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A common reason people get into accounting is because it provides stable, lucrative work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found the 2016 median pay for accountants and auditors was $68,150, or $32.76 per hour. There were nearly 1.4 million accounting or auditing jobs in 2016, and BLS predicted a 10% growth between 2016-26, which is faster than average. This change is expected to result in approximately 140,300 new accounting jobs. As you can see, there’s a lot of room for growth in this field, especially where accounting intersects with lucrative businesses like the tech industry, healthcare, marijuana and robotics. When thinking about salary, remember that many high ranking financial executives at top corporations, non-profits, financial institutions and other organizations began their careers as accountants. People tend to trust and promote people who are sticklers for efficiency, frugality and put the organizations before themselves, all of which is essential to accounting. Let’s take a look at the salaries of people who have Bachelor’s in accounting, and what influences them.
Entry Level Accounting Jobs
Right from the outset, a competent accountant with a Bachelor’s degree has options that pay much more than the national average salary. A position working within the government is a great way to build prestige, and work towards higher pay, benefits and a pension. The National Security Agency is currently looking for an Accountant/Finance & Accounting Analyst, who will earn between $44,941 and $71,467 a year. It requires a Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a business-related field with at least 24 credit hours of accounting. Government jobs sometimes don’t require a CPA license, especially for entry level positions. Bachelor graduates also often work as junior accountants, audit associates, or accounting analysts, but most add certifications or further education to achieve more within the field.
Skills Associated with Higher Pay in Accounting
Accounting is a massive field, and while it most often begins with a Bachelor’s Degree, advancing will require further education, certifications and skills building. Skills that are associated with higher pay in Accounting include financial reporting, financial analysis, general ledger accounting, budget management and financial applications. Accountants need to be extremely organized, detail obsessed, creative, comforting, trustworthy and demonstrate advanced time management skills. Those that do will be significantly rewarded, and it’s important to remember that certain personality traits and skills are just as important as degrees, connections and certifications in accounting.
Certifications Associated with Higher Salaries in Accounting
Bachelor’s in Accounting are often paired with ubiquitous, desired certifications, depending on what you want to do in accounting. If you’re working for a publicly traded company, you’ll need a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. But for example, if you work for the government, you may not need one. Another common certification is the CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), for those looking to work against fraud in their accounting careers. There are many other certifications that are associated with higher salaries in accounting, and a guide mapping them out can be found here. There’s an interesting overlap between accounting and the blossoming tech industry that can be bridged by Certified Information Systems Auditors who pass the CISA exam. CISA’s make sure an organization’s IT/business systems are monitored, controlled and guarded. They also have an average salary of $73,279. There’s going to be more and more need for people with this certification, and if you work for the right startup, there’s potential to get equity for your work.
Locations Associated with Higher Salaries in Accounting
In 2015, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) wrote a guide to the top 15 cities for accounting careers, looking at employment, salary and their respective economies. The cities that made the list were Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Raleigh, Richmond, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, and San Mateo. Pascal lists San Francisco, Washington state, New York, Chicago and Houston at the top of its list of areas associated with higher pay in accounting. Comparatively, Payscale found Miami was associated with lower paying jobs for accountants.
Lucrative Accounting Jobs
The top 10% of accountants are making over $100,000 a year, some far in excess of it. Remember, top accountants in corporate structures can become Chief Financial Officers, or hold other high executive positions. This won’t come overnight, but through a Bachelor’s education, supplementary certifications like the CPA, CISA or CFE and (if you decide to) graduate education, you can build credentials to help you on your way. High paying accounting jobs include Managerial Accountants, Tax Accountants, Government Accountants and more. For a good overview of high paying accounting jobs, head to this guide.
There’s a wide range of salaries that Accounting Bachelor’s degree holders earn. Those in the lowest ten percent are making under $40,000 a year. But that definitely doesn’t have to be you. By improving your resume with subsequent certifications, picking good locations and industries, and perhaps going to graduate school, you can join the upper ranks of accounting. Speaking of graduate education, here’s an excellent guide for online Masters in Accounting.