A staff accountant is an accountant who works in-house for a business. Most staff accountants are certified public accountants (CPAs). The duties of a staff accountant vary according to the size of the business. In a small business, a staff accountant will have more clerical responsibilities, while in a larger business, a staff accountant will have more supervisory and management responsibilities. Generally, a staff accountant will be responsible for maintaining the company's ledger accounts and preparing financial statements.
Receive a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or another related field from an accredited university or college. Be aware that the majority of states require at least 150 semester credit hours to become a CPA. As such, you may need to obtain a master's degree in accounting to meet this requirement.
Take the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and receive a passing score, which may vary by jurisdiction. The Uniform CPA exam is designed to assess the knowledge and skills entry-level CPAs need to practice public accountancy. The exam covers four major subject areas: auditing and attestation, business environment and concepts, financial accounting and reporting and regulation.
Get work experience working under a CPA in your state. The amount of required work experience varies according to jurisdiction, but is generally one or two years.
Apply for your CPA's license from your state's Board of Accountancy.
Use online job boards and recruiting events to find staff accountant employment opportunities. Apply to these jobs by sending a cover letter and resume to the company's human resources department.
On the American Institute of CPAs' This Way to CPA website, you can check your state's specific requirements for CPA licensure.
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.
- On the American Institute of CPAs' This Way to CPA website, you can check your state's specific requirements for CPA licensure.
- LifeTips: What is a Staff Accountant?
- National Association of State Boards of Accountancy: The Uniform CPA Exam
- American Institute of CPA's: Steps to Becoming a CPA
- Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become an Accountant or Auditor
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Accountants and Auditors
- Career Trend: Accountants and Auditors
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