What is the Average Salary for an Accountant?

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Let’s just jump right in and ask the awkward question. What is the average salary for an accountant?

The faux pas of discussing money and salaries is out the door for this article.  Whether we like it or not, money, and in turn salaries, are a BIG deciding factor in what career we study for, where we live, what jobs we accept, and how we live each day. 

Give Me the Salary Numbers

According to USNews, in 2020, the average accountant salary in the US was $73,560.00. Of course, it may be higher or lower depending on where you reside in the US. 

In the same reports, we learned of the top 5 paying cities; 3 are in California (San Jose, San Fransisco, and Salinas), New York (NYC), and Midland, Texas.  

Factors Affecting the Salary Numbers

There are a few key (and somewhat obvious) factors that impact an accountant’s salary.

Location

The location where you want to live and work has two equally affecting factors.  

First, local demand for work; if your area is swamped with accountants, chances are the salaries offered will be lower. This situation is just simple supply and demand. 

Second, understanding the cost of living and how it works is essential. For every $1,000 more in earnings, the cost of living is on average one percentage point higher. So while California, New Your City, and Hawaii will offer higher salaries, you won’t necessarily be making more money. 

Education

Now, this factor is slightly up for debate. One would assume that more education would equal more pay. In many scenarios, this is the case, but not always, especially in the accounting industry. 

While you cannot become an accountant without a four-year degree, a master’s degree (or higher) is not an automatic salary increase. 

Even with a two-year associate’s degree, the industry has many opportunities. Bookkeepers and clerks are great starting or permanent positions that only need a two-year degree.  

As you spend time in the accounting industry, you will begin to see and understand what positions fit your personality and skill set the best, then pursue the degrees to reach your goals. 

Experience

Albert Einstein once said, “The only source of knowledge is experience.”

In the accounting industry, this has proven to be true. Put your time in, take that first position that you may think isn’t what you want. Learn and soak up ALL the knowledge, and in turn, the experience you possibly can.

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The Future of Accounting

It is safe to say that the accounting industry is not going anywhere. While there are many softwares and new-fangled computers to take some burdens off, nothing will replace a human accountant. The demand for an accountant who is also a financial advisor is actually on the rise.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for accountants are projected to grow by 7% between 2020 and 2030. This growth is on par with the projected average for all occupations. 

Final Thoughts

The paycheck one earns a vital part of our daily lives. Only if we could buy groceries and pay rent with rainbows and sunshine would this not be the case. Until that day, asking questions about salaries and benefits is key to finding the proper work/life balance. 

 

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