Accounting Salary Guide

Overview of compensation in public and private accounting

Accounting Salary Guide

In this accounting salary guide, we give you the midpoint compensation figures for individuals employed in both public and private accounting. Accountants are responsible for examining financial statements to ensure accuracy and compliance with existing laws and regulations, and handling tax-related tasks such as calculating the tax to be paid and preparing tax returns.

Accountants are also in charge of organizing and keeping financial records updated and analyzing finance-related operations. Below is an accounting salary guide for those looking to take up the profession.

Accounting Salary Guide

Companies and organizations look for accountants at all levels. Nowadays, they often hire those with data analytics experience and technological know-how that will work well with traditional accounting and finance skills.

Recruiting and retaining top employees in the finance and accounting industry is difficult. The accounting salary guide reveals that competition for hiring qualified candidates is strong. The demand is high but the pool of skilled candidates is getting smaller. Employers are looking for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Applicants can set themselves apart from others by getting a certification within a specific field of accounting. That’s why many accountants become Certified Public Accountants – CPAs – to improve their chances of landing more attractive positions.

Accounting Salary Guide – Jobs in the US

Because of the high demand for accountants, managers offer top job candidates higher salaries and other work benefits. In May 2016, accountants received a median salary (wage at which half of the employees in a certain job earn more than that amount while half of them earn less) of $68,150 per year.

From 2016 to 2026, the employment of accountants and auditors is predicted to grow by 10%, closely tied to the state of the overall economy. The growth rate is higher than the average for other jobs. Also, the growth in the economy comes with a greater need for examining financial records. Therefore, more job opportunities will be available for accountants.

Accounting Salary Guide – Salaries in Public Accounting

Public accountants work for firms that provide accounting services to other firms. They assist clients such as individuals, governments, or corporations in preparing financial statements and tax returns. They also handle auditing tasks and work in a consulting capacity. Public accounting firms require highly specialized skillsets to meet the specific needs of different clients. For instance, firms may present themselves as experts in litigation support, fraud investigations, or healthcare auditing.

Because of the shortage of skilled candidates, firms use a variety of recruitment strategies to attract top talent, and one of these is offering higher salaries.

Here are several public accounting jobs and their corresponding midpoint salaries for 2018. This accounting salary guide table shows salaries of candidates with average experience and skill sets needed for the job. The figures exclude bonuses, incentives, and other forms of compensation:

Title or ExperienceMidpoint Salary
Tax Services
Senior Manager or Director$132,000
1-3 Years$56,500
Up to 1 Year$46,000
Audit/Assurance Services
Senior Manager or Director$129,750
1-3 Years$51,000
Up to 1 Year$46,000

Accounting Salary Guide – Salaries in Private or Corporate Accounting

Private or corporate accountants are employed in companies that produce goods and/or provide services other than accounting. They can also be independent accountants. In many cases, they only work for one company or client, enabling them to offer a higher level of accounting services because of their deeper understanding of the client’s business interests and its operations.

Here are some private or corporate accounting jobs and their corresponding midpoint salaries for 2018:

Title or ExperienceMidpoint Salary
Chief Financial Officer$192,500
Vice President, Finance$176,500
Director of Finance$145,500
Director of Accounting$140,000
Director of Financial Reporting$135,000
Corporate Controller$170,000
Divisional Controller$140,000
Assistant Controller$103,500
Assistant Treasurer$91,250
Tax Director$135,000
Tax Manager$104,000
General Accountant
1-3 Years of Experience$60,000
Up to 1 Year of Experience$45,000

accountant at his desk earning money

Accounting Salary Guide – Financial Services

Commercial banks, lending firms, and hedge fund and asset management companies look for general accountants, controllers, IT auditors, and financial analysts who have expertise in data analytics, credit analytics, and in risk and compliance.

Here are some accounting jobs in the financial services sector and their corresponding midpoint salaries for 2018:

Title or ExperienceMidpoint Salary
Banking and Financial Markets
Managing Director or Partner$190,000
Vice President$150,000
Business Development Officer$112,500
Finance and Accounting
Chief Financial Officer$200,000
Accountant with 5+ Years of Experience$80,000
Accountant with 3-5 Years of Experience$70,000
Accountant with 1-3 Years of Experience$60,000
Risk and Compliance
Chief Risk Officer$173,250
Market Risk Analyst - Manager$115,000
Market Risk Analyst with 3-5 Years of Experience$85,000
Credit Risk Analyst - Manager$95,250
Credit Risk Analyst with 3-5 Years of Experience$80,000

Source: Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals

More Resources

Thank you for reading CFI’s accounting salary guide. For more learning, CFI offers a wide range of courses on accounting, financial analysis, and financial modeling. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful:

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Advance your career in investment banking, private equity, FP&A, treasury, corporate development and other areas of corporate finance.

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