The Highest Paying Finance Jobs to Get You to the Top

By Robert Half September 17, 2018 at 6:30pm

If you’re looking for the highest paying finance jobs, you’ll find them in the C-suite, starting at the top with the chief financial officer. If that or another leadership position is your ultimate goal, you should also be curious about jobs that are stepping stones to those senior roles. Fortunately, strong candidates for these positions are in high demand in nearly every industry.

According to the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals, employers are more willing to hire less-experienced people with high potential for climbing the career ladder to the highest paying finance jobs. Companies are also increasing on-the-job training and promoting from within to retain talented finance professionals possessing specialized expertise.

Here’s a look at just some of the highest paying finance jobs that have the potential to lead to leadership positions in their respective areas.

Compliance analyst

If you’re striving to become a chief compliance officer, you can get your start in a compliance analyst role, working with compliance processes and procedures, researching regulatory requirements and preparing reports for companies.

Compliance analysts typically have at least three to five years of experience in compliance, auditing or risk management, and a bachelor’s degree in business, finance or accounting. The projected starting salary midpoint for compliance analysts is projected to be $77,000 in 2019, according to the Salary Guide. (Earning the midpoint salary, or median national salary, requires average experience and the skills to meet the necessities of a job in an industry and location where competition for talent is moderate.)

See our open compliance analyst jobs.

Salaries increase with other compliance roles as analysts climb the management ladder:

  • Senior compliance analyst: $87,250
  • Compliance officer: $102,750
  • Compliance director: $138,500
  • Chief compliance officer: $169,250

Information technology auditor

IT auditor jobs involve work on a variety of projects, from analyzing information security systems, programs and software, to making sure these systems are in compliance with government and internal regulations, and identifying solutions for improvement. The midpoint starting salary for an IT auditor with one to three years of experience is $76,000, and for newcomers with less than a year of experience, $51,250.

See our open IT auditor jobs.

IT auditors have opportunities to step up to roles like these, which have higher starting salaries:

  • Senior IT auditor: $92,500
  • IT auditor manager: $118,250

Internal auditor

These fiscal watchdogs perform internal audit procedures and prepare reports for businesses, applying knowledge of internal control concepts, and planning, performing, managing and reporting on the evaluation of various business processes, areas and functions. Knowledge of internal controls, internal auditing standards, GAAP, Sarbanes-Oxley, the COSO framework and risk-assessment practices is required, typically with an undergraduate degree in accounting or finance.

With ever-changing regulation and compliance laws, internal auditors are in demand. The midpoint starting salary for those with one to three years of experience is $71,000, moving up from the $46,250 midpoint salary level for up to a year on the job.

See our open internal auditor jobs.

Other jobs within internal auditing have even higher pay ranges as professionals climb to the executive level:

  • Senior internal auditor: $87,250
  • Internal auditor manager: $112,750
  • Chief audit executive: $179,250

Financial analyst

Financial analysts must have a thorough knowledge of general accounting procedures, reporting and expense analysis, and journal posting. They perform budgeting variance and forecasting analysis for various levels of management, and need to communicate across all levels of the organization.

This is a hot position, with the salary midpoint at $67,000 for a financial analyst with one to three years of experience, and at $51,500 for up to a year of experience.

See our open financial analyst jobs.

As financial analysts progress in corporate accounting, they can expect to earn these midpoint salaries:

  • Senior financial analyst: $82,500
  • Financial analyst manager: $102,500
  • Financial analyst director: $130,000

Financial systems administrator

A financial systems administrator is responsible for the administration of a company’s finance systems, including security, installation, configuration, operation and maintenance. In this position, you can expect a salary midpoint of $66,250.

See our open financial systems administrator jobs.

Other financial systems positions have higher salaries, leading up to the director role, as projected by the Salary Guide:

  • Financial systems project manager: $113,000
  • Financial systems manager: $127,250
  • Financial systems director: $152,500

General accountant

General accountants — projected to start at midpoint salaries of $62,000 for one to three years of experience — typically work to prepare journal entries, help with field work for financial and operational audits, research and correct account discrepancies, and reconcile and balance general ledger accounts.

See our open general accountant jobs.

General accountants can expect higher salaries as their experience grows and as they take on increasing responsibility. An entry-level candidate with a year or less on the job can earn a midpoint salary of $46,750, with opportunities to double and triple that salary in the corporate accounting ranks.

  • Senior accountant: $77,750
  • Accounting manager: $92,000
  • Director of accounting: $143,250

Paving a path to the highest paying finance jobs

The bottom line: If your goal is to reach the highest paying finance jobs, the opportunities for advancement in accounting and finance are solid, regardless of the path you choose, from private or public accounting to financial services.

These are just some of the roles leading to the highest paying finance jobs featured in the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals. Download the Guide now to see starting salary ranges for more than 190 positions.

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