Become an accounting manager? Here’s what you need to know about the salary...

Last updated: May 22, 2024
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Become an accounting manager? Here’s what you need to know about the salary...
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There are a lot of good reasons to go into accounting.

Accountants work in almost every industry and every location. There will be around 125,700 job openings for accountants and auditors each year for the next decade.

And accountants have upward mobility — with experience, you can become an accounting manager, accounting director, and maybe even a CFO someday.

But is the move to accounting manager worth it? How much do accounting managers make? And how do you become one?

This article has the answers. Whether you're just starting your accounting career or looking for a promotion into management, we'll let you know what to expect from an accounting manager salary. We’ll also tell you what factors can affect your earning potential.

What is an accounting manager?

An accountant prepares, examines, and interprets financial records.

Accountants can be employed in just about any industry. All kinds of organizations need someone to do work like bookkeeping, making sure taxes are paid properly, and evaluating financial operations and risks.

An accounting manager supervises a team of accountants working on these tasks.

Accounting managers might report directly to the CFO or to someone with a job title like financial controller or director of accounting.

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Accounting manager vs. CPA manager

A certified public accountant (CPA) is an accountant who’s met certain licensing requirements determined by the state. All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs.

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As a CPA, there are certain things you can do that other accountants can’t. Some accounting manager jobs require a CPA and might even have the job title ‘CPA Manager.’

What does an accounting manager do?

As an accounting manager, you’ll supervise a team of accountants. You may also have a more strategic role in the organization than the staff accountants, providing your expertise on finances for the business.

In addition to accounting tasks like bookkeeping and preparing tax returns, an accounting manager’s work might include:

  • Evaluating financial operations to identify issues and help the organization run more efficiently

  • Offering advice on cost reduction and revenue maximization

  • Conducting forecasting and risk analysis

  • Evaluating financial statements

  • Using technology to automate accounting tasks

If you’re taking on similar advanced work but don’t supervise a team, your job title might be ‘Senior Accountant.’

What is the average accounting manager salary?

Now you know about the job description of an accounting manager. But how much does an accounting manager make?

The national average salary for an accounting manager is $108,789. There’s a broad salary range, with the top 10% of accounting managers making at least $135,200.

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Being an accounting manager might be just a step on your career path. Accounting directors make a median salary of $160,301 and CFOs make $395,004.

What factors affect the salary of an accounting manager?

What an accountant manager makes depends on a number of factors.

1. Education and certification

Most accounting jobs require a bachelor’s degree, although some will accept an associate’s degree. Many accounting managers also have a master’s degree.

On average, the higher the degree level, the more the accounting manager job pays.

Your certification also matters. CPAs make more money than accountants without a CPA license.

2. Years of experience

As in most professions, an entry-level accounting manager won’t make as much as one with experience.

The average accounting manager with one to two years of experience makes $105,663, while the average accounting manager with 20+ years of experience makes $112,297. Of course, by the time you’ve been in the field that long, you may have moved into a higher-paying role like accounting director.

3. Accounting job skills

There are some skills that every accountant needs to have, like analytical skills and attention to detail. Then there are some skills that set you apart from the rest of the accounting manager candidates.

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These days, technical skills are a good way to get noticed and earn a bigger paycheck. Some specific technical skills that could increase your salary include SQL, Netsuite, and Oracle. Accounting managers with technical analysis skills make 35% more than average.

Aside from technical accounting skills, project management skills and knowledge of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance will help you get the best possible salary.

4. Industry

Accountants are employed in all kinds of industries, but some pay a higher average base salary than others.

The highest-paying accountant jobs are with the federal government, followed by the extermination and pest control industry. Accountants in these professions make over $20,000 per year more than accountants working in industries like radio and television broadcasting.

5. Location

Some areas will pay accounting managers a higher annual salary (although the cost of living in these places may be higher as well).

The states where accountants earn the most are:

  1. Washington DC

  2. New York

  3. New Jersey

  4. Virginia

  5. California

The city you work in can also affect how much you get paid.

Here are some of the highest-paying cities for accountants:

  1. Seattle, Washington

  2. San Francisco, California

  3. Los Angeles, California

  4. Atlanta, Georgia

What is the job outlook for accounting managers?

The accounting profession is expected to grow by 4% by 2029, which is about average. As long as most organizations still deal with money, you can expect there to be job opportunities for accountants and accounting managers.

Some basic accounting tasks can be automated these days, but advanced work like financial planning and analysis still requires human insight.

Become an accounting manager

The role of an accounting manager is a well-paying job with good career prospects.

Maybe it’s the job for you.

Whether you’re already an accountant or just thinking about becoming one, Jobcase’s job search engine can help you find accountant jobs. Look at the current open positions for accounting managers now.

1 Comment


Jessica McGraw
Bullet point

I decided to study to be an accounting manager while still at school. I am attracted to this type of work. And this article tells me that I made the right choice. I am currently studying and pursuing a bachelor's degree. In the future, I plan to move to New York and start building a career as an accountant or provide accounting assignment help. I wonder what prospects await me in this city. After all, I try to study well; I even found and use a beneficial site and all possible online sources; I communicate with professionals and constantly develop all the necessary skills. I hope that I will find the desired job.