Entry-level accountants earn a lot during their first year on the job—even with only a bachelor’s degree, many of these positions pay upwards of $77,300 on average. At best, you could be making up to $128,970 annually in this field.
A degree in accounting can open many doors, including the seven rewarding career paths below. Whether you’d like to work for a business, a nonprofit, or even the government, demand for this type of professional will always be high.
Bookkeepers? Payroll clerks? Accounting assistants? They all got their start with the right degree. Read on to learn about some of the best jobs in accounting.
An accountant oversees an organization’s or individual’s financial records. They’re responsible for guaranteeing the accuracy of financial documents, creating reports, and maintaining the books. They’ll also usually be charged with preparing these records for events such as tax season, offering recommendations throughout the fiscal year.
While you’re likely looking forward to testing your knowledge with the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, CPA certification is only required for those interested in becoming certified public accountants in the United States. On average, American accountants make around $53,735 per year.
If helping individuals, families, and businesses create and meet financial goals excites you, then financial planning may be your ideal career path. You’ll hone your skills as a financial expert, offering forecasting and advice for clients trying to navigate the world of money, investing, and long-term growth.
Financial planners are more than financial advisors—they’re very involved with the accounts they manage, making this role perfect for those who like to take a hands-on approach. Depending on the nature of your clientele, you can expect to earn an average of $78,487 per year.
Is there room for data science in the world of finance? Absolutely. A career in business analysis encompasses both fiduciary and scientific work. Using data, business analysts help companies evaluate the landscapes of their own industries and how they intersect with their own line of business, previous success and performance, and other metrics.
Consider these experts to be the light guiding corporations toward a more successful financial future. The teams they serve rely on them to offer improvements in terms of company structure, revenue, and so much more. Business analysts are often paid well for this reason, with an average yearly salary of around $83,106.
In the same vein, investment advisors deviate slightly from a purely analytical role. Instead, they use these same skills to offer investment advice to clients, building and growing their portfolios and maximizing their eventual return.
Often, investment advisors work from within a consulting firm, overseeing business accounts and clients as a stockbroker. The most well-paid opportunities may offer up to $146,411, with entry-level salaries averaging around $74,866 annually.
If you dream of protecting people and businesses from the risks of the financial world, there is no profession like that of an actuary. Risk assessment and management is the name of the game—actuaries are key players in the way of strategic decision-making within an organization, working in industries like insurance, banking, commerce, and enterprise risk management.
Data modeling and other resources are used to create a quantitative report of what may be just ahead. These professionals are incredibly valuable to employers, and are paid accordingly: around $117,505 on average, with the higher end of this scale topping out at around $206,820.
Finance managers work within a business or organization, monitoring the financial health of the entity and forging the path ahead. Financial statements, activity reports, and analysis all provide the framework for budgeting, spending, and internal investments. In this role, you’ll be at the helm for all of the above.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that opportunities for finance managers will likely increase much faster than average over the next decade—right now, you can expect to earn upwards of $131,710 on average in this role.
7. Financial Modeler
Finally, one of the most data-heavy positions on this list is that of the financial modeler, which is a data scientist in charge of creating the computer models that many other financial professionals rely on. Understanding, interpreting, and condensing large swaths of data allows others to utilize it to its fullest possible extent. If you’ve got a knack for data science, you’ll find a lot to love in this career.
Entry-level financial modelers will make approximately $90,835 on average, but opportunities in the upper echelons of this profession will easily net you a six-figure salary. It’s extraordinarily complex work, but it can be an exciting career for the right type of person.
To become an accountant, you’ll first need to earn your bachelor’s in accounting, business, or finance. Many CPA candidates choose to earn their master's degrees before taking the CPA exam, which qualifies them for advanced standing within the profession. That said, in many cases, CPA candidates are allowed to sit for the exam after 120 or 130 credit hours, meaning that you can take the CPA exam while earning your master's degree. Though education requirements can vary by state, for most people, a master's degree is necessary to meet the education requirements and skill set needed for success. Read more about becoming a CPA.