Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree
Average Salary: $40,000-$56,000
Job Outlook: Excellent
A staff accountant is usually a certified public accountant who works on staff for a company, as opposed to working for an accounting firm and doing work for companies on a contract basis. Staff accountants help with various accounting operations within their own companies, often reporting to accounting managers. In many companies, staff accountants have specific duties, such as running internal audits, budgeting, consulting with other departments, or doing the company tax work.
Some staff accountants are also cost or management accountants, which means they analyze their company’s financial information to help improve various areas of work. Other staff accountants specialize in planning and budgeting, cost accounting, or various other necessary areas to help the business run smoothly. Staff accounting responsibilities will vary from one company to the next, with larger companies hiring accountants for more narrow jobs and smaller companies hiring versatile employees who can operate in a variety of functions.
Education and Training Requirements
Staff accountants should have bachelor’s degrees in accounting or related fields, and they may also boost their employment opportunities by becoming certified public accountants. Staff accountants who wish to advance to management accounting positions should consider getting an MBA and attending other continuing education seminars, conferences, and courses.
Getting the Job
Staff accountants may be hired into lower level positions straight out of college or a certification program, although many are hired from public accounting positions where they work with accounting firms. Qualified applicants can usually apply online or in person.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Job growth in the field of accounting in general is expected to be much higher than average over the next few years. Staff accounting positions will become more common as accounting becomes more complex for growing companies, and companies decide to hire accountants rather than outsourcing their accounting needs.
Staff accountants often move up through the ranks of accountants in their company, depending on how large the company is and how it’s set up. Many end up in senior level accounting positions. Some staff accountants may also choose to leave the company environment to start their own CPA companies and to work independently in their own businesses.
Working Conditions and Environment
Although some staff accountants, such as cost accountants, may travel to work sites at times, most accountants work a predictable nine to five schedule in an office environment. Though this isn’t a particularly stressful job, it may get a bit more hectic during tax time and around the end of the business year when companies are trying to compile and analyze the year’s accounting data.
Salary and Benefits
The average salary for a staff accountant is between $40,000 and $56,000 per year, depending on where the accountant works and how senior a position they have within their respective company. Accountants can earn up to $78,000 at the top levels, and the bottom ten percent earn less than $36,000.
These full time jobs typically come with standard benefits, such as medical insurance, retirement options, and vacation time. Some senior level accountants may also receive a company car and other benefits, and many companies offer their accountants performance-based bonuses.
Where to Go for More Information
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Institute of Management Accountants
10 Paragon Dr.
Montvale, NJ 07645
The Institute of Internal Auditors
246 Maitland Ave.
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701