Accountants: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview

Job description

Accountants analyze financial information and prepare financial reports to determine or maintain record of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, tax liability, or other financial activities within an organization.

  • Maintain or examine the records of government agencies.
  • Develop, maintain, and analyze budgets, preparing periodic reports that compare budgeted costs to actual costs.
  • Prepare, examine, or analyze accounting records, financial statements, or other financial reports to assess accuracy, completeness, and conformance to reporting and procedural standards.
  • Review accounts for discrepancies and reconcile differences.
Read more about what does an Accountant really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.



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Salary

Average salary
$78820 per year

Average hourly wage
$38 per hour


Accountants with little to no experience tend to make between $43650 and $55070 while the more experienced ones can earn over $92910 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $47 $98,130
NY $46 $96,300
NJ $43 $90,400
VA $41 $85,640
CT $41 $84,890

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as an Accountant is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Accountants are DC, NY, NJ, VA and CT.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as an Accountant is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Requirements

Recommended degree level
Bachelor’s degree

We asked other Accountants what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by a College Certificate.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Accounting and Computer Science
Financial Forensics and Fraud Investigation
Accounting
Auditing
Accounting and Finance
Read more about how to become an Accountant and the degree, training and education you need.


Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being an Accountant.

PROS
Suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
Very good salary
Normal working hours (40 hours per week)
CONS
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.


What is the job like

Job satisfaction
71%

Is this job meaningful
38%


71% of Accountants said they were satisfied with their job and 38% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.


Working experience from Andrew K Source: Direct

I’m the accounting manager at Elias Savion Advertising and I really enjoy what I do. I have always enjoyed working with numbers, analyzing financial statements, and playing around in Excel. Therefore, working in accounting has offered me an opportunity to do what I enjoy and to use all of these skills in my daily work.

What is your work life like?

I started at Elias Savion Advertising at the very end of February 2020 and then COVID happened forcing myself, like most Americans, to work remotely from home. During that time, I have worked with higher level management to move all accounting to a completely virtual and paperless model. As far as my day-to-day work, there isn’t really a typical day. Throughout the month, I will bill monthly retainers and various billable projects to clients as well as input vendor invoices and ensure the company bills get paid. I then meet with management regularly to provide accurate updates on the company financials and to provide my own financial analysis and opinions related to future projections. The job requires a lot of focus, an extremely high level of organization, and the utmost attention to detail to ensure everything is done timely and accurately.

About Andrew: He also runs his own fitness supplement business called NutriFierce which he owns and operates as a hobby.


Working experience from Ben C Source: Direct

A normal workday would depend on what time of the year/month it is. This time of year, we are working on finalizing all of the year-end related close items and getting ready for our own internal audit.

How big your organization is dictates how much of the financials you’ll have an impact on. With very large corporate companies, an accountant’s job might be only dealing with one or two pieces of the financials (for example, Accounts Receivable, or Accounts Payable).

Typical responsibilities include bank reconciliations, month-end journal entries, A/R application of payments and sending of statements. A/P related issues including ensuring all vendors are paid on time and following up on any outstanding bills. Unless something particularly new is happening, you might be only doing typical monthly tasks on a regular day. There’s also all sorts of ad hoc analysis for tracking down variances and missing info.

About Ben: He is also the founder of Excel Exposure, an online training program for Microsoft Excel.


Working experience from Steve M Source: Direct

I work in corporate accounting for a big company. We have a monthly close cycle that takes up about 10 business days each month. I prepare journal entries, and I do a lot of reporting for other people in the company, consisting of the monthly results. In addition to the monthly close process, we have additional duties, that include creating budgets and forecast models. Being an accountant is not for everyone. There are is a lot of repetition, you need pretty good math skills and have to meet deadlines. I enjoy the work, and it pays well. My schedule is pretty flexible and consistent, working M-F.

What is your work life like?

Work-life is pretty good for me. I know when the busy times of the month are going to be, so I can plan my personal life around that. It does get hectic at the beginning of the month, as that is our busy time. Also, during our budget and forecast seasons, there is very little room for time off. But we can make up for that other times of the year when it’s not as busy. That’s the good and bad of my job. It’s nice to be able to plan my personal life around work because I know when the busy times are going to be. It’s also difficult because my time off doesn’t always align with that of my wife and kids. I have not been able to take spring break off in many years, because it always falls during monthly close and forecast. But July is a pretty good month for time off.

About Steve: He also runs a kayaking blog called Paddle About.


Working experience from Tim G Source: Quora

As a tax accountant, I take a whole bunch of numbers given to me in Excel (unless I’m unlucky, then they’re in PDF), move them around into a different Excel sheet, move them over to federal or state tax forms, then give them to the IRS or state.

The vast majority of my time is spend on the “moving them around to a different Excel sheet” portion, since the IRS has something like a hundred thousand pages on how they should be presented.

It actually can be a very interesting career, since you understand the nuts and bolts about how businesses work. But to describe it well, it’s really hard to make it sound exciting.


Working experience from John C Source: Quora

Overall it’s been one hell of a great ride in the games of career and life for me. Obviously some ups and some downs but that’s always expected. I am also a chartered surveyor so my professional life has been varied quite a lot which is another reason for a much more balanced career. Admittedly I think the worst part of accounting is that the early years are very tedious and repetitive but those were the basic learning years which on reflection have moulded your thinking and professionalism. Later going into industry was much more front line business than back end accounting or auditing which was far more enjoyable. You can’t have the smooth without the rough so take any experience and learn from it. Move up the ladder by around 35 you should be getting towards leadership roles.



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Organizers and The Entrepreneurs

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas..

They also like starting up and carrying out projects. They like leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.



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