As companies rely more on accountants to keep track of complex finances, these workers are in high demand and well-compensated. But the exact salary you can expect depends on a variety of factors, from the industry you work in to the size of your company and your level of education. This article, based on research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and several job search websites, provides an overview of the current state of accountant salaries, as well as tips for increasing your earning potential.
The average annual salary for an accountant is $81,660, though the figure can go much higher for those with specialties and advanced degrees. Accountants who hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting typically start their careers with an entry-level salary of about $55,000. A master’s in business administration (MBA) can add about $15,000 to an accountant’s base pay, while a professional certification like the CPA designation will increase your salary by another $27,000 or so.
Once you have a few years of experience, you can usually negotiate your salary with the company you’re applying to work for. If you’re interviewing at a big firm, they may be less willing to adjust their initial offer, but smaller firms and independent accounting firms are more likely to be flexible.
The cost of living also impacts your accountant salary. For example, New York and Los Angeles are the top-paying cities for this career, but they’re also known for their high cost of living. For maximum earning potential, look for an employer in a region with a low cost of living. Accountant salary guide