How Do You Become a Staff Accountant?

become a staff accountant

An individual interested in learning how to become a staff accountant will be happy to hear that it can be done in about four years. Accountants work and are necessary for almost every business. If you’re making money, you can benefit from the services of an accountant. Here is an overview of how to become a staff account and also info on career outlook.

Educational Training

A candidate who decides to become a staff accountant must complete a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Another example of a degree might be a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting. Having a master’s degree in accounting can be beneficial for a staff accountant seeking work, but a bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirements.

Bachelor’s degree accounting programs are offered at most colleges and universities and generally take four years to complete. Students in an accounting program complete many accounting related courses and also complete an internship in a business or accounting firm.


Individuals who become accountants are not automatically required to obtain certification, but they must become certified public accountants (CPAs) if filing reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission. To become certified, the candidate must complete an additional 30 college credits above and beyond the 120 credits earned in the bachelor’s degree program. Some colleges offer 5-year programs that help the student earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the same time.

To become a CPA, the candidate must pass the four-part Uniform CPA Examination, which is offered through the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants. All four parts do not have to be taken at the same time but should all be completed within 18 months of completing the first exam. Staff Accountants can also obtain certification through the Institute of Internal Auditors, the Institute of Management Accountants and the International Systems Audit and Control Association.

What They Do

Staff accountants work in accounting firms or in an accounting department of a business. The title of staff accountant is usually used to represent the accountant may be an accounting supervisor or may be a senior accountant with more experience. Here are some of the duties an individual might have after deciding to become a staff accountant.

  • Works on general ledger maintaining file and reconciling accounts
  • Prepare internal and external financial statements
  • Schedules jobs and verified data
  • Prepares payments and requests disbursements
  • Answers financial and accounting questions by researching data
  • Assists with acquisitions and mergers by providing financial information
  • Creates and implements accounting procedures

Wage Potential & Career Outlook

Accountants nationwide are expected to see a job growth of 10 percent from 2016-2016, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Accountants earn very good wages, with some of the best wages going to those with more experience and certification. As of May 2017, accountants earned wages that ranged from $43,020 to $122,220 with the average annual wage at $77,920. Location also plays a large part in determining wages. Here are the five top-paying states for accountants, according to the bureau.

  • District of Columbia – $96,880
  • New York – $95,430
  • New Jersey – $91,400
  • Virginia – $84,740
  • South Dakota – $65,460

Working as a staff accountant is a great career for someone who is mathematically-inclined and enjoys working with and crunching numbers. It can also be challenging at times. Knowing you’re able to help others make money or save money can make you very happy that you decided to become a staff accountant.

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