Do Accountants Make Good Money? » [Not What You’d Think]

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Choosing careers is the hardest choice after high school, especially for those that are good at mathematics. I can sense a feeling of indecisiveness in people who want to opt for accounting as a career. So, do accountants make good money?

Accountants make good money as their average annual salary is way more than all occupations’ national annual salary average. Senior-level accountants make an annual salary of at least $120,000 or more, and entry-level accountants make $40,000 or less annually.

Moreover, an accounting and auditing job can promise $77,250 as an annual salary in the United States, according to a recent record (for the years 2000 and 2014) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

But this is just an average of the whole country. Different US states can guarantee different salary numbers for an accounting position depending on the state’s economic conditions.

Top 5 Highest Paying States for Accountants

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage of an accountant is $37.14, and the annual mean wage is $77,920.

But every state in the US has a different average mean salary for accountants. 

For example, an accountant’s wage may be higher in California but pretty low in Texas, depending on many different factors. 

Let’s see what states pay the highest mean wage to accountants in the United States of America. 

StatesAnnual Mean Wage
District Of Columbia$103,930   
New York$98,650
New Jersey$91,960   

The table below shows the states that pay accountants the highest mean salary. 

What Careers Do Accountants Have?

There is a wide range of career pathways for accounting majors to consider. Some of them are listed below:

  1. Certified Public Accountant
  2. Internal Auditor
  3. Investment Accountant
  4. Staff Accountant
  5. Government Accountant
  6. Management Accountant
  7. Cost Accountant
  8. Forensic Accountant
  9. Chief Financial Officer
  10. Accountant Professor
  11. Corporate Controller
  12. Information Technology Accountant

All of these different specialized pathways have varying salaries depending upon the work required or the field they are in.

According to BLS, this is the median annual wage for accountants and auditors working in different industrial sectors.

IndustriesMedian Annual Wage
Finance and insurance$79,310
Management of companies and enterprises$78,540
Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services$77,080

» Maybe this also could be of interest to you: How To Improve My Accounting Career?

What Kind Of Accountant Makes the Most Money?

The highest paying jobs for accounting majors are the positions of corporate controllers, chief financial officers (CFO), information technology accountant, certified public accountant (CPA), and a profession in teaching accounting.

Although it depends on the level of expertise one has to be put on a certain specialized pathway, the best paid are the ones who opt for the positions of chief financial officers (CFO) or certified public accountant (CPA).

Currently, the chief financial officers are being paid an annual salary of $140,000 to $170,000 on average, while the certified public accountants earn up to $100,000 or more annually. 

However, some of the most promising and in-demand certified public accountants also make up to $500,000 annually, especially if they open up their own accounting firms. 

Another high-paying accounting job on the rise in this era is a professor who teaches accounting subjects.

Being an accounting professor requires one to extend his or her knowledge and get a Ph.D. in accounting, which promises a whopping salary of $113,934 annually.

How Much Do Entry Level Accountants Make?

Entry-level accountants i.e. the ones who have just finished their 3 or 4-year-long bachelor’s degree in accounting, may start at a private or public corporate and get an annual salary of around $40,000, or sometimes less. 

This will increase with the years of experience and may reach $75,000 in 2 to 3 years after starting.

However, suppose the newly joined accountant gathers more skills and knowledge, leading to joining bigger companies or opening their own firm.

In that case, they are likely to earn $100,000 easily, which is an average calculation.

How Long Does It Take for an Accountant to Make a 6-Figure Salary? 

It typically takes five to eight years for an accountant to make a 6-figure salary. The timeline to get to a six-figure salary depends on what accountant career you chose, what state you work in, and your level of skillset.

A 6 figure salary for a fresh accounting graduate is out of the question here.

However, with years of experience, a 5-figure salary can be multiplied and turned into a 6-figure one. Unfortunately, if you’re a woman in this field, you may never hit the 6-figure mark.

An accountant that builds greater skills and hoards extra certifications is more likely to earn better.

Starting from small or mid-sized companies with an average pay of $40,000, an accountant can take up to 8 years or more to reach a salary of $100,000 on average. 

If that individual starts from a big company, he or she will likely reach earnings of $200,000 in a period of 10 years.

Ways to Make 6-Figures as an Accountant

If an accountant stays at said company and becomes a partner (which is rare if that accountant is not a CFO or CPA), he or she may even reach a salary of $400,000 or $500,000 within 15 to 20 years of working for that company.

Additionally, an accountant can make extra cash while working with their main entity by focusing a part of their time on a side hustle, be it as a freelancer or opening a different firm. 

This can most importantly help an accountant increase their skills, knowledge, as well as earnings per year. How fast an accountant reaches a maximum salary limit is also dependent upon their degree collection.

For example, a bachelor’s degree is enough for a good CFO or CPA position, a master’s degree is necessary for a corporate controller’s position, and a Ph.D. for teaching accounting are all high-paying jobs.

» I have also written this post, about: 10 High Paying Jobs In Finance With NO Experience At All

Can Accountants Become Millionaires?

Yes, accountants can certainly become millionaires, but that’s a tiny percentage that makes a 7-figure salary annually. Usually, accountants who open up their own accounting firms or level up to become partners in the firm manage to make a million dollars in a year in the US.

You can find millionaire accountants in any accounting firm, not just the top four firms.

There’s also a chance for accountants to become millionaires if they specialize in small businesses, have an entrepreneurial mindset, and manage to get clients with high net worth.

I’d also suggest you do some pro bono and community work to build a good name in your locality, and once the word spreads, you may end up getting high-paying clients and become a millionaire before turning 50.

How Can You Get Rich Quickly as an Accountant?

It has been recorded that the accountants that were the earliest to get wealthy were the ones who had better education and spent long hours building their expertise in the fields of their specializations.

The fastest route to getting the most money in an accountant’s bank is via the infamous career pathway of a chief financial officer (CFO) or a chief public accountant (CPA). 

These two fields promise enormous sources of money if you are an accountant with only a BA degree and with good mind skills.

Some accountants may also make more than $500,000 per year if they are associated with fields such as corporate controllers, CFOs, or CPAs for big firms like KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PwC, etc. 

This also depends if they are high in demand across the world or in their specific state. 

An accountant can also make more money and become rich in a short amount of time if they are opening their own firms instead of working at other companies or firms.

How Stressful Is Accounting?

Accounting has been recorded as one of the most stress-inducing jobs in different states of the world. A human’s multiple organ systems are greatly affected negatively by a sedentary, static, and immobile lifestyle caused by the accounting career.  

As great as it pays, there are some serious stressing factors too. As a matter of fact, accountants have to deal with such a sedentary kind of lifestyle to give good outputs regarding their work.

They are so rigid and repetitive while performing their jobs sitting in one place that it leads to dreadful misery.

» You can also read my post: Should You Get a Lower Paying Job for Less Stress?

Health Risks for Accountants

Moreover, their immense workload is a huge factor in jeopardizing their health, and the pressure of deadlines is causing them to become depressed and unable to take some time off for themselves.

This is a huge issue arising with firms and companies nowadays. 

Although this industry pays a hefty amount to its professionals, research has found that 90% of accounting individuals are stressed out due to long hours at work and penalties resulting from work done in the midst of stress.

This is a never-ending cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Accountants Ussually Rich?

Yes, accountants are known to be one of the richest professionals who manage and report other peoples’ finances in selected firms and states. They get more than the average salary in a short amount of time if their skills are valid and outstanding.

Is Accounting a Safe Job for the Future?

Yes, Accounting is known to undoubtedly be one of the safest jobs for one’s future in the aspects of financial independence. It is a great work field with excellent salary opportunities always knocking on an accountant’s door.

According to the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be about 9600 new jobs in accounting by the year 2030, and the profession is expected to grow at a rate of 7%. 

» Read my blog post: 7 Ways That an Accountant Will Save You Money

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it is imminent to hypothesize that accounting is a great paying job, and accountants are given various and lifelong opportunities to break their banks. 

The income is more than just satisfactory, especially if the professional loves mathematics and enjoys dealing with numbers.

Thus, contrary to the belief that accounting does not pay much, it is to be noted that it pays quite well and is more than enough as a career choice for a successful, fulfilled, and safe future. Hence, the ones torn about whether or not to choose this major should go for it without further hesitation.

About Hi' my name is Simon. I am the owner of Top Work Life. Together with a my team, I write content about income generating ideas, entreprenurship and growth as a person Read more about Simon & TopWorklife

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