Accountant Salary By Experience
|Experience Level||Low Hourly||High Hourly||Low Annual||High Annual|
|10 Years +||$16.87||$34.71||$35,080.00||$72,190.00|
Accountants are integral elements in any commercial organizational structure. They shoulder the responsibility of keeping their company's financial records and documents in order and updated. An accountant carries the tasks of checking the financial health of his or her employer, keeping his or her superiors informed about the status of their finances, and taking charge of other assignments such as preparing paperwork for taxation and budgeting purposes, financial presentations, or projections for future investments. An accountant may work with individuals, small business groups, or major corporations.
The term "accountant" is often used interchangeably with "auditor". Though both professions deal with financial matters of individuals and/or business groups, there are certain differences that separate the two occupations. That said, many licensed auditors in the United States are also certified accountants.
One important distinction is that an accountant is tasked to create and maintain financial records for a client or group of clients. The auditor, on the other hand, is a third-party finance professional usually tapped to thoroughly examine the financial records and related documents of their clients for accuracy and reliability in order to provide an unbiased opinion or assessment of the client's financial standings.
Aside from handling financial records and company ledgers, accountants are also called to provide their expertise and knowledge in other professions. For example, law enforcement agents dealing with money embezzlement, money laundering, and tax fraud cases usually team up with accountants to help them with their investigation. Accountants are also deemed reliable witnesses in courtroom proceedings in the same cases.
Accountants are also hired for academic and research purposes. Accounting and finance students may seek the services of an accountant for school projects. Budding entrepreneurs look for accountants to help them with feasibility studies to see whether their business ideas are viable or not.
Government surveys report that there are 1,085,150 accountants and auditors in the United States as of May 2011. The median accountant salary in America is $62,850 per year, which is significantly lower than the average of $70,130. The top 10% are believed to be earning over $109,870 a year while those who belong in the bottom 10% are getting an average accountant salary rate of less than $39,640 per annum.
The biggest employers for accountants in the United States are companies engaged in accounting, taxation, bookkeeping, and payroll services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 284,070 licensed accountants and auditors are now working in accounting and bookkeeping firms and are getting paid at an average accountant pay grade of $75,060 a year, which is higher than the national figure. Business groups involved in company and enterprise management provide the second highest number of opportunities, where 78,040 accountants currently earn $70,150 per annum. Working in federal agencies is another great option as the average accountant pay rate is set at $89,930 a year and employment prospects are high.
Accountant salary rates vary from employer to employer, as their standards and requirements differ a great deal. It is important to know that some positions may not involve responsibilities that require advanced accounting and computing skills and therefore do not warrant high salary grades. Other employers look for workers who are qualified to perform complicated accounting responsibilities and therefore must provide them higher accountant wage rates. Other factors to consider are stress levels, working hours, and the working environment.
A bachelor's degree in accountancy, finance, banking, and other related fields is the accepted minimum requirement in becoming an accountant. 47 states including the District of Columbia now oblige accountancy students to undergo 150 semester hours of college instruction and coursework, adding 30 hours more to the typical 4-year undergraduate accountancy programs. Some colleges and universities now offer 5-year accounting programs to cover the additional 30-hour load. Finishing a 5-year course will also lead to both a bachelor's and doctor's degree.
Many graduates choose to apply for additional certifications to increase their employment prospects or impress and gain clients. Others opt to gain an accounting specialty like government accounting, management accounting, or financial planning.
The common route for accounting graduates is to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), a requirement posed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for those who want to file accounting reports with the said agency. All states require accountants to take the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to obtain certification.
Those who decide to specialize in management accounting can acquire Certified Management Accountant (CMA) status from The Institute of Management Accountants. Guidelines and requirements for certification are outlined by the said association.
Licensing is important and required by all states. That said, state requirements vary, which means you should check your state's policies regarding accountant licensing.
There is an expected 16% growth of accountants within 10 years from 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The said government office describes this growth as fast as the average for all occupations.
Because of the recent economic meltdown and the financial crises that shook United States, many individuals and companies are now required to follow stricter finance policies. Players in the financial sectors, such as banks, financing firms, and investment enterprises, are now keen on keeping a firm eye on their financial health. This expected scenario will fuel the need for in-house accountants.
Government policies on financing, lending, and other related matters are expected to be overhauled to find remedies for the existing financial problems the country is still experiencing. This will boost the demand for more government accountants.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the most number of employment opportunities will come from accounting and bookkeeping firms. While the competition is manageable at a number of levels, accountants with certification have the highest chances of finding employment compared to those without.
A number of accountants begin their careers working for accounting, taxation, and bookkeeping firms. Those who have gained extensive experience and knowledge in their profession are promoted to higher positions. Aside from accounting companies, a number of accountants also find their launching pads in the following industries:
Certification is a surefire way to advance in the accounting profession. Certification requires continuing education, which enhances one's accounting skills and making the accountant more qualified for positions with expanded functions and a bigger accountant salary.
Some accountants will find teaching at the college level an option. Other accountants may also start their own accounting firms. Some who have gained experience and considerable knowledge in the field decide to work as financial analysts or consultants for media companies and financial and banking publications.
Since accountants have excellent accounting and computing skills, a number of them will also find success as auditors. The two professions are almost exactly alike so the transition is quite easy and fast.
Other occupations closely related to the accountant profession are:
Accounting is not generally a physically demanding profession. But it is an occupation that demands dedication and precision. It is basically a numbers-crunching job where accurate calculations and estimations are paramount. In this regard, it can be quite stressful.
For those who know their way around tax law, figures and financial standings, accounting is a job that provides an avenue to help people, businesses, and even the government, grow and become financially sound. In their own way, accountants play a big role in keeping the national economy afloat.