What is a Staff Accountant?

A staff accountant is a trained professional who works for accounting firms, government agencies and non-profit organizations. They spend their days working with numbers and creating financial documents for the company. A staff accountant is usually one of several accountants but often is a senior accountant or one with more experience. Learn more right here about staff accountants, including how to become one and what they can expect for career outlook.

What Staff Accountants Are

Staff accountants are accounting professionals who work with a group of accountants in the accounting department of a business or in an accounting firm. Staff accountants usually are senior accountants or may even run the accounting department. Staff accountants have many duties throughout the course of their workday.

  • Preparing and filing tax returns
  • Meeting with a department to discuss goals and objectives
  • Providing management with information on the financial status of the company
  • Preparing financial statements
  • Meeting with clients to discuss financial matters
  • Administrative duties such as filing, transcription, maintaining schedules and telephone support
  • Reviewing and maintaining general ledger accounts
  • Posting monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports
  • Analyzing and reconciling bank statements

To work successfully as a staff accountant, the individual should possess strong analytical, time-management, and communication skills. He or she should also have excellent technical skills and be good with spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel.

How to Become One

A bachelor’s degree is generally the minimum requirement for becoming an accountant. The degree may be in accounting or may be in business administration with a concentration in accounting. These programs generally take four years to complete and are offered at most colleges and universities. There are also many accounting programs offered online.

The curriculum for accounting programs includes courses in finance, accounting principles, and business, among others. In the final semester, students often are required to complete an internship at an accounting firm. It’s not necessary to become certified to work as a staff accountant but most choose to do so for better job opportunities.

Some employers may require certification. Staff accountants who will be filing reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission are required to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). To earn the credential, the accountant must pass the Uniform CPA Examination,

This exam, which is administered by the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, is a four-part exam that must be completed within 18 months of when the first part was taken. In addition to passing the exam, the aspiring CPA must complete 30 college credits beyond what the completed earning the bachelor’s degree.

Career Outlook for a Staff Accountant

As the economy continues to grow, so will the demand for accountants because they are needed to help keep a business profitable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that accountants should see an employment growth of 10 percent during the decade of 2016-2016. Staff accountants with experience should see the best career outlook. Accountants nationwide earned an average annual wage of $77,920 with wages ranging from $43,020 to $122,220 or more. Here are the states with the highest number of employed accountants.

  • California – 143,670
  • Texas – 116,000
  • New York – 108,130
  • Florida – 73,910
  • Pennsylvania – 52,150

Related Resource: Top 35 Online Master’s in Accounting Degree Programs 2017

Staff accountants play an important role in helping a business remain profitable. They also are the professionals who help individuals and companies stay in compliance with taxing regulations. Working as a staff accountant can be rewarding, challenging and very satisfying for the individual who enjoys working with numbers.