How Much Can I Earn by Studying Accounting?

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Written by: CC Staff

Accounting professionals typically possess strong analytical, math, organizational skills. Individuals in the field also need a good attention to detail. Accounting students can pursue several lucrative career paths, including some of the highest-paying finance jobs.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors earned a median salary of $71,550 in 2019. Earning potential typically increases with experience and education. This guide explores the job growth and salary potential for common accounting careers. College Choice provides more in-depth information about accounting degrees and careers.

Accounting Jobs at a Glance

Individuals in the accounting field can pursue positions including financial analyst, personal financial advisor, accountant, and chief financial officer. Professionals in these roles perform tasks related to financial management, planning, and investing for businesses and individuals. While finance salary and accounting salary specifics vary by employer, the table below details the median annual salary and projected growth rate for each accounting career.

Career Median Annual
Salary
Projected Growth Rate
(2018-2028)
Top Executives, Including Chief Financial Officers $104,690 6%
Financial Managers, Including
Corporate Controllers
$129,890 16%
Personal Financial Advisors $87,850 7%
Accountants and Auditors $71,550 6%
Financial Analysts $85,660 6%
Management Analysts $85,260 14%

Source: BLS

Highest-Paying Accounting Jobs

Chief Financial Officers

Chief financial officers (CFOs) work in one of the highest-paying accounting jobs. The lowest 10% of top executives earned $62,290 in 2019, and the highest 10% of earners made more than $208,000. In addition to salary, a CFO’s compensation often includes stock options, bonuses, and access to company-owned transportation.

A CFO’s primary tasks include negotiating contracts, managing the finance department, and analyzing financial documents. These executives implement measures to reduce costs and improve business performance. CFOs work with organizational leaders to maximize profits and ensure the business runs efficiently.

Corporate Controllers

One of the consistently high-demand finance jobs, corporate controller positions offer strong employment growth. The BLS projects employment for corporate controllers to increase 16% from 2018 to 2028, faster than the average for all occupations. Corporate controllers generally oversee the preparation of financial documents such as statements and balance sheets. They also supervise the forecasting of future earnings and expenses.

Corporate controllers typically run a firm’s accounting, auditing, and budget departments. Earning potential depends on the professional’s industry and experience. The lowest 10% of controllers earned less than $68,370 in 2019, and the top 10% made more than $208,000.

Personal Financial Advisors

The BLS projects employment for personal financial advisors to increase 7% from 2018 to 2028. This growth may be due in part to the aging population and the growing number of individuals who are seeking alternatives to traditional retirement plans.

Earning potential varies significantly among these professionals. The bottom 10% of financial advisors earned less than $42,950 in 2019, but the top 10% made more than $208,000. Many personal financial advisors establish their own businesses. However, working for a firm may be more lucrative and often includes performance bonuses.

High-Demand Accounting Jobs

Accountants and Auditors

Demand for accountants and auditors typically correlates with overall economic health. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 6% from 2018 to 2028. As businesses globalize or go public, they must meet strict regulatory standards, which drives demand for qualified accountants. The industries with the highest employment levels for accountants include tax preparation, government, and business management. Earning a master’s degree in accounting or business administration and becoming certified can lead to higher earning potential and career advancement opportunities.

Financial Analysts

Financial analysts study economic and business trends and analyze the financial statements of individuals and companies. These professionals provide recommendations for investments and performance improvement. Common tasks for analysts include evaluating financial data, meeting with company officials, and drafting reports.

The BLS projects employment for financial analysts to increase 6% from 2018 to 2028. Analysts identify opportunities and risk factors for expanding companies, which helps executives make strategic and profitable business decisions. The industries with the highest levels of employment for financial analysts include securities, commodity contracts, business management, and credit intermediation.

Management Analysts

These professionals work in one of the most high-demand accounting jobs. The BLS projects employment for these professionals to increase 14% from 2018 to 2028, a rate much higher than the average for all occupations. The industries with the highest growth potential for this position include healthcare, information management, and consulting.

Management analysts typically work in consulting roles, helping organizations adjust business processes to increase efficiency. Primary tasks include observing an organization’s operations, interviewing personnel, analyzing financial statements, and making recommendations for improvement.

Learn More…

What is Accounting?What Are the Requirements for a Career in Accounting?What Kinds of Accounting Degrees Are Available?What Kinds of Accounting Specializations Are Available?

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