Accountant Salary

By Henry R. Steele - January 8, 2018
Reading Time: 12 minutes

The following article discusses the career path of Accountant. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Accountants.

Job Duties

Accountants are responsible for the preparation and examination of financial records. They make sure these are accurate and that the relevant taxes are paid in a timely manner. They determine whether financial operations are as effective as possible. Typically, they focus quite strongly on tax preparation, but they also work with organizations to make sure they are as efficient as possible and use the right accounting procedures. To do this, they hold responsibility for financial records and work closely with management on determining best practices to increase profit and revenue, while reducing cost.

Accountants must also be able to explain what their findings are. Hence, they must have strong written communication skills in order to create reports, but also oral communication skills to discuss their findings in layman’s terms.

It is also common for accountants to specialize in certain areas of finance. For instance, they may work in risk management, assurance services, or healthcare.

Other job duties of accountants are:

  • Analyzing data in order to create reports
  • Generating financial statements and records and interpreting these
  • Holding responsibility for properly maintaining tax, profit and loss, liabilities, and assets records
  • Maintaining the organization’s general ledger

Where We Work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1.4 million accountants in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals are:

  • Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services: 25%
  • Government: 8%
  • Finance and insurance: 8%
  • Management of companies and enterprises: 7%
  • Self-employed workers: 7%

How to Become

In order to become an accountant, a bachelor’s degree is required as a minimum, preferably in accounting or a field related to it. Job prospects are greatly improved for those who become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), which requires further education at graduate degree level. Hence, most accountants will complete a master’s degree in accounting or related field.

Education Requirements

A bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field is generally required for someone to work as an accountant. Master’s degrees are usually preferred. Usually, accountants have completed internships as part of their degree as well.

See 10 Best Online Accounting Degree Programs

If accountants are to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), they must become a CPA, which is a legal requirement. Many accountants choose to become a CPA because it drastically improves their job prospects. CPAs are licensed by the Board of Accountancy in a specific state, and it proves they have completed an examination and other requirements, which includes a total of 150 study hours in accountancy, which means most have studied at the master’s degree level.

There are four parts to the CPA exam, which is provided by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Usually, candidates have 18 months to pass all four parts. Continuing education is usually also required to maintain the CPA license.

Other certifications also exist, including:

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) through the Institute of Management Accountants
  • Certified Internal Auditor through the Institute of Internal Auditors
  • Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) through ISACA
  • A variety of different certifications through AICPA

Traits & Qualities

The most effective accountants have the following traits to a certain degree:

  • Computer literacy
  • Oral and written communication skills
  • Mathematical skills

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for Accountant was $52,461. This number is estimated from over 6,395,924 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $27.32 and monthly of $4,372.

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$14,000

$117,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists Accountant salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, DC had the largest quoted salary of $69,777 while Montana had the smallest quoted salary of $32,966.

Alaska Kentucky New York
Alabama Louisiana Ohio
Arkansas Massachusetts Oklahoma
Arizona Maryland Oregon
California Maine Pennsylvania
Colorado Michigan Rhode Island
Connecticut Minnesota South Carolina
DC Missouri South Dakota
Delaware Mississippi Tennessee
Florida Montana Texas
Georgia North Carolina Utah
Hawaii North Dakota Virginia
Iowa Nebraska Vermont
Idaho New Hampshire Washington
Illinois New Jersey Wisconsin
Indiana New Mexico West Virginia
Kansas Nevada Wyoming
Alaska$62,484 Rank: 2nd
The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Lake and Peninsula School District, Interior Community Health Center, Workplace Alaska, and Municipality of Anchorage.

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$2,600

$7,900

Salary Distribution
Alabama$42,287 Rank: 37th
The average salary ranks 37th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like United States Department Of Defense, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and ITAC Solutions, LLC.

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$14,000

$102,000

Salary Distribution
Arkansas$40,086 Rank: 40th
The average salary ranks 40th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like AAS, Inc, All About Staffing, Inc., A+E Networks, and Robert Half Finance & Accounting.

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$14,000

$86,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$50,092 Rank: 19th
The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Navy, Indian Health Service, City of Tolleson, and Ledgent Finance & Accounting.

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$16,000

$102,000

Salary Distribution
California$42,163 Rank: 39th
The average salary ranks 39th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Management Resources, Enclipse Corp., Vaco, LLC, and University of California Los Angeles.

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$7.25

$48.40

Salary Distribution
Colorado$51,272 Rank: 15th
The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Government, Department of the Interior, VincentBenjamin, and J2T Recruiting Consultants.

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$14,000

$113,000

Salary Distribution
Connecticut$61,562 Rank: 3rd
The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Kforce Finance and Accounting, Contract Staffing Recruiters, Execu|Search, and Randstad.

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$17,000

$134,000

Salary Distribution
DC$69,777 Rank: 1st
The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Labor, Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of State, and Department of Homeland Security.

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$17,000

$159,000

Salary Distribution
Delaware$38,054 Rank: 46th
The average salary ranks 46th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like BNY Mellon, Aston Carter, Contemporary Staffing Solutions, and Randstad Professionals.

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$7.25

$42.40

Salary Distribution
Florida$49,245 Rank: 20th
The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Miami Dade County, Ascendo Resources, Kforce Finance and Accounting, and Direct Hire – Full Time.

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$16,000

$101,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$38,274 Rank: 44th
The average salary ranks 44th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Bolton Group, Fulton County, GA, and Cobb County.

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$14,000

$84,000

Salary Distribution
Hawaii$46,815 Rank: 28th
The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Hawaii, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, ALTRES Office, and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation.

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$18,000

$88,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$50,780 Rank: 16th
The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like MidAmerican Energy, HireQuality Solutions, The Job Jobber, and fulltimeGiGS.

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$20,000

$96,000

Salary Distribution
Idaho$44,793 Rank: 34th
The average salary ranks 34th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Nigel Frank International, University of Idaho, Boise State University, and City of Rexburg.

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$17,000

$85,000

Salary Distribution
Illinois$54,435 Rank: 11th
The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Ascendo Resources, IFG Project Resourcing, Accounting Career Network, and CFS, Inc..

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$17,000

$113,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$46,841 Rank: 27th
The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Federal Government Jobs, U.S. Army, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and United States Department Of Defense.

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$14,000

$115,000

Salary Distribution
Kansas$46,449 Rank: 29th
The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Accounting Career Network, Abacus Search & Staffing LLC, and LG Human Capital Solutions.

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$16,000

$92,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$48,063 Rank: 23rd
The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Randstad, Kforce Finance and Accounting, Aerotek, and ECRENT Worldwide Company Limited.

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$14,000

$104,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$44,863 Rank: 33rd
The average salary ranks 33rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Agriculture, Department of Veterans Affairs, Global Health Care, and Personnel Consulting Group.

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$14,000

$106,000

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$56,105 Rank: 7th
The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Nigel Frank International, Anderson Frank, Daley and Associates, and Massachusetts Municipal Association.

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$18,000

$115,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$55,490 Rank: 9th
The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like NASA, U.S. Department of Commerce, Federal Government Jobs, and KSA Medical Group.

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$16,000

$119,000

Salary Distribution
Maine$34,348 Rank: 50th
The average salary ranks 50th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, ICONMA, LLC., Mountain Limited, and Springborn Staffing.

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$7.25

$40.80

Salary Distribution
Michigan$48,979 Rank: 21st
The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like M Shapiro Real Estate Group, United States Department Of Defense, Anderson Frank, and City of Detroit.

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$17,000

$96,000

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$38,380 Rank: 43rd
The average salary ranks 43rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Adecco, DISYS, Baker Tilly Search & Staffing, LLC, and AppleOne.

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$7.25

$41.85

Salary Distribution
Missouri$53,782 Rank: 12th
The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Financial Institution, North Star Staffing Solutions, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, and Kforce Finance and Accounting.

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$14,000

$134,000

Salary Distribution
Mississippi$46,447 Rank: 30th
The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Army, Department of Veterans Affairs, University of Mississippi, and Swoon Group.

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$14,000

$96,000

Salary Distribution
Montana$32,966 Rank: 51st
The average salary ranks 51st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Nelson Personnel, State of Montana, LC Staffing, and Montana State University.

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$7.25

$39.90

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$59,826 Rank: 4th
The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, SSI Technical, North Star Staffing Solutions, and NSSS.

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$14,000

$143,000

Salary Distribution
North Dakota$42,202 Rank: 38th
The average salary ranks 38th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Spherion, Express Employment Professionals, Adecco, and Aerotek.

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$14,000

$84,000

Salary Distribution
Nebraska$38,112 Rank: 45th
The average salary ranks 45th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Yahoo! Inc., City of Lincoln & Lancaster County, Hemphill Staffing Solutions, and Noll Human Resource Services.

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$8.35

$36.10

Salary Distribution
New Hampshire$54,714 Rank: 10th
The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Liberty Mutual, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Randstad.

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$17,000

$113,000

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$37,152 Rank: 47th
The average salary ranks 47th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Management Resources, Vaco, LLC, Bemis Company Inc, and AppleOne.

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$7.25

$41.65

Salary Distribution
New Mexico$48,639 Rank: 22nd
The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Los Alamos National Laboratory, ECrent, Los Alamos County, and Employers Pro Advantage.

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$14,000

$107,000

Salary Distribution
Nevada$50,259 Rank: 18th
The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Geotemps, Inc., Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS, Nigel Frank International, and Clark County, NV.

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$14,000

$108,000

Salary Distribution
New York$58,190 Rank: 5th
The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like MISSION STAFFING, Kforce Finance and Accounting, The Forum Group, and fulltimeGiGS.

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$15,000

$129,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$51,727 Rank: 14th
The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Air Force, Federal Government Jobs, International Business Promotion, Inc. (IBP, Inc.), and United States Department Of Defense.

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$16,000

$107,000

Salary Distribution
Oklahoma$50,460 Rank: 17th
The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Department of Transportation, and DirectConnect.

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$15,000

$106,000

Salary Distribution
Oregon$39,686 Rank: 42nd
The average salary ranks 42nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like League of Oregon Cities, Aerotek, DISYS, and DSM Staff Network.

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$7.25

$43.10

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$35,980 Rank: 48th
The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Marsetta Lane Staffing, European Medical School of Massage LLC, The Dubin Group, and Callos Resource.

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$7.25

$42.30

Salary Distribution
Rhode Island$47,142 Rank: 26th
The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Randstad Professionals, Rhode Island Department of Administration, Kforce Finance and Accounting, and State of Rhode Island.

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$14,000

$106,000

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$56,745 Rank: 6th
The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of State – Agency Wide, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, U.S. Department of State, and Aerotek.

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$14,000

$141,000

Salary Distribution
South Dakota$47,390 Rank: 24th
The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Spherion, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Aerotek, and Executive Recruiting Services, Inc..

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$20,000

$86,000

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$47,162 Rank: 25th
The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, ECRENT Worldwide Company Limited, Kforce Finance and Accounting, and Rezult Financial.

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$14,000

$100,000

Salary Distribution
Texas$52,887 Rank: 13th
The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Aerotek, Dell, Lehigh Hanson, and U.S. Army.

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$14,000

$114,000

Salary Distribution
Utah$45,283 Rank: 32nd
The average salary ranks 32nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like CyberCoders, Salt Lake County, Robert Half Finance & Accounting, and PrincePerelson & Associates.

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$17,000

$87,000

Salary Distribution
Virginia$55,658 Rank: 8th
The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of State, Transportation Security Administration, and Department of Homeland Security.

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$14,000

$125,000

Salary Distribution
Vermont$40,032 Rank: 41st
The average salary ranks 41st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Finance & Accounting, Leddy Group, Spherion, and Westaff.

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$7.25

$43.65

Salary Distribution
Washington$45,907 Rank: 31st
The average salary ranks 31st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Robert Half Management Resources, Columbus Technologies, Pierce County, and City of Seattle.

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$7.25

$52.30

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$35,289 Rank: 49th
The average salary ranks 49th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like On-Board Services, Experis, Spherion, and Baker Tilly Search & Staffing.

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$7.25

$37.85

Salary Distribution
West Virginia$43,714 Rank: 36th
The average salary ranks 36th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Bureau of the Fiscal Service, Internal Revenue Service, Kanawha County Schools, and Hamilton Stone Staffing.

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$14,000

$115,000

Salary Distribution
Wyoming$43,891 Rank: 35th
The average salary ranks 35th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Black Hills Corporation, University of Wyoming, University of Wyoming Family Medicine Residency Program, and State of Wyoming.

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$21,000

$74,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Accountant. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer Name Location Average Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career Name Average Salary
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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