What kind of salary can I expect to earn with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting?

salary bachelors accounting

When considering your future career, what is the first question most people ask themselves? That’s right, more often than not, the question is “what is my earning potential for the career I have chosen?” Let’s be honest, money isn’t everything…but, it does help make life a little easier. You may have big dreams of opening your own accounting firm, or to be a world traveler, or perhaps to just provide security for your family and build your children’s college fund. Whatever the reason, it is a good idea to research your chosen field and see if the educational cost of obtaining your bachelor’s degree in the accounting professional is worth the return.

There is an extremely wide array of career opportunities in the accounting field, however, auditors and accountants, according to the BLS.gov website, states that they earned an average annual salary of approximately $70,500, in 2018. Lower median salaries, for example, of an accounting clerk averaged $40,240 annually. To summarize, accounting career salaries can range anywhere from $40,000 – $120,000 annually depending on education, certifications, business location and especially years of experience, with an overall average of $70,000 to $80,000 annually with a 6% job growth rate by the year 2028. The best-paid salaries go to those in the field of securities and commodity brokerage.

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Career options to consider with a Bachelor of Accounting degree:

A Certified Public Accountant typically earns an average salary of $119,000 annually. A CPA new on the scene with less than one year of experience can make a yearly salary of approximately $66,000. A seasoned CPA with at least 20 years of experience can earn upwards of $152,000 annually. Accountants who sign and file records with the Securities and Exchange Commission must obtain Certified Public Accountant licensure. This certification significantly increases your hiring possibilities.

As a CPA, you can expect to handle a plethora of accounting duties while you make use of your expertise within the field. Most CPAs are proficient in all areas of finance and accounting; however, some prefer to concentrate on a specific topic. The choice is up to you. 

Within any genre you choose, you will be responsible for maintaining financial records, preparing financial statements, computing taxes, submitting tax payments in a timely manner, as well as adhering to all accounting statutes mandated by the state in which you are practicing. CPAs form relationships with their clients; therefore, they must be excellent communicators and very personable with a genuine desire to serve the public.

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Corporate Accountants earn between $39,750 to $62,000 annually with less than three years of experience. Your salary will also depend on the size of the corporations you represent. Individuals with higher-level degrees, CPA certification, along with additional expertise, can earn upwards of $79,250 per year. With further education and certifications, you will definitely peak hiring interest from potential employers. Certification as a CMA (Certified Management Accountant) from the Institute of Management Accountants may also be required.

With a specialization in corporate accounting, your focus will be on accounting for the business world, primarily working with large conglomerates, as well as smaller family-owned businesses and everything in between. You will often be consulted about financial decisions, current trends, and investments. 

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Tax Examiners must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, as well as work experience in the accounting field to work for government agencies at the local, state, or federal level. The median annual salary of a tax examiner at the federal level is approximately $81,183, followed by state and then local level opportunities with median yearly wages of roughly $54,440.

Tax Examiners specialize in all matters related to the Internal Revenue Service, along with other types of taxes due by law. They are tasked with reviewing tax returns, verifying income, processing payments and refunds, and keeping records, among other duties. Tax Examiners must be familiar with all tax-related codes and laws.

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Internal Auditors earn a median salary between $43,650 and $70,500 per year. Individuals in this profession are required to stay current on all tax codes and regulations within industries. Internal auditors may elect to become Certified Internal Auditors (CIA) through the Institute of Internal Auditors. Earning this certification will increase your hiring potential and marketability. With the proper credentials, you can expect to earn upwards of $122,840, depending on experience.

Auditors must examine documentation, financial statements, and final audit reports to verify tax return compliance, as well as update internal control systems designed to keep the most up-to-date and innovative procedures and policies in place. In addition, you will need to participate in tax seminars and training workshops regularly. 

Most Internal Auditors work as consultants for the organization of which they work. They work closely with management teams to look for ways to improve production and investments by reviewing past business transactions, in addition to future investments.

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A Managerial Accountant is responsible for providing pertinent accounting information to upper management and typically earns a median salary between $80,000 and $102,000 annually, depending on experience and certifications. 

Management accountants work closely with numbers and must be proficient in business administration practices, in addition to having managerial skills. They carefully use their knowledge for risk management, strategizing, and planning company investments. In addition, the field of management accounting includes supervising other financial-related departments. Within smaller companies, you, yourself, may be required to track income and expenses, prepare tax returns and income statements, as well as prepare budgets to assist in decision making. 

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A Cost Accountant‘s salary is approximately $67,439 annually, depending on your experience and certification credentials. Cost accounting is used primarily in manufacturing businesses to record and analyze costs to lend advice on current and future endeavors. They look diligently at the supply chain to evaluate the cost versus the expense of each project, product, or service. 

Also, cost accountants are hired to foresee profitability, prepare future budgets, and advise on future investments. They often collect past data to determine tomorrow’s profits. In this position, you will be a valuable player in an organization’s success as you determine which products or services are viable options to pursue.

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Forensic Accountants deal with accounting issues that could potentially become useful in a court of law. Some examples could include matters dealing with divorce settlements, bankruptcies, or securities fraud. The median annual salary for a forensic accountant is approximately $85,455. A career in this field is expected to rise significantly due to the increase in fraud, embezzlement, and theft.

Through a specialization in forensic accounting, investigative skills must be utilized to follow the money trail to solve crimes. They explore fraudulent claims, money laundering, embezzlement, contractual disputes, and bankruptcies.   

Some forensic accountants begin their careers in law enforcement or business administration and then make the transition into using their talents to solve legal issues. As a forensic accountant, you will often be called to testify in court proceedings as an expert witness. 

Earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field will allow you the opportunity to fulfill your career goal in any number of industries. Your bachelor’s degree is also a stepping stone to obtaining your master’s degree, which will, in turn, multiply your employment options as well as your wallet.

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