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Accounting provides a wide array of career opportunities. To excel in the field, most often, a master’s degree is typically required, as well as licensure. As most accounting positions are full-time occupations, you may experience crunch time and overtime hours during the tax season. Accounting positions are expected to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029, according to the BLS.
If you find yourself in an accounting career but need additional education to get that job promotion, this is the time to do it! And… if you are ready for a career change, check out these 30 Highest Paying Accounting Jobs and Salaries reserved for those with the drive to succeed in the ever-changing field of accounting and its many branches. Let’s take a look!
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
The CFO is a senior position in the finance department with higher authority and more responsibilities. CFOs are expected to be highly skilled and capable of taking on executive-level tasks such as planning for the organization’s long-term financial advancement, reporting to other executives, and budgeting. CFOs are also tasked to oversee big data and use modern technology such as analytics and artificial intelligence. CFOs carry an MBA degree or any finance-related graduate degree, a CPA accreditation, and at least 15 years of relevant experience.
A Finance Director is directly under the supervision of a VP of Finance and works primarily with managers and employees in developing finance-related plans. You will have a lot of latitude experience in this level hence a rich learning field for those aspiring to become a CFO. You will be in charge of implementing financial policies, oversee financial tasks such as tax reforms, budgeting, and credit, and report to executives on the achievements and projections of these finances. To become a finance director, you will need to have at least an MBA or MAcc (Master’s in Accounting) for an entry-level position.
Vice President of Finance
As VP of Finance, you will lead and set financial plans according to the organization’s goals. Other tasks involve strategizing debt finance, managing the budget, and evaluating the overall financial health of the company, and communicating this to the upper levels. You may also need to negotiate for contracts and other investments for the benefit of the company. A VP of Finance position doesn’t usually require a graduate degree in Accounting but earning one or an MBA makes you better qualified for the job.
A financial manager heads the finance department in maintaining the quality of outputs and credibility of financial reports. You will monitor staff accountants and other financial analysts. Working on a budget set periodically (e.g., quarterly or yearly), you will see about properly allocating budgets for projects and investigate in case that budget overshoots. Your reports will be sent to upper management.
As a financial manager, you are expected to have an in-depth understanding of accounting and financial, business, and economics concepts. This position typically requires at least five years of relevant experience. Highly competent financial managers hold a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) accreditation.
International Tax Manager
International tax managers specialize in foreign regulations, cross-cultural backgrounds, business practices, and transportation and logistics. This position is crucial in pushing local businesses to a global scale. As such, international tax managers are experts in trade regulations both in the US and foreign markets. As more firms are merging and acquiring other companies abroad, global tax management becomes crucial. To be qualified for this position, you need to have graduate-level education in accounting, business, or international finance.
Accounting Software Developer
Accounting today is different compared to how it’s done in the Industrial Age. Individuals who have a flair for creativity, and are skilled in programming are fit for Accounting Software Development work. Equipped with knowledge in accounting tasks, your job is to create solutions for the accounting personnel to significantly reduce company expenses involving time and workforce.
Internal Audit Manager
Internal audit managers primarily evaluate the company’s finances. You will be in charge of risk assessment and compliance with the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing. You keep the organization’s finance departments up-to-date with relevant laws and recommend strategies to adjust to new taxation and other financial rules. To become an internal audit manager, you need to have relevant working experience and an undergraduate degree in Accounting or Finance.
Cost Account Manager
A cost account manager reports to the VP of Finance. You will run a specialized group that looks into the organization’s accumulated assets and liabilities. Businesses with extensive inventories, equipment, and multiple suppliers need a cost account manager for evaluation purposes. You will make reports and deliver results in controlling costs, increasing profitability, and creating strategies in managing the company’s resources.
Holders of an undergraduate degree in Accounting, Finance, or Business will be considered for this role. Individuals with a Master’s in Accounting or Business may be favored more than those without.
Corporate controllers are given critical jobs in the finance department, particularly in big corporations. For smaller businesses, the corporate controllers are usually the CFOs. You are considered the “oil” in the system as you ensure that all financial matters are handled correctly. Your findings and reports will be used by top management to make business plans and projections.
Corporate controllers usually have Accounting, Business, or Finance degrees under their belt. Dual degree holders with CPA accreditation are better qualified for higher positions.
As “second-in-command” to the Controller, Assistant Controllers ensure that the finance department keeps up with procedures and practices. You will also evaluate reports and budget plans as you oversee employees in the department.
Entry-level Assistant Controllers need to have an undergraduate degree in Finance or Accounting with a leadership background.
Personal Financial Advisor
The number of personal financial advisors will rise by 15% until 2026. With more Americans getting wealthier, the job of personal financial advisors becomes even more critical. They are highly trained in wealth management to cushion clients against hard times. As a financial advisor, you will need to be knowledgeable in the financial market, accounting, and the law (for estate planning).
Build your credentials by becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). If you’re considering consultation work, you should establish credibility in the field.
An accounting manager’s primary job is supervising accountants in that company. You will be doing the work of a manager so a background in management will be essential in this case. As an experienced accountant, you will be handling reports on a weekly to yearly basis, check financial data for accuracy, and ensure that the accounting department is delivering results on time. You will need a master’s degree in accounting or finance to get this position.
Senior Financial Analyst
Senior financial analysts can work in any industry. Considering the company is a medium to big enterprise with a finance team, your task will be to check and create recommendations to help improve profitability and cut down expenses. You will be leading the group in strategizing with the people directly involved with the money flow of the company ensuring all allocated resources are maximized with minimal risks involved.
You must have a keen attention to detail, determined to check for errors and points of improvement, and directly report your finding with the VP of Finance, CFO, or director of finance. You will need a bachelor’s degree in finance or accounting with relevant years of experience as a financial advisor to get an entry-level position.
A staff accountant is an entry point to gathering experience for this profession. You often work in a firm catering to specific industries and handle basic accounting tasks such as accounts payable and accounts receivables, budgeting, reporting, and handling profit-loss documents. You will be more familiar with how the accounting world works in real-life scenarios and work (and learn) from individuals with years of experience in their field of expertise. An undergraduate degree in accounting is a pre-requisite for this job.
According to BLS, the demand for accounting graduates in the workforce is projected to be 10% until 2029. Accounting professors are those who provide up-to-date education to students who are on the path to becoming accountants themselves in the workforce. A graduate degree in Accounting with relevant work experience is typically required. Some professors are required to finish a doctorate program before being accepted into an institution to teach.
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Officer
All U.S financial institutions follow the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) of 1970 setting standards for recording money transactions and reporting signs of money laundering. An AML officer is highly knowledgeable about the law, banking transactions, and regulations and skilled analysts in transactions dealing with terrorism-related dealings. AML officers have high levels of inquisitiveness and a good foundation for research and law. You will need to have years of finance-related work experience with a graduate degree in accounting (forensics background) or finance.
Information and Technology (IT) Accountant
The reality is that technology is becoming a staple in any company. Individuals with dual degrees in accounting and IT may find lucrative jobs as an IT accountant. You will need to be up-to-date on the latest technology and trends, investigate the kind of problem the finance department is facing, and create a solution using technology. Some IT accountants develop tools for specific companies or solve particular problems in the finance sector. If you’re a natural problem-solver, this may be the kind of industry you’d want to be in.
As a budget analyst, your task is to assess the financial status of the company and make recommendations in maximizing profits. Your in-depth knowledge of budgeting will help companies allocate money appropriately for more efficient spending. You will also be collaborating with the finance team in planning, improving, and monitoring budget and expenditure. An undergraduate degree in accounting, economics, and statistics is necessary for entry-level positions.
Spectator Sports Accountant
Sports are still America’s favorite pastime gathering crowds beyond its borders. From football to basketball, fans line-up outside stadiums to see their team win the game. The sports market is still moving on an uptrend with over 83 billion projection by the year 2023. Technology has also gotten some traction for sports fans through eSports. Spectator accountants may work under a company or per project basis. You will still do basic accounting tasks such as filing tax returns, preparing financial records, and have it reported to management, and recommend improvements. Most companies pick applicants with a graduate degree in accounting or business.
Auditors are those that check for financial records for reliability and accuracy. Depending on the institution, you could be working as an internal (company-based), external (third-party institutions checking other company records), government, and forensic. You will be tasked to evaluate a company’s financial sheets for frauds, making sure that taxes are observed accordingly, and economic methods and protocols are in accordance with law and regulations. Auditors must hold a bachelor’s degree in Accounting for entry-level positions. Those with CPA accreditation will find better job prospects.
Following government regulations are crucial to any organization. A compliance officer’s main task is to help the companies comply on rules and regulation set for their industry by the government such as environmental regulations, maintaining professional business ethics in its dealings, and keeping personnel up-to-date with new laws being passed out. To become a compliance officer, you need to earn a graduate degree in business law or ethics with a dual degree or relevant education in accounting or finance.
Forensic accountants are special ‘agents’ of the government in investigating financial anomalies whether that of a corporation or an individual. Some of the biggest frauds are done by skilled accountants who are good at ‘faking’ documents to make the company look profitable and dupe shareholders. This is a demanding job that requires accuracy, integrity, and extensive knowledge in accounting, finance, and business law. Entry-level positions may require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Government accountants are those that work for a government agency. You may land an accounting job for a local, state, or federal agency. Your task will be to oversee procurements, evaluating contracts, and assessing budgets transacted for that specific agency. You should be knowledgeable of the fund accounting processes as these are budgets that are already noted for particular government activities. A government accountant may require a bachelor’s degree in accounting as a prerequisite.
Risk analysts are good at weighing the pros and cons of individual ventures and investments. You will need to be exceptionally good in analyzing economies and taking risks when an opportunity is presented. As a risk analyst, you will likely work in a bank or insurance company. You will be assessing client information, interpreting financial statements for credit reports, and maintaining quality control for auditing. An undergraduate degree in Finance or Accounting is needed for an entry-level position.
Credit Analysis Manager
It’s a reality that businesses may often face unpaid credits from bills to suppliers. As a credit analysis manager, your task is to ensure the company pays or settles all credits on time. You will have to settle (or negotiate) all payments with specific entitles or corporations to prevent any overshooting of the set budget or going into court settlements. Credit analysis managers need to have an in-depth background in corporate law, businesses, and finance or accounting. Big companies prefer candidates with years of experience in management and a graduate degree in forensics, law, or management.
Managerial accountants are those that look into the internal accounts of the company, which includes payroll, budgeting, asset management, auditing, and statement receivables. You will be doing reports for these evaluations hence the necessity for relevant work experience as a pre-requisite for the role. You will be in a leadership position that lets you handle teams, monitor for quality control, and look for market opportunities. Essential pre-requisites are a bachelor’s in finance, business, or accounting, preferably with a Certified Management Accountant accreditation. However, a keen sense of the economy and market analysis will also give you an edge for this job.
Tax management is a specialized job in the finance department overseeing that all taxes comply. Tax managers make sure that all federal and state taxes are managed such as corporate income tax, sales, and use tax. You will also be expected to file reports periodically stating your evaluations for government purposes. You will need to have an undergraduate degree in accounting or finance and some relevant experience in tax work.
Bookkeepers handle financial transactions between the company and the government. You will need to be familiar with accounting basics such as debit and credit and handling ledgers. Bookkeepers are very attentive to the spending and profit of the business and usually coordinate with other personnel in the finance department. For small businesses, bookkeepers need to have a bookkeeping certification or an accounting background from work experience.
Accounting clerks are responsible for keeping records of the business’ payrolls, receivables, and payables. Unlike bookkeepers, accounting clerks work for big companies. You should at least be familiar with the fundamentals of accounting and the use of technology, especially accounting software. It’s essential that you’re keen to learn and understand the tool used by the company to make sure that your tasks are done efficiently and on time. Entry-level accounting clerks only need to have a background in accounting or on-the-job training and a high school diploma.
Accounts Payable and Receivable (AP/AR) Clerks
The AP/AR clerk is responsible for looking into revenues and invoices (the AP and AR transactions going to and out of business). This job requires high attention to detail since you’ll be working on numbers, verifying information, and getting all payments and receivables on schedule. Clerks working in big companies may need to be highly skilled in data entry and research capabilities with strong organizational skills. You will need at least a bachelor’s in Accounting to land a job as an AP/AR clerk.
Without a doubt, your main focus may be on obtaining a good accounting job with an exceptional salary. Isn’t that everyone’s dream? If you are good with numbers, an accounting career may be a good fit for you.
So, can you have a lucrative career with just a bachelor’s degree? Of course, you can; however, earning a graduate degree will give you the leverage you need to gain executive positions, choose from various career options, and obtain the job promotions you desire.
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