Accounting Careers: How Much Can You Expect To Earn?

accountant sitting at a desk counting money
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If you are thinking of pursuing a career in accounting, you will undoubtedly be eager to learn how much you can expect to earn. Salaries for accountants can vary greatly, depending on the qualifications you have, your amount of experience, your accounting specializations, your position, and the accounting department or company you work for.

On average, entry-level positions like accounting assistant pay salaries of between $30,000 and $40,000 per year. If you have a four-year degree under your belt and at least one year of experience, you can expect to earn around $46,000 per year. As your skills and experience increase, you have the opportunity of moving up the career ladder to positions like accounting-manager. In a role like that, you can easily make more than $100,000 per year. Read on to find out more details about a range of accounting careers and how much you can expect to earn in each position.

Certified Public Accountant

You will need a lot of experience and certifications under your belt before you can become a certified public accountant, as it is one of the most skilled and sought-after jobs in accountancy. CPAs handle a broad range of duties on behalf of individuals, corporations, non-profits, and governments, such as:

  • Filing taxes
  • Financial planning services
  • Asset management
  • Risk assessment and management
  • Financial compliance
  • Performing internal reviews

To become a CPA, you will need to have earned a bachelor’s degree in an accounting or finance subject and have at least one year’s work experience. Once you meet the eligibility criteria, you can take the notoriously challenging CPA exam, which consists of four parts: Business Environment and Concepts, Regulation, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and Auditing and Attestation. To increase your chances of passing the CPA examination on your first attempt, it is crucial you find CPA study materials that best suit your learning style. So, make sure you compare different CPA review courses before you proceed. Your work does not end once you successfully pass all parts of the CPA exam though. You must also meet additional criteria to get a license before you can practice professionally. In the US, the requirements for obtaining a CPA license vary from state to state. Although it is common for people to embellish their skills and experience when applying for jobs. However, if you want to land a CPA position, you will have to stick to the truth.

How much you can earn as a CPA depends on the accounting role you work in. For instance, you could become an accounting clerk or a senior auditor. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for certified public accountants in all types of roles is approximately $71,000.

Forensic Accountant

This specialized accounting career focuses on analyzing financial information to determine whether a crime has occurred. If you choose to pursue a career in forensic accounting, you will need to have an excellent knowledge of accounting, finance, and law. To become a forensic accountant, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting, although most forensic accountants have a master’s degree. Duties of a forensic accountant can include:

  • Tracing funds
  • Identifying assets
  • Preparing reports of financial analysis discoveries
  • Presenting financial findings reports in court as an expert witness.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, forensic accountants earn around $61,000 per year on average. The exact salary you can earn depends on the company or organization you work for, your location, your qualifications, and your experience.

Accounts Payable Clerk

The primary role of an accounts payable clerk is to pay the bills of a business. Small companies typically require accounts payable clerks to pay all bills of the enterprise. Large companies with accounting departments may need accounts-payable clerks to record and pay invoices via the purchase journal. The exact duties can differ from one company to another, though, as can the qualifications required to work in the role. But typically, you only need a high school diploma or GED to become an accounts-payable-clerk.

How much you can earn in this position depends on your location and the company you work for. The salary ranges between $24,000 and $42,000 per year. The average salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is around $36,000 per year.

For more great accounting tips, check out the other blogs on The Accounting Path.

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AP Community

AP Community

Accounting Path community writers are passionate financial & businesses thought leaders eager to share their experience & ideas. Please note, community articles may contain links to products or services which we do not formally endorse and/or for which we may receive compensation.