When not shopping for wire rim glasses and pocket protectors, accountants perform some pretty important tasks. They keep a company’s financial data and transactions flowing smoothly. Accountants come in many shapes and sizes, so designations make it easier to sort them all out. Staff accountants often are numbered from one to three with the most experienced accountants receiving a label of senior accountant. Accountant II positions are one step up from entry level accounting I positions, offering those with this designation expanded job duties and responsibilities.
The main duty of any accountant is utilize the company’s financial data in the preparation of general ledger journal entries. These entries become the basis of balance sheet reconciliations. An accountant II position records journal entries but does not always prepare the final balance sheet. A senior accountant or financial analyst may do this step depending on the size of the company. The accountant II may also help prepare the budget and analyze the monthly financial statements for variances. The accountant documents and explains any variances. Accountant IIs may also be called upon to assist in tax report filings, asset allocations and forecasting.
Accountant II positions are the midway point between the higher level roles and the entry level ones. As such a person in this role would not have as much supervision as someone just starting out. Someone in this position needs to be able to work independently. They should possess skills enabling them to tackle multiple projects within tight timeframes. This role requires communication skills as this person will be called upon to explain financial transactions to upper management. The right candidate for an accountant II position possesses a minimum of two years of general ledger experience, as well as knowledge of GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles). A person in this role needs to be comfortable with financial software such as Microsoft Excel, Great Plains, PeopleSoft or SAP to name a few.
Accountants overall make more than other occupations according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accountants bring home around $61,690 according to a 2010 survey done by the Bureau. The top earners made more than $106,880 in the same time period while the bottom ten percent made less than $38,940. Accountant IIs will not reach six figures at their current level. However, as they advance through the ranks and gain more experience, the potential is there. Accountant II positions typically earn salaries that are right near the median range for accountants.
Accountant II positions typically require a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a comparable field. Business, finance and economics majors are comparable fields for accounting positions. Sometimes a person with an associates’ degree will ascend to the ranks of accountant II if they have experience. Accountants looking to advance their career take additional accounting courses to prepare for the Certified Public Accountant examination. Passing this exam earns an accountant the CPA designation. CPAs earn higher salaries and can advance to a controller level.
2016 Salary Information for Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $68,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, accountants and auditors earned a 25th percentile salary of $53,240, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $90,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,397,700 people were employed in the U.S. as accountants and auditors.
Adele Burney started her writing career in 2009 when she was a featured writer in "Membership Matters," the magazine for Junior League. She is a finance manager who brings more than 10 years of accounting and finance experience to her online articles. Burney has a degree in organizational communications and a Master of Business Administration from Rollins College.