Depending on the type of accounting and firm size, CPA salaries can vary significantly. As a result, it is important to understand the average salary range for accountants before making a decision about whether to pursue this career option. In 2021, the median pay for accountants and auditors with a bachelor’s degree was $77,250, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is higher than the average bookkeeper salary and a good indicator of the increased earning potential for those who obtain CPA licensure.
The largest public accounting firms such as Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, and Ernst and Young are among the top employers of accountants. They offer competitive starting salaries and also pay their employees well for their years of service. In fact, many accountants at these firms enjoy lucrative benefits such as on-site gyms and wellness rooms in addition to their high salaries.
It is not unusual to see salaries in the six figures for accountants at these large firms, particularly if they are senior managers or directors. However, it is important to note that these positions are typically obtained with several years of experience. Those with less experience should expect to earn closer to the lower end of the range for CPAs.
A person’s education and credentials also play a role in the total compensation they receive as an accountant. A bachelor’s degree in accounting is the minimum requirement, but a master’s degree can increase an accountant’s salary. This is particularly true if the master’s program was focused on accounting and the person has specialized certifications in areas like taxation, auditing, or financial analysis.
Another factor that impacts the CPA salary is location. Salaries tend to be higher in metropolitan areas, especially when the economy is growing. This is due to the high demand for qualified accountants to prepare and examine financial records. A person can also earn a higher CPA salary in industries that are growing, such as financial technology or software.
In general, the larger the accounting firm, the higher the average CPA salary. This is because these companies have more resources and can afford to pay their employees well. However, a smaller firm may also be able to compete with the big accounting firms for skilled talent. It is not uncommon to find CPAs in small firms earning upward of $100K.
A person’s job title and responsibilities can also impact the CPA salary. For example, a person with a forensic accounting specialty will likely be paid more than an accountant in a tax compliance position. Additionally, a person with an advanced certification will also be compensated more than someone who has a basic CPA license. This is because these skills are highly sought after in the marketplace and provide a strong return on investment for the employer. As a result, some accountants choose to take on additional responsibilities or specialize in an area that will improve their career prospects and increase their earning potential.CPA salary range