How Much Do Accountants Make? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What should a fully qualified aspiring accountant look for in the job market? Our friends at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have visualised seven career options in accounting as well as their average salaries in the United States.


  • It's a good place to be: The expected job growth for all accountants and auditors is 16% from 2010 to 2020
  • Like CSI? Good news: Forensic accountants exist and they make on average $72,000
  • The longest title brings in the most bacon: Accounting information systems auditors make on average $77,000

Related: The Complete Guide to a Career in Accounting


7 Career Options for the Aspiring Accountant

Accountant and auditor positions typically require a bachelor's degree in accounting, business, economics, or a similar field. Certifications such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation and/or more job-specific certifications are highly desirable - in some cases, they are required. Once aspiring accountants fulfill these qualifications, what jobs should they look for? Job growth for all accountants and auditors from 2010-2020 is about 16%.

Tax Accountant

  • Expert in Tax document preparation for local, state, and federal taxes
  • Stays up-to-date on code changes and clearly communicates liabilities and issues to their clients.
  • Often works long hours during tax season (January through April).
  • Avg. Salary: $60,000

Forensic Accountant

  • Aids law enforcement, businesses, or individuals in complex or criminal financial matters by evaluating financial records.
  • Must have excellent attention to detail and legal-proof confidence in their work.
  • Abg. Salary: $72,000


  • Internal auditors examine their organisation's funds for signs of mismanagement. External auditors do the same, but usually with more punitive intentions.
  • Must be highl ethical, communicative, and assertive, with a level of skepticism appropriate to their investigations.
  • Seeks to improve processes to avoid waste and fraud.
  • Avg. Salary: $66,000

Managerial Accountant

  • Prepares financial records for their organisation's business managers for internal use.
  • Provides information and acts as a strategic partner throughout the chain of information processing and value.
  • Budgeting, performance evaluation, assessment of operational expenses.
  • Avg. Salary: $67,000

Financial Accountant

  • Similar to a Managerial Accountant, except this work is for the benefit of outside parties rather than internal business managers
  • Prepares financial statements (balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements)
  • Records and reports on business transactions and financial performance
  • Avg. Salary: $61,000

Governmental Accountant

  • Audits businesses and individuals who are government-regulated and taxed
  • Verifies that revenues are lawfully accounted for and spent
  • Oversees government agency records
  • Avg. Salary: $61,000

Accounting Information Systems Auditors

  • Utilises computer programming and accounting knowledge to manage software for accountants and other financial professionals
  • Oversees operations and security of these tools
  • May also help develop new accounting systems
  • Avg. Salary: $77,000

With a degree in accounting and a certification, the sky is the limit for your accounting career. Where will your dreams take you?


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