No doubt about it, senior accountants are in demand. In fact, the role is listed as one of the hot positions in the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals. And the senior accountant salary? That information is in demand, too.
If you're looking for a new opportunity, this is a great time to find a rewarding job with an equally rewarding salary. It’s also a great time if you're a staff accountant looking to step up to a more senior role in your company.
No matter your situation, here's what you need to know about senior accountant salary levels, duties and skills.
Senior accountant salary levels
So here it is: Research from the Salary Guide lists the midpoint salary for senior accountants as $77,750 for 2019.
Midpoint is defined as the salary for candidates with an average level of experience for the position and the necessary skills to meet the job requirements. The salaries listed in the Salary Guide reflect starting pay and are based on actual placements throughout the United States, as well as an analysis of the supply of talent and other market conditions.
Aside from company size and industry, an important factor that can influence your pay as a senior accountant is your location. Check for senior accountant jobs in your area and in the cities where you can make the most money, according to the local market variances listed in the Salary Guide:
- Senior accountant jobs in New York
- Senior accountant jobs in San Francisco
- Senior accountant jobs in Boston
- Senior accountant jobs in Washington, D.C.
- Senior accountant jobs in Chicago
Duties, expectations, education
A senior accountant is responsible for the integrity of all the accounting information for a company. That means everything from supervising the accounting staff to preparing financial statements to assisting with risk assessments and budget preparations.
Senior accountants handle a number of responsibilities, including the following:
- Reconciling sub-ledger to general ledger account balances
- Preparing financial statements
- Assessing internal controls, including risk assessments and reviews of risk areas
- Assisting with budget preparation and preparing the monthly budget variance analyses
- Maintaining and reconciling fixed assets schedules
- Assisting with initial internal control evaluations
- Supervising accounting staff
Candidates for senior accountant positions typically should have at least three years’ experience, along with a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance. The CPA is still the most sought-after certification, while the certified management accountant (CMA) and master’s degree in business administration (MBA) are also frequently preferred.
Demand for senior accountants
Job seekers with accounting and finance experience rarely stay unemployed for long, something that's particularly true for senior accountants. The latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly report shows the unemployment rate for accountants and auditors remains low.
As employers seek to upgrade and expand their operations and add to core managerial accounting roles, they're looking to hire senior accountants, either from within their organizations or outside.
Companies are hiring accountants at all levels, particularly staff and senior accountants with strong general accounting abilities, proficiency with Excel and excellent nontechnical skills, such as communication and organizational skills. Firms are also looking for staff with strong business acumen and the ability to apply a broader view of the organization.
What’s next? Senior accountants who pursue career development can progress up the career ladder to roles such as accounting manager, controller and CFO.
This post has been updated to reflect more current information.