?
What are the best schools offering accountanting programs, are accountants in demand, what jobs are similar to or related to accountant, where can i find more information about accountant training and career opportunities, what is the working environment for an accountant, accountant jobs, related salary.com content.
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Learn all about the accounting profession with this detailed guide! Find out the skills required, common job types, and average salaries for accountants.
Accounting Career Overview: Types of Jobs, Salaries, and More
Detail-oriented people who enjoy working with numbers often pursue accounting careers. Accountants typically deal with the current financial activity of an individual or organization through meticulous record keeping and astute analysis of these numbers.
They also commonly perform actions such as preparing tax returns, inspecting account books for accuracy, ensuring compliance with government regulations, and looking for ways to reduce costs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the accounting field to grow 6% between 2018 and 2028 . While not a booming occupation compared to some other jobs, demand should still be reasonably strong .
Individuals and businesses likely will continue turning to accountants for help with understanding and complying with changing (and sometimes confusing) tax laws. And public accountants in particular may experience favorable prospects because of more companies going public, which creates the need to hire experts well-versed in legally required financial documentation.
FlexJobs is a subscription service for job seekers that features flexible and remote jobs. With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau , the monthly subscription costs allow us to fully vet and verify all of the jobs on our site —ensuring that customers have a safe and positive job searching experience.
Training and Qualifications for Accounting
Education for an accounting career usually starts with an undergraduate degree in accounting or a related discipline. Seeking a master’s degree expands employment opportunities, especially for people desiring high-level positions.
Looking to increase marketability? Many companies hiring accountants only consider applicants who are Certified Public Accountants. This certification greatly expands the types of tasks an accountant is legally allowed to perform . Though each state has its own requirements to become a CPA , the process generally includes 30 semester hours of education beyond a bachelor’s degree and passing a rigorous national exam.
Some people opt to obtain certification requirements to become an Enrolled Agent. EAs are licensed by the federal government and can represent their clients in IRS proceedings, such as audits and appeals.
People interested in accounting careers also should realize the importance of a clean record. Accountants deal with money and sensitive information. Access to these things demands honesty, trustworthiness, and dedication to acting in the best interest of the client being served. Expect prospective employers to conduct an extensive background check.
Skills Needed for Accounting Careers
While not necessarily requiring complex math skills, accounting careers involve comfort around numbers . Computation, analysis, comparison, and interpretation of figures are routine actions.
As they juggle a plethora of documents and demands, accountants need exceptional organizational skills. Mistakes can prove disastrous, so a detail-oriented nature proves useful.
Employers also seek candidates with solid communication skills. Listening carefully to others reduces errors and assists in drawing conclusions, and being able to convey information clearly both verbally and in written reports maximizes understanding among clients, managers, and colleagues.
Types of Accounting Jobs
Average salary per PayScale: $56,501
These professionals determine how much money an individual or company owes in taxes. They possess a thorough knowledge of government rules and regulations that influence this amount and must be committed to staying abreast of changes. Frequently, they provide advice on relevant issues such as minimizing penalties and reducing tax liability. Many are CPAs.
Average salary per PayScale: $66,311
Requiring expertise in both accounting and law, these public accountants investigate potentially criminal financial transactions, such as fraud and embezzlement. Common employers of forensic accountants include banks, insurance companies, police forces, and government agencies.
Average salary per PayScale: $55,886
Auditors prepare and examine financial records. They commonly get described as either internal or external auditors. Companies depend on their internal auditors to look for money mismanagement, waste, and fraud. Some internal auditors specialize in information technology and review their employer’s computer systems. External auditors are not employed by the organization they are auditing. They come in to check the accuracy of the business’s financial statements and report findings to investors and authorities.
Average salary per Salary.com: $195, 911
A career as a controller involves overseeing an entire accounting department within an organization. In addition to supervising employees and their activities, controllers supply managers in other departments with relevant accounting information.
Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
Average salary per Salary.com: $46,730
Companies hire people with accounting backgrounds to perform tasks related to money coming into the organization (accounts receivable) or money the business owes to others (accounts payable). Record keeping, resolving numerical discrepancies, and interacting with clients or creditors regarding payments are typical duties.
Common Accounting Work Environments
People in accounting careers generally work in an on-site or home office, though some travel to their clients’ locations. Accountants may work for the government, private firms, public companies, or be self-employed.
Likewise, plenty of variety exists in whom they serve —from a single large company with complex financial matters to many individuals just needing someone to prepare their annual tax return. During tax season or when budget reports are due, people in accounting careers generally put in long hours.
Professionals oftentimes land employment at a top 10 accounting firm . The Big 4 of these— Deloitte , PricewaterhouseCoopers , EY – Ernst & Young , and KPMG —employ thousands of people for their multitude of locations. All have posted openings on FlexJobs at one time or another, along with other companies that hire for remote accounting jobs .
As you plan a path for an accounting career, the following groups can offer information, assistance, networking, and a sense of community.
AICPA (American Institute of CPAs)
This large, established group is particularly helpful for guidance on everything related to obtaining a CPA and its potential importance to your career. Its Young CPA Network may prove especially useful for newcomers to the field seeking mentorship.
The PASA (Professional Accounting Society of America)
This organization caters to entry- and mid-level professionals working at public accounting firms, and membership is free!
IIA (The Institute of Internal Auditors)
Education and peer connection are two of the main objectives of this group that’s been around since 1941.
Boosting Your Accounting Career
As you weigh various accounting career options, be sure to check out employment opportunities on FlexJobs. If you want to work remotely, find a freelance gig, work part-time, or have a flexible schedule, all of these roles can be found. We promise jobs that are fully vetted by our research team, so that you can focus on finding the flexible accounting job best-suited to your aspirations.
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Accountant Salary and CPA Outlook by State
- Author: Audrey Stoffle
- Editorial Process
Accountants are well-compensated compared to other professions with similar education requirements, though the salary that you can earn as an accountant is dependent on several factors, including your geographic location and level of education and experience. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that candidates with a master’s in accounting may have an advantage in the job market. 1 Certified public accountant (CPA) or other certifications like chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified internal auditor (CIA) can also increase a candidate’s base salary and provide opportunities for promotion. 1 Additional factors that may determine your compensation level include your negotiating skills, the size of the company, and the industry you work in (e.g. insurance, tax preparation, healthcare, and so on). On this page, you will find further information about the factors that impact accountant salaries as well as a table outlining the best states for accountants.
How Much Does an Accountant Make?
The BLS reports that the median annual wage for accountants and auditors nationally was $78,000 as of May 2022. 2 The top-earning 10% of accountants and auditors earned more than $132,690, while the lowest-earning 10% earned less than $48,560. 2 The top-paying industries for accountants and auditors were media streaming distribution services, social networks, and other media networks and content providers ($144,780 per year); drinking places (alcoholic beverages) ($134,270 per year); and computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing ($124,180 per year). 2
Specialty roles within these larger fields also impact salary. According to the Robert Half 2021 Salary Guide, the median salary for senior internal auditors was $90,500 per year, compared to senior financial reporting specialists and SEC financial reporting analysts ($84,500 per year), senior general accountants ($81,000 per year), and senior cost accountants ($81,750 per year). 3 As in other industries, an individual’s experience makes a difference, too. According to Robert Half’s salary data, those with only one to three years of experience in these areas typically make $10,000 to $15,000 less per year than their more senior counterparts. 3 The table below provides an easy-to-digest overview of the differences in requirements, salary, and outlook for different types of accountants.
*As of 2018.
The following sortable table provides data on accounting salaries by state as well as the rate of job growth and the cost of living as it relates to the ratio of the average salary/median home list price. The best states for accountants are weighted by the percentage the average salary buys of the median list price for homes in a given state and the projected job growth. This data can provide insight on whether accounting job growth and salary potential justify the costs of attending a master’s in accounting program .
- Salary Guides from Robert Half : Provides data and analysis of starting salaries, hiring environment, and general financial services trends.
- Association of International Certified Professional Accountants : AICPA is a membership-driven organization that provides professional development and career and salary information specifically for CPAs.
- National Society of Accountants : The NSA provides career resources for working professional accountants in various sectors of industry.
References: 1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm 2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm 3. Robert Half 2021 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals: https://www.roberthalf.com/sites/default/files/documents_not_indexed/2021_Salary_Guide_Financial_US.pdf 4. O*NET OnLine, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2011.00 5. O*NET OnLine, Financial Quantitative Analysts: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2099.01 6. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Analysts: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/financial-analysts.htm 7. O*NET OnLine, Financial Examiners: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/13-2061.00 8. O*NET OnLine, Financial Managers: https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-3031.00 9. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Financial Managers: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/financial-managers.htm 10. Projections Central: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm 11. Zillow Home Value Index, May 2023: https://www.zillow.com/research/data/
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Chartered accountants provide a range of financial advice and accountancy services, including auditing and financial analysis
As a chartered accountant, you'll give advice, audit accounts and provide trustworthy information about financial records. This might involve financial reporting, taxation, auditing, forensic accounting, corporate finance, business recovery and insolvency, or accounting systems and processes.
Chartered accountants work in a range of organisations, including public practice firms and industry and commerce, as well as in the not-for-profit and public sectors. Working strategically, your aim is to maximise profitability on behalf of your client or employer.
As a chartered accountant, you'll need to:
- manage financial systems and budgets
- undertake financial audits (an independent check of an organisation's financial position)
- provide financial advice
- liaise with clients (individuals or businesses) and provide financial information and advice
- review the company's systems and analyse risk
- perform tests to check financial information and systems
- advise clients on tax planning (within current legislation to enable them to minimise their tax liability) and tax issues associated with activities such as business acquisitions and mergers
- maintain accounting records and prepare accounts and management information for small businesses (accountancy)
- advise clients on business transactions, such as mergers and acquisitions (corporate finance)
- counsel clients on areas of business improvement, or dealing with insolvency
- detect and prevent fraud (forensic accounting)
- manage junior colleagues
- liaise with internal and external auditors (where applicable) and deal with any financial irregularities as they arise
- produce reports and recommendations following internal audits or public sector audits
- prepare financial statements, including monthly and annual accounts
- arrange financial management reports, including financial planning and forecasting
- advise on tax and treasury issues
- negotiate terms with suppliers.
- Starting salaries for accountants vary depending on the location, sector, size and type of firm. Graduates can expect to earn salaries of up to £40,000.
- During training, the average earning potential can be up to £65,000.
- The average annual salary for a chartered accountant in business is £134,000, with an average yearly bonus of over £17,000.
Careers in banking and capital markets tend to attract the highest salaries and larger employers generally pay more than smaller ones.
Salary packages may include benefits such as bonuses, profit-sharing schemes, medical insurance, pensions and car allowances.
Income data from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) . Figures are intended as a guide only.
Working hours vary depending on the role and the organisation, but typically aren't 9am to 5pm. Working extra hours in the evening and at weekends is quite common to meet deadlines, particularly in larger firms. As a trainee, you'll usually be given time off in lieu of any overtime worked.
Flexible working arrangements are usually possible after qualification. You could also work independently by setting up as a sole practitioner.
What to expect
- Jobs are available in most areas throughout the UK but are more commonly found in cities and larger towns, where higher salaries are typically earned. Post-qualification opportunities exist overseas. There are also training opportunities overseas with ICAEW .
- Due to the high-profile, high-responsibility nature of the work, the dress code is usually formal.
- Support and advice for women entering accountancy is offered by Women in Banking & Finance , which aims to empower women to reach their full potential. There is currently still a gender pay gap.
- Travel within a working day is frequent in audit work, which is carried out mainly at client premises. Absence from home overnight and occasional overseas travel is possible.
- Working in other areas, such as tax, or in smaller firms, tends to be more office-based with less travel.
Entry is open to graduates of all disciplines, as companies offering training agreements are interested in graduates from a range of backgrounds. Entry to the profession without a degree or HND might be possible, but graduates will have the competitive edge over other candidates. Candidates with a degree are generally preferred to those with an HND by larger employers.
A Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) serves as a useful step between a degree and a training contract. Alternatively, some employers train students to do the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) accounting qualification, which does not require a degree but can lead on to training for chartered status.
As well as a number of other bodies awarding other accountancy qualifications, there are three separate professional institutes of chartered accountants in the UK:
- Chartered Accountants Ireland (oversees both Ireland and Northern Ireland)
All chartered accountancy qualifications lead to the designation 'chartered accountant', and each has equal status, attracting equal recognition. Candidates who qualify through ICAS or Chartered Accountants Ireland receive the designation CA (chartered accountant), while those who qualify with ICAEW are designated ACA (associate of the ICAEW).
One of the most difficult parts of becoming a chartered accountant is securing a training contract with an employer approved by one of the institutes. You'll need good mathematical knowledge and ability, as your numeracy skills will be tested as part of the selection process.
The training contract lasts for three to five years, so it's important to consider the package of training, leave and pay offered by your employers before you commit, as managing professional study while working can become demanding.
The independent auditor of government spending, the National Audit Office (NAO), runs a Chartered Accountancy Training Scheme for graduates and school leavers. Applications are accepted in the autumn of the year before you start. Successful completion of the scheme results in chartership and membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.
Competition is tough and the selection process is rigorous. It's best to start applying in the autumn term of your final year at university to ensure yourself access to the biggest range of opportunities. Look out for the larger firms doing presentations on campus at recruitment fairs.
You'll need to have:
- general business interest and awareness
- self-motivation and commitment, for successfully combining work and study
- communication and interpersonal skills
- organisational and time management skills
- a methodical approach
- IT proficiency
- strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- leadership qualities and effective teamworking skills
- motivation and initiative
- integrity and trustworthiness.
Contact accountancy firms to ask about opportunities to gain relevant pre-entry work experience, such as vacation work, work placements or shadowing.
You can work in any sector and in any size of organisation, although most training opportunities for chartered accountants are in public practice. Before applying to a firm, check that it's authorised by one of the relevant institutes.
Having a range of employers to choose from means you can pick your preferred working environment. Larger firms, where the vacancies are concentrated, have offices in major cities and towns around the country and overseas, whereas smaller firms may be concentrated in a particular location or specialise in a particular type of client.
- public practice - including international accounting organisations or smaller accountancy firms, known as small and medium practices (SMPs) - all providing a variety of accounting and business services to clients
- industry and commerce - including major commercial companies, such as those in the manufacturing, retail and telecoms industries
- public sector - including local and central government, educational institutions, charities and not-for-profit organisations. Historically, the public sector has not been a big recruiter of chartered accountants, but opportunities have increased in recent years.
Look for job vacancies at:
- Chartered Accountants Ireland
- ICAEW Careers
There's a strong emphasis on continuing professional development (CPD) in this career. Once you've qualified as a chartered accountant, you'll need to keep up to date with technical and business issues. Your membership with a professional body will help facilitate this.
Your employer will also provide in-house training on technical and general skills to help you perform well in your job and there may be opportunities to specialise in certain areas, specific to the firm you work for.
Kaplan suggests learning a language (as accountants with language skills are in short supply) or doing some work for a charity to enhance your skill set.
Most chartered accountants train in public practice and the first three years are typically devoted to achieving the CA or ACA qualification. During this time you will build up experience and take on additional responsibilities, including supervising junior staff and liaising more directly with clients.
It may be possible to complete a secondment, where you'd spend time in another area of the practice to broaden your experience, or even work for a period overseas. You would usually remain with the same employer throughout the training contract.
Progression is often structured and opportunities for development and promotion are plentiful. You may become a manager two years after qualification and a senior manager three years after that. Progress to partnership is competitive but is achievable between eight and 15 years after qualification. In small firms, progression may be more rapid. It's possible to attain the position of finance director of a major company within 10 to 15 years of qualification.
After training, around half of all qualified chartered accountants work outside public practice, in commerce, industry, financial services, banking and the public and not-for-profit sector. Typical roles at the newly qualified stage include internal auditor, financial accountant and business analyst.
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Accountant salary in US
Average base salary in us, how much does a accountant make in us.
The average salary for a Accountant in US is $74,222. The average additional cash compensation for a Accountant in US is $6,674. The average total compensation for a Accountant in US is $80,896. Accountant salaries are based on responses gathered by Built In from anonymous Accountant employees in US.
Best-paying cities for accountant, accountant salary by gender, accountant salary by years of experience, accountant salary ranges, average finance salaries in us, what does an accountant do.
An accountant oversees a company's finances, tracking and organizing records to keep companies both cost-effective and compliant with the law.
How to become an accountant?
Most accountants typically have a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or business as well as CMA and CPA certifications. From here, accountants start careers in roles like a bookkeeper or payroll assistant.
How much does an accountant make?
The salary range for an accountant is $42K-$245K. The average salary for a Accountant in US is $74,222.
Accountant jobs in us, skills that affect accountant salaries in us, average accountant salary by company size, recent accountant salaries in us.