There are numerous types of accounting careers for accounting majors or experienced accountants can pursue. Some help prepare taxes for people while others do taxes for business clients. Still other accountants work solely for corporations, managing payrolls or overseeing other accounting functions. Accountants can also choose to work in different industries. Most accounting titles are based on rank; those in executive-level accounting positions may have worked under other titles in previous positions. Accountants usually earn annual salaries.
Chief Financial Officers
Chief financial officers, also known as CFOs, are executive-level accountants that oversee all accounting functions in companies and corporations. These executives hold the highest ranking accounting position and usually report to presidents or chief executive officers. Chief financial officers earned annual salaries between $60,965 and $197,283, according to June 2011 data from PayScale.com. Their salaries are largely dependant on the industries or sizes of companies for whom they worked. Executives also earned higher salaries through experience. For example, those with zero to nine years of experience earned salaries between $36,107 and $151,997 per year. Those with 10 or more years of experience earned annual salaries of $65,272 to $208,031. Chief financial officers earned some of the highest salaries in New York at up to $250,770 per year. They earned significantly lower salaries in Florida at $180,787 per year on the high end.
Controllers or comptrollers are equivalent to directors in accounting departments. These professionals usually oversee the work of different types of accounting managers. They are responsible for tracking the revenue and expenses of businesses, essentially controlling the funds used by the corporation. Controllers earned annual salaries between $49,721 and $115,799, per June 2011 PayScale.com data. Again, the ranges represent the middle 50 percent of all controllers. Those with one to nine years of experience earned salaries between $29,087 and $100,184 per year. Those with 10 or more years of experience earned between $53,466 and $122,870 annually. These professionals earned their highest salaries in California, ranging from $54,149 to $132,078 per year. Those in the state of Washington earned significantly lower annual salaries at $48,973 to $106,954.
Accounting managers run the operations of accounting departments, including the development of general ledgers and financial statements and sales forecast reports. Accounting managers earned annual salaries of $39,657 to $87,451, according to PayScale.com in June 2011. Those with zero to nine years of experienced earned salaries of $27,500 to $88,126 per year. With over 10 years experience, they earned up to $90,256 per year. These professionals earned their highest annual salaries, among those listed, in New York at $44,654 to $101,553. Those working in Ohio earned significantly lower salaries ranging from $36,917 to $76,627 per year.
Auditors evaluate the financial records and tax forms of businesses and individuals, ensuring accuracy and checking for fraudulent activities. They look for ways of improving operational efficiency in companies. Auditors earned annual salaries of $38,579 to $69,771, per June 2011 data from PayScale.com. Those with zero to nine years of experience earned salaries of $36,124 to $81,798 per year. With 10 or more years of experience, they earned salaries of $39,314 to $105,875 annually. Accounting professionals earned their highest salaries, among states listed, in New York at $42,115 to $80,042 per year. Those in Florida earned considerably lower salaries at $31,687 to $60,118 annually.
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.