Working as an accountant has personal and financial rewards, so it's a positive career choice if you enjoy working with numbers. Accountants usually work in an office environment, so most of your business is conducted at your desk or in meetings with clients and co-workers. Public and private accountants have competitive salaries, benefit packages and opportunities to climb the corporate ladder, so monetary rewards are a big plus. Since accountants help individuals and corporations save money, it's rewarding to know that others appreciate your skills. You'll probably be the most popular professional on the block.
According to Michigan State University, even in difficult economic times, accountants typically receive starting salaries that are among the top salaries offered to college graduates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2010 that the median annual income for accountants was $61,700, and the top 10 percent earned more than $106,900 per year. An accountant often receives health insurance benefits, retirement plans and other financial perks in addition to salary.
CNN Money reports that certified public accountant careers rank ninth out of 100 for best overall jobs. Some professionals gain job satisfaction knowing they have the skills necessary to help clients make wise financial decisions. Accountants understand complicated tax laws and manage difficult financial transactions, so individuals and corporations value their expertise.
A career in accounting allows you to climb the corporate ladder. As you develop your auditing skills, hone your tax return preparation skills, market your abilities and increase your knowledge in the field, you'll become an increasingly valuable commodity. Effective staff accountants are often promoted to management positions and receive higher compensation for their added responsibilities. Michigan State University reports that a degree in accounting provides an excellent base for upward mobility in any organization. Even though the workload is demanding, especially during the tax season, the opportunity for upward mobility is often worth all the hard work and long hours.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow 16 percent through 2020. Corporate corruption over the past few years has resulted in an increased demand for trained accountants, so a significant reward is long-term job security. If you're looking for a career path that doesn't have a dead end and will likely be in-demand during the next decade, accounting might be the perfect choice.
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.
- Michigan State University Broad College of Business: Accounting Profession
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Accountants and Auditors
- CNN Money: Best Jobs in America -- Certified Public Accountant
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Accountants and Auditors
- Career Trend: Accountants and Auditors
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.