Accounting Salaries from Recent Grads to Seasoned Pros

Accounting salaries

From entry-level staff accountants to chief financial officers, current salaries for accounting professionals have never been better. Many variables enter into the determination of accounting salaries at any given career level.

Included among these factors are geographic location, size of firm or business, industry specialization, and the type of work setting, i.e., governmental, corporate or public accounting. Also, many employers offer higher salaries to those holding a graduate-level accounting degree.

One respected, widely accepted resource that incorporates the above factors is Robert Half International’s Salary Guide for the United States. Robert Half International is a pre-eminent human-resource recruiter for the accounting and finance professions. Its salary guide provides accountants with a convenient starting point for salary negotiations for a variety of accounting and financial positions.

Public Accounting — Entry-Level Assurance and Tax Salaries

For a recent university graduate entering the assurance division of a large public accounting firm, the average 2013 salary range is $52,750 to $64,500. Entry-level salaries in the tax division of large public accounting firms are comparable. The upper and lower limits of this range are approximately $10,000 less for similar positions in small public accounting firms.To calculate a geographic adjustment to these ranges, one locates, within Robert Half’s guide, an index for a specific city and multiplies the range by the index. For example, the index for Long Island, N.Y. is 135.00. So, the above salary range is geographically adjusted by a 35 percent increase yielding a range of $71,213 to $87,075.

Career in Accounting

The average 2013 salary range for an accountant is $52,750 to $64,500.

Public and Corporate Accounting –- Seasoned Professionals

For an experienced director of taxation employed in a large public accounting firm, the 2013 average salary range, excluding bonuses and overtime, is $112,000 to $183,000. Bonuses and overtime pay will substantially increase these figures. A tax director working in a large corporation can earn between $146,500 and $241,750. A chief compliance director in a large corporation can gross anywhere from $157,750 to $223,250. In a small corporate setting, the average 2013 geographically unadjusted salary range for a compliance director is $92,750 to $123,000.

 >> Discover more information about how to become a corporate accountant

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics is another resource for finding information on current accounting salaries. Salary data is listed under the “Business and Financial Operations” occupational group. For 2012, under its official occupational title “Accountants and Auditors,” the bureau showed an average hourly wage of $34.15 and an average annual salary of $71,040.

Accounting jobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics can also provide statistical data on salaries for accounting positions.

The bureau also presents salaries and hourly wages by percentile rank. For 2012, the hourly wage at the 90th percentile was $53.61, and the 90th-percentile annual salary was $111,510. Information is also provided by geographic location. For example, for California, the mean hourly wage in 2012 was $36.48. The average annual salary was $75,870, and the 90th-percentile annual salary was $116,860.

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