Thinking of pursuing a career as an accountant? It’s a great time to do so! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of accounting jobs will grow by 6% through 2028! Though those with an accounting degree have tons of options when it comes to earning a living, some professionals may be interested in the highest-paying positions.
That’s why Top Accounting Degrees went on the hunt for the highest paying accounting jobs. We researched more than 50 jobs for which one with an accounting degree might be hired. We then used the website PayScale to find out the average salary of each job title. Finally, we ranked our list in order of descending average salary until we reached the 30 highest paying accounting jobs.
1. Vice President of Finance
The highest paying accounting job is a company’s Vice President of Finance. Of course, it takes many years of hard work to become a V.P. of Finance. Typically, a master’s degree is also required. Vice Presidents of finance work alongside a company’s president and/or chief executive officer. Their primary responsibilities include coordinating budgets, setting realistic financial goals, and overseeing lower-level employees in the finance department.
2. Chief Financial Officer
Second only to the Vice President of Finance is the Chief Financial Officer. For an average salary of $134,000, the Chief Financial Officer, or C.F.O., oversees a company’s financial operations. He or she is responsible for figuring out ways a company can progress while also saving money. Ensuring their company is adhering to all laws and policies is also part of a C.F.O.’s job description. To become a Chief Financial Officer, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, plus a number of years of prior work experience.
3. International Tax Manager
Third on our list of the best paying jobs in accounting is International Tax Managers. These highly paid accounting professionals are typically employed by multinational corporations or accounting firms. They are responsible for preparing and filing tax forms, as well as analyzing tax regulations at local, state/regional, and national levels. To become an International Tax Manager, one must have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, though a master’s degree is often preferred. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certificate and knowledge of software like CORPInternational are also required.
4. Finance Director
Finance Directors make an average of $114,000 per year, making them the fourth highest paid professionals in accounting. Employed by companies both big and small, Finance Directors lead a team in creating strategic financial plans. Responsibilities include:
- identifying financial risks
- making moves to lessen those financial risks
- creating strategic plans
Finance Directors should have a master’s degree in finance or a related subject, plus some years of experience in the field. Teamwork, advanced mathematics, and public speaking are also important skills a Finance Director should possess.
5. Finance Manager
The fifth highest paying accounting job is a company’s Finance Manager. It takes strong analytical skills to become a Finance Manager. A bachelor’s degree in finance or a related subject is also a minimum requirement, as is a CPA certificate. Finance Managers work alongside other managers in a company. Responsibilities include:
- tracking ongoing expenses
- ensuring managers do not surpass their department’s budget
- creating accurate and timely financial reports.
6. Accounting Professor
Next on our list of the best paying jobs in accounting in Accounting Professor. For an average salary of $88,000, an Accounting Professor teaches accounting courses at the college and/or university level. He or she is responsible for:
- designing an accounting curriculum
- giving lectures
- guiding students through graduation requirements
Performing research and analyzing data may also be part of an Accounting Professor’s job description. To become an Accounting Professor, one should have a graduate-level degree, and possibly some years of experience in the field of accounting.
7. Senior Financial Analyst
Seventh on our list of the highest paying accounting jobs is Senior Financial Analyst. These highly paid professionals are employed in just about every industry, by companies big and small. They are responsible for managing teams of analysts, and overseeing the analysis of various accounting data. Determining economic and financial risks, then organizing real-world solutions are also part of the Senior Financial Analyst’s job description. To become a Senior Financial Analyst, one should have a master’s degree and previous experience in financial analysis. Financial Analysts below the senior level make an average of $60,923 per year, according to PayScale.
8. Compliance Manager
Compliance Managers earn an average of $77,545 per year, making them the eighth highest paid professionals in accounting. Employed by companies big and small, Compliance Managers oversee their employer’s legal, management, and compliance issues. Responsibilities include:
- conducting audits
- analyzing sales
- verifying policies
- filing timely and accurate reports
Compliance Managers should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or similar, plus 5-7 years of related experience. Problem-solving, communication, and writing are also important skills for a Compliance Manager.
9. Assistant Controller
The ninth highest paying accounting job is Assistant Controller. To become an Assistant Controller, one should have experience relevant to the industry in which they’re looking to work. A degree in finance or accounting is also required in most cases. Assistant Controllers oversee and manage the day-to-day accounts activities of a company. Responsibilities include:
- ensuring all accounts data is accurate
- allocating resources throughout departments
- presenting to their superiors the annual budget.
10. Compliance Officer
Not to be confused with the Compliance Manager is the Compliance Officer. For an average salary of $69,000, a Compliance Officer is charged with handling issues related to compliance with laws and regulations. He or she is responsible for ensuring a company is up-to-date with all licensing requirements. Reporting their findings to the company’s governing board is also part of a Compliance Officer’s job description. To become a Compliance Officer, one should have a bachelor’s degree. Depending on the industry, some sort of certification may also be required.
11. Financial Comptroller
Eleventh on our list of the highest paying accounting jobs is Financial Comptroller. These highly paid professionals are employed by companies big and small in all industries. They are responsible for overseeing their employer’s accounting policies and procedures. Specific tasks include analyzing various budgets and ensuring that all financial reporting is done in accordance with policy. To become a Financial Comptroller, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or actuarial science. Experience as a manager in the accounting industry is also preferred.
12. Forensic Accountant
Forensic accountants make an average of $67,450 per year, making them the 12th highest paid professionals in accounting. Forensic accountants are typically employed by:
- government agencies
- police forces
- insurance companies
Forensic Accountants work to solve white-collar crime like:
- hidden assets
- money laundering
Specific tasks include:
- investigating and analyzing financial evidence
- assisting in legal proceedings
- serving as an expert witness during trials
Forensic Accountants should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or forensic accounting. Problem-solving, computer, and communication skills are also necessary.
13. Certified Financial Planner
Thirteenth on our list of the highest paying accounting jobs is Personal Financial Advisor. These well-paid professionals are employed by individuals, though they often work as part of a firm. Personal Financial Advisors are responsible for helping a person or family reach such financial goals as education and retirement. Specific tasks include:
- assisting clients with tax returns
- offering investment advice
- guiding clients through estate planning
To become a Personal Financial Advisor, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree. They should also be licensed and have obtained the professional qualification of Certified Financial Planner (CFP).
14. Credit Manager
Credit Managers make an average salary of $66,000, making them the 14th most highly paid professionals in accounting.Typically employed by a company, Credit Managers are responsible for collecting money owed to their employer. Specific tasks include:
- initiating legal action when bills are not paid
- negotiating payment options
- tracking accounts which have remained unpaid for long periods of time
To become a Credit Manager, one should have excellent communication and organizational skills.
15. Actuarial Analyst
For an average salary of $65,000, an Actuarial Analyst is charged with using data to measure risk for a company or organization. Usually employed by insurance companies and financial services businesses, Actuarial Analysts are responsible for creating charts and graphs which:
- communicate risk evaluation
- interprete results of data analysis,
- ensure that all relevant reports are accurate
To become an Actuarial Analyst, one should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or similar. Having passed 2-3 Society of Actuaries exams is also typically necessary.
16. Accounts Payable Manager
The 16th highest paying accounting job is Accounts Payable Manager. To become an Accounts Payable Manager, one should be able to handle stress well and be comfortable in a leadership position. A degree in accounting is also required. Accounts Payable Managers handle all of the bills and invoices that a company must pay. Responsibilities include:
- managing a team
- ensuring his or her department adheres to all policies
- overseeing the processing of invoices and checks.
17. Budget Analyst
Budget Analysts earn an average of $61,236 per year, making them the 17th highest paid professionals in accounting. Employed by companies of all sizes, Budget Analysts are responsible for all of the analysis that goes into the process of developing a budget. Specific tasks include:
- studying the company’s past performance
- assessing budgetary goals
- presenting their analyses to management
Budget Analysts should have a strong background in accounting and finance, which typically includes both work experience and a bachelor’s degree or higher.
18. Real Estate Appraiser
For an average salary of $60,000, a Real Estate Appraiser is charged with assessing the value of property. Real Estate Appraisers may work on their own, or as part of a larger appraisal company. In either case, they are tasked with performing a series of routine checks that establish a property’s official value. To become a Real Estate Appraiser, one should have at least an associate’s degree in a subject related to finance. Industry-specific state certification is also required.
19. Tax Consultant
Nineteenth on our list of the highest paying accounting jobs is Tax Consultant. These well-paid professionals may work for themselves, or be employed by a company or large consulting firm. Tax Consultants specialize in tax returns and estates that are legally and logistically complex. Specific tasks include:
- collecting all relevant information
- ensuring the returns adhere to all tax laws and codes
- reviewing the returns with clients
To become a Tax Consultant, one must be a Certified Public Accountant. This, in itself, usually requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting or similar.
20. Internal Auditor
The 20th job title on our list of the best paying accounting jobs is Internal Auditor. These highly paid professionals are employed by large companies. They are responsible for evaluating things like risk management and standards compliance. Ensuring all accounting laws and practices are being followed is also part of the Internal Auditor’s job description. To become an Internal Auditor, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or similar. Most employers also prefer some years of experience and/or licensing as a Certified Public Accountant.
21. Accounts Receivable Manager
The 21st highest paying accounting job is Accounts Receivable Manager. To become an Accounts Receivable Manager, one should have at least an associate’s degree in accounting or similar. Some years experience in an Accounts Receivable department is also preferred. Accounts Receivable Managers oversee the part of a business that deals with money that business is owed. Specific responsibilities include:
- managing the team which deals with collection activities
- producing Accounts Receivable reports for management.
22. Treasury Analyst
Treasury analysts make an average of $58,000 per year. This makes them the 22nd most highly paid professionals in accounting. Employed by companies, government agencies, and non-profits, Treasury Analysts are responsible for their employer’s financial activity. In other words, Treasury Analysts are charged with managing cash flow, income, credit, asset levels, and liability obligations. They should have at least a bachelor’s degree, though some employers prefer Certified Treasury Professional certification and a minimum of two years of industry experience.
23. Compliance Analyst
For an average salary of $58,000 per year, a Compliance Analyst is charged with ensuring that compliance has been achieved inside and/or outside their company or organization. Specific responsibilities of a Compliance Analyst include:
- distributing information about compliance throughout their organization
- implementing compliance policies and procedures
- evaluating their company’s compliance performance
To become a Compliance Analyst, one should have a bachelor’s degree, plus a few years of industry experience.
24. Tax Accountant
The 24th job title on our list of the best paying accounting jobs is Tax Accountant. These highly paid professionals may work for themselves, or be employed by a company or accounting firm. Tax Accountants specialize in preparing and submitting tax-related documents for their clients. Specific tasks include:
- advising clients about tax liability
- keeping up with changes in tax regulations
- filing tax returns
To become a Tax Accountant, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Some education in law, as well as various certifications are also preferred by some employers.
25. Cost Estimator/Cost Accountant
Next on our list of the best paid accounting professionals is Cost Estimator, also known as Cost Accountant. To become a Cost Estimator, one should have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or similar. Some previous experience in cost estimating is also preferred by some employers. Cost Estimators use technical and analytical skills to predict the manufacturing price of products ranging from buildings to soda bottles. Specific responsibilities include:
- communicating with clients and engineers
- identifying any and all methods for reducing costs
- making new cost estimates as a project progresses.
26. Payroll Accountant
Payroll Accountants make an average of $55,000 per year. This makes them the 26th highest paid professionals in accounting. They are employed by companies big and small. Payroll Accountants are responsible for generating, maintaining, and interpreting various financial reports and statements for their employer. Different companies require different things of their Payroll Accountants. Some are satisfied with a bachelor’s degree, while others prefer both a degree and status as a Certified Public Accountant.
27. Anti-Money Laundering Analyst
Next on our list of the highest paying accounting jobs is Anti-Money Laundering Analysts. These important analysts are usually employed by:
- government agencies
- police departments
They are primarily tasked with performing accounting-related functions which can alert potential money laundering risks. For this reason, strong attention to detail is required, as are excellent communication skills. To become an Anti-Money Laundering Analyst, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree.
28. Accounting Specialist
For an average salary of $46,000, an Accounting Specialist is charged with performing the day-to-day financial activities of their company. Specific tasks include:
- logging revenues and expenses
- filling out tax forms
- balancing checkbooks
To become an Accounting Specialist, one should have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or similar. Industry-specific certifications are preferred by some employers, as is some prior experience in the field.
29. Accounting Clerk
Coming in at #29 on our list of the highest paid jobs in accounting is Accounting Clerk. These well-paid professionals are employed by businesses big and small. They generally work in offices, where they maintain an exceptional knowledge of all ledger accounts (accounts payable/receivable, cash, etc.). To become an Accounting Clerk, one should have excellent computer, communication, and organizational skills.
30. Accounts Payable Clerk
Accounts Payable Clerks work alongside Accounts Payable Managers, a job title which ranks #16 on our list of the best paid careers in accounting. They are typically employed by companies or accounting firms. Accounts Payable Clerks are responsible for:
- preparing financial statements
- data entry
- handling customer inquiries, among other things
To become an Accounts Payable Clerk, one should have at least a high school diploma or GED, though some employers prefer an associate’s degree or higher.
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