Accountants are key to allowing a corporation, business, or other organization to be financially efficient. They handle such tasks as auditing, tax, keeping public records, and a number of other duties. The job requires a proficiency in math and a knowledge of business and financial matters, as well as accuracy and attention to detail. An accountant salary will vary depending on his/her experience, field, and qualifications, but the majority of positions will allow for job security, benefits, and competitive wages.
The four major types of accountants are public accountants, management accountants, government accountants, and internal auditors. Each field has a different set of responsibilities and duties; although, the average salaries for each tend to be fairly consistent, depending on the experience of the accountant and the organization he/she works for.
At the turn of the century, the median annual income of accountants was just below $40,000. The middle half of those employed in the field earned anywhere between $30,000 and $50,000. The top 10 percent of accountants earned more than $75,000, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $25,000.
On average, accountants working in urban areas earned a little more than those working in any other area. The industries that employed the most accountants were, in descending order: accounting, auditing, and bookkeeping companies, state government (not including education or hospitals), federal government, local government (not including education or hospitals), and commercial banks.
In 1999, accountants with bachelor’s degrees received starting salaries which averaged about $35,000 per year. Masters degree holders had a slightly higher average starting salary. The average accountant salary with up to one year of experience was between $26,000 – $36,000 per year across all fields, while accountants with one to three years of experience earned $29,000 – $41,000. Senior accountants earned between $34,000 – $51,000, managers earned between $41,000 – $68,000, and directors earned between $56,000 – $91,000.
Employment opportunities for accountants in every field are expected to increase in the next few years as more businesses are created and current professions start to retire or move to other positions. The number of job openings that result from this is expected to be in the thousands. Though the job market is expected to remain competitive, with licensed accountants having the best job prospects, there is a good chance that it will be easier for all qualified accountants to find employment.
As businesses begin to expand and grow, accountants will be expected to adjust to a shift in their clients’ needs. Additionally, legislation regarding taxes is subject to change significantly in the coming years as well, which means accountants will also have to alter their techniques to fit these new laws. As a result, the nature of an accountant’s job may be significantly different in the foreseeable future than it is currently. Accountants will certainly have more advanced computer programs at their disposal, which can perform more sophisticated tasks. Some believe that these new programs could work to decrease the amount of jobs in the industry. Though this may be true, it is difficult to know for certain.
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