How is the Job Outlook for Accountants?

Accountants are trained professionals who work with money and prepare financial reports for individuals or large organizations. Their main goal is to ensure that financial reports are accurate, in compliance with laws and demonstrate where an organization or person stands financially. Most accountants have at least a bachelor’s degree. If an accountant chooses to become a certified public accountant (CPA), he or she must also take graduate courses and pass a 4-part CPA certification exam. The job outlook for accountants is better than average.

Related resource: The Top 15 Best Affordable Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs

Where They Work

Accountants with the right training have many places of employment from which to choose. They may work for small businesses, major corporations, government agencies, large accounting firms, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. The largest percentage of accountants work for firms who specialize in tax preparation, public accounting, payroll services, and bookkeeping. Accountants may also choose to work in one of these accounting specialties.

• Accounting/auditing

• Business systems

• Compliance

• Financial analysis

Job Outlook for Accountants

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that accountants should see job growth of 10% during the 2016-2026 decade. The growing economy and globalization are both contributing to people having and earning more money, which results in the need for more accountants. There should be about 139,900 new accountant jobs created by 2026. The type of accountant an individual chooses to be can also play a part in the growth potential. For instance, a corporate accountant working for a large corporation may have better job growth than a public accountant working for a small firm.

Wages for Accountants

According to a May 2017 report by the BLS, accountants earn wages ranging from $43,020 to $122,270 with the average wage at $77,920. Factors such as training, experience, location and employer can all affect wage potential. The more years of experience an accountant obtains working for a company, the higher the wage. An accountant just starting out with a firm may earn $46,000 to $59,750 while one with 5 or more years’ experience may earn $70,500 to $89,000 or more according. Accounting professionals who earn some of the highest wages include:

• Chief financial officers

• Controllers

• Hedge fund accountants

• Chief audit executive

• Chief compliance officer

• Director of financial reporting

Good States for Accountants

As with any job, geographic location can play a big part in wage potential and career growth. An accountant working in a small town will generally not earn the same wage as an accountant working in a large city. Here are the five top-paying states for accountants for 2017 followed by the five lowest-paying states.

• District of Columbia – $96,880

• New York – $95,430

• New Jersey – $91,400

• Virginia – $84,740

• California – $83,540

• Kansas – $65,090

• Idaho – $64,640

• South Carolina – $64,220

• North Dakota – $60,550

• Mississippi – $59,960

The numbers above demonstrate how geographic location can affect an accountant’s wages. These wages are also for a basic accountant. Accountants who specialize in certain areas or specific types of accounting generally earn higher wages. The CPA credential also improves wage potential.

The BLS reports that there are about 1.2 million accountants in the United States. Because accounting offers so many areas of specialization and occupations in various settings, working as an accountant can be an exciting career with plenty of room for growth.