How Much Can I Earn by Studying Accounting?

If you want a career with great earning potential, Accounting is a solid choice. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for an accountant is $68,150 per year, with some areas of specialization earning even more.

It’s important to note that the BLS statistics only take into account the people with accounting degrees who currently hold the title of accountant or auditor. Many Accounting graduates eventually advance to leadership roles, which can offer much higher compensation.

To get a bird’s-eye view of the field, read more at our Accounting homepage.

Highest Paying Jobs in Accounting

If you have the drive and commitment to work your way to the top of your field, you can get a great return on investment for your Accounting degree.

Chief Financial Officer

According to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the accounting professionals who bring home the highest salaries hold the title of Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

These senior executives are responsible for all of the financial operations of a business. These could include reporting accurate financial information to shareholders, making decisions about investments, and developing business strategies based on economic forecasts.

So, how do you become a CFO? A bachelor’s degree in accounting is a great start. About half of all Fortune 100 CFOs also hold a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).

With education and lots of experience, the CFOs of large companies may make annual salaries of as much as $465,750…and the ones who work for the biggest international corporations? They can make millions of dollars per year.

Corporate Controller

Controllers are high-level financial managers who have significant responsibility in their organizations. They are responsible for reporting to governmental regulatory agencies and creating forecasts to help make decisions about the future.

To land a job as a corporate controller, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in Accounting or a related field, as well as a master’s degree in finance or business and at least five years of work experience. With the high end of the typical salary range for a controller reaching $224,750 per year, all of that education and experience definitely pays off!

Accounting Jobs with Growing Salaries

Because Accounting is a necessity for all kinds of businesses, there tends to be a steady demand for workers with accounting skills. But some job titles are increasing in salary more quickly than others, according to the Robert Half staffing agency, because firms are offering higher salaries and bonuses to attract and retain top talent.


Compliance Manager

Compliance managers for large financial services firms saw their starting pay increase by 4.2 percent in 2016, with annual salaries ranging from $94,500 to $124,250 per year.

A compliance manager makes sure that their organization is adhering to all of the rules, laws and regulations that govern their industry. Because they need to have a deep understanding of the regulations in their field, this job title is usually only a possibility for professionals who already have work experience.

If you set your sights on this career, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum amount of education you’ll need. A law degree or MBA will make you even more competitive in the job market.

Financial Analyst

If you have an eye for the big picture and the details when it comes to economics, you might enjoy working as a financial analyst. They conduct research, create models to predict future developments, and make recommendations based on their findings.

Getting a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field is the first step to building a career in this field, and you’ll be in even better shape if you get an MBA.

Wondering how much you can earn in this career? Robert Half reported that their salaries increased by 4.1 percent in 2016, for a starting salary range of $60,250 to $87,000.