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Accounting Salaries

Accountants are responsible for keeping track of financial information for companies, government agencies and other organizations. Accounting salaries differ by level of education, the organization an accountant works for and its location. For instance, an accounting salary in a metropolitan region is typically higher than in a rural area. Within a company, people that need expense reimbursements or have payroll questions talk to the company accountant. Salary information for accountants also varies according to the type of work they do and the title they have. Most accountants have a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and often specialize in a specific field of accounting. For instance, an accountant salary for a staff accountant averages $41,000 a year, while a senior accountant has an average salary of $55,000 annually.

One type of accountant works as a certified public accountant. Salary for this position is typically higher because this designation requires a certificate issued by the state in which they work, after the accountant takes and passes the state test. Forensic accountants may work on behalf of government agencies when financial crimes are suspected. They typically rebuild financial records to find “missing” information or as the FBI indicates, “to follow the money.” Financial accountants typically prepare the financial statements for publically-held companies. This information must be submitted quarterly to the Securities Exchange Commission and follow specific formats. Accounting managers oversee the work of other accountants and all accounting clerks, while many tax accountants work for county or city government in the tax revenue department.

For 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median accounting salary across all accounting disciplines is $61,690 per year. Job growth is projected to continue at 16 percent through 2018. Most accounting positions require a Bachelor of Science degree or experience equal to a degree. The accounting salary also comes with benefits in addition to the salary that may include health insurance, 401-K contributions, vacation and more. Most accountants typically work 40 hours a week. Accounting salaries for accountants with graduate degrees are higher than average.

Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting isn’t always about detecting criminal activity; it can also involve rebuilding financial records for newly purchased companies. While there are specific guidelines that all accountants should follow under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles GAAP, not all accountants do. When financial records are not adequate, a forensic accountant will research all past financial activity to rebuild the records and create an auditable trail. An average forensic accounting salary in the U.S. is $73,000 per year. A forensic accounting salary varies by governmental agency, company and location. The average forensic accounting salary working for the government ranges between $53,000 and $80,000 a year depending on the level of education, the position and experience.

Tax Accountant

Tax accountants can work as certified public accountants, in government or private enterprise. When they work for the government or within a company, they may or may not be a CPA, depending upon the company or organization’s requirements. Tax accountants specifically work with the financial data that affects taxes of all kinds. This includes state and federal taxes, but it may also include special excise taxes, sales taxes, gasoline taxes, payroll taxes and any special taxes levied by government against the business. A tax accountant salary is $54,000 a year nationally. When the accountant works for an accountancy firm, the tax accountant salary could be as much as $66,000 per year. An annual tax accountant salary does not include the added amounts paid for benefits, such as vacation, retirement or health insurance.

Financial Accounting

Financial accountants ensure that all financial statements or reports are prepared and distributed timely. Financial accountants prepare public reports for submittal to the SEC when the company offers stock to the public. When the company is privately held, the financial accountant is responsible for all reporting and may be involved in financial analysis for the company. Simply Hired, a website that provides job information and salary reviews, indicates that the average salary across the U.S. for an accountant salary in finance is $59,000 per year.

Accounting Manager

The accounting manager must ensure that certain schedules are met timely, such as the month-end close of the books, and that all income and expenses are accounted for in the correct period. Because the accounting manager supervises other accounting staff, the job involves employee motivation, performance review and employee management along with other accounting duties. The accounting manager’s salary varies by the type of organization, the size of the company, the managed staff and the location in the U.S. Average accounting salaries for accounting managers is $61,000, but can be as high as $82,000 within specific industries.

Certified Public Accounting

Certified public accountants typically run their own business and provide accounting and tax services to businesses and individuals. CPAs can also work for the government or for private companies, typically in management positions such as controller. A certified public accountant salary, averaged across the United States, is $66,000. When working as a controller, the average salary is $76,000. A certified public accountant salary may also be much more when the CPA is a partner in an accountancy firm.