So You Want to Become an Accounting Manager?

By Robert Half December 18, 2017 at 1:00pm

Maybe you’re a staff accountant looking to advance your career. Or an experienced senior accountant interested in taking on a leadership role in your organization’s accounting department. Regardless of where you’re coming from, you’ll find a job as an accounting manager to be highly rewarding — and the accounting manager salary equally so.

Accounting managers are on the Robert Half Salary Guide's list of top 10 positions for 2018, which points to their high demand and salary levels.

Before we get into what it takes to become an accounting manager, in terms of duties, expectations, experience and skills, let's look at what you can earn in this role.

Accounting manager salary benchmarks

The latest Salary Guide research shows the midpoint salary for an accounting manager is $90,000.

Salaries listed in the Salary Guide reflect starting pay only and are based on actual placements throughout the United States, as well as an analysis of the demand for the role, the supply of talent and other market conditions. Bonuses and benefits are not taken into account.

At the midpoint, candidates have average experience with the necessary skills to meet the job requirements, and the role may be in an industry where competition for talent is moderate.

Use our Salary Calculator to find out what accounting manager salary you can expect in your city.

Duties and expectations

As an accounting manager, you’ll be responsible for a team of accountants, the number of which will depend on the size of your organization. You’ll report to senior-level members, such as your company’s CFO or controller. Duties include:

  • Preparing and/or reviewing appropriate ledger entries and reconciliations
  • Maintaining the general ledger system
  • Preparing monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements; assisting with regulatory reporting
  • Researching accounting issues for compliance with GAAP
  • Coordinating the budget process
  • Hiring, training and supervising accounting staff

Experience and skills

Accounting managers are highly educated. While specific requirements will vary depending on the organization, you will need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or business, and, in some cases, a master’s degree. Employers will also ask for at least five years of experience, and many require finance and accounting certifications, such as the CPA, Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

You should be comfortable with common financial software such as Intuit QuickBooks, and you may need experience with cloud-based accounting systems. For many companies, proficiency with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is also in demand.

The best accounting managers have leadership abilities. You’ll regularly be called on to motivate your team and encourage collaboration so that staff feel valued and realize they play an integral part of the organization’s overall success.

Aside from technical skills, hiring managers often have a list of soft skills accounting and finance candidates should have — including communication and analytical abilities. Communication skills are crucial because accounting managers often serve as a liaison between their staff and the CFO or controller. Because you’ll constantly be evaluating and refining your organization’s accounting procedures, strong analytical skills are also vital.

Trying to find the right full-time accounting manager for your open role? We can help with that!

10 Finance and Accounting Jobs to Watch for in 2018 infographic

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