Staff Accountant Salary: A Comprehensive Overview
Career Opportunities

Staff Accountant Salary: A Comprehensive Overview

Are you considering a career as a staff accountant? If so, one of the critical factors you’re likely curious about is the staff accountant salary. In this blog, various aspects of staff accountant compensation, including average salaries, salary ranges, education requirements, job duties, and experience prerequisites, will be explained. Understand what to expect regarding compensation and the steps you need to take to embark on this career path.

Average Salary of a Staff Accountant

When it comes to staff accountant salary, several factors come into play. The average salary for a staff accountant varies depending on location, industry, and experience level. A staff accountant can earn between $45,000 and $65,000 per year. However, this range can be significantly higher in areas with high living costs or industries requiring specialized skills, such as finance or healthcare.

Salary Range

The average salary of a staff accountant in the United States is $65,000 per year. However, salaries vary widely depending on several factors, including experience, location, industry, and company size. Here is a breakdown of the average salary of staff accountants by experience level:

  • Entry-level: $45,000-$65,000

  • Mid-level: $60,000-$70,000

  • Senior-level: $70,000-$80,000

Staff accountants who work in major metropolitan areas or certain industries, such as technology or finance, tend to earn higher salaries. Additionally, staff accountants with specialized certifications, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation, may earn higher salaries.

Lowest Salaries for Staff Accountants

At the lower salary scale, staff accountants working in smaller firms or less affluent regions may earn closer to $40,000 annually. These positions may require less experience or education but offer an opportunity to gain valuable entry-level experience.

Entry-level staff accountants with little or no experience tend to earn the lowest salaries. Additionally, staff accountants in rural areas or less competitive industries may earn lower salaries.

Highest Salaries for Staff Accountants

Conversely, staff accountants working in larger corporations, major metropolitan areas, or specialized industries like finance and healthcare can command salaries upwards of $80,000 to $100,000 or more. Top earners often have advanced degrees, extensive experience, and relevant certifications.

Staff accountants who work in major metropolitan areas or certain industries, such as technology or finance, tend to earn the highest salaries. Additionally, staff accountants with specialized certifications, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation, may earn higher salaries.

Education Requirements

Becoming a staff accountant begins with the right education and qualifications. Accounting programs typically teach students about financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, and tax accounting. Students also learn about accounting software and how to prepare financial statements.

Typically, there are two main avenues to consider: a degree in accounting or business administration and obtaining certifications like CPA, CMA, or CFM.

Degree in Accounting or Business Administration

Many staff accountants start by earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business administration. These programs provide a strong foundation in financial principles, accounting practices, and business operations. Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between the two programs:



Business Administration


Financial aspects of business

All aspects of business


Financial accounting, managerial accounting, auditing, tax accounting, accounting software, financial statements

Accounting, finance, marketing, management, operations, and other business topics

Career opportunities

Accountant, auditor, tax accountant, financial analyst, controller, CFO

Manager, marketing manager, operations manager, sales manager, business owner, and other business roles

Which degree is right for you depends on your career goals and interests. Consider pursuing a dual degree in accounting and business administration; this would give you the specialized accounting skills and the broad business knowledge you need to succeed in various business roles.

Certification as a CPA/CMA/CFM

Obtaining professional certifications is highly beneficial to stand out in competitive accounting and increase your staff accountant’s salary potential. While the best certification for you depends on your career goals and interests, each has its unique focus and requirements:

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA): Widely recognized accounting certification in the United States. CPAs are licensed to perform public accounting services, such as auditing, tax preparation, and financial planning. To become a CPA, you must pass the Uniform CPA Examination and meet the education and experience requirements of the state in which you wish to practice.

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA): Global certification for management accountants. CMAs provide financial information and analysis to help managers make informed decisions. To become a CMA, you must pass the CMA exam and meet the education and experience requirements of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

  • Certified Financial Manager (CFM): Global certification for financial managers. CFMs are responsible for planning, analyzing, and managing an organization’s financial resources. To become a CFM, you must pass the CFM exam and meet the education and experience requirements of the IMA.

The best accounting certification depends on your career goals and interests. If you are interested in a career in public accounting, the CPA certification is the best option. The CMA or CFM certification may be better if you want a management accounting or financial management career.

Additional Skills and Knowledge Required to Become a Staff Accountant

In addition to formal education and certifications, staff accountants should possess strong analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills. Attention to detail, proficiency in accounting software, and a good understanding of tax laws and regulations are also essential for success in this role.

Job Duties and Responsibilities of a Staff Accountant

As a staff accountant, your role involves various financial management and reporting responsibilities.

Financial Reports and Statements Preparation

One of the primary responsibilities of a staff accountant is to prepare accurate financial reports and statements. This includes income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. 

  • Balance sheet: The balance sheet is a snapshot of a company’s financial position at a specific point in time. It shows a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity.

  • Income statement: The income statement shows a company’s revenues and expenses over time. It is used to calculate a company’s net income or loss.

  • Statement of cash flows: The statement shows how a company’s cash position has changed. It shows the cash generated from operating, investing, and financing activities.

These reports provide crucial insights into a company’s financial health and are vital for decision-making.

Accounts Receivable and Payable Reconciliation

Staff accountants often manage accounts receivable and payable. This involves tracking customer payments and ensuring that vendors are paid on time. Timely and accurate reconciliation of these accounts is critical for maintaining financial stability.

Accounts receivable reconciliation is important because it ensures the company’s account balance is accurate. This information is used to make credit extensions, cash flow forecasting, and financial reporting decisions.

Accounts payable reconciliation is important because it ensures the company’s account balance is accurate. This information is used to make decisions about vendor payments, cash flow forecasting, and financial reporting.

Tax Liability Calculations and Filing Returns

Staff accountants are also responsible for calculating the company’s tax liability and ensuring that tax returns are filed correctly and on time. This requires a deep understanding of tax laws and regulations and maximizing deductions and credits to minimize tax liabilities.

Financial Transaction Recording and Processing

Recording and processing financial transactions, such as invoices, expenses, and payroll, is a fundamental aspect of the role. Staff accountants use accounting software and spreadsheets to maintain accurate financial records.

Experience Requirements for Staff Accountants

While education and certifications are essential, gaining practical experience is equally crucial for increasing your staff accountant’s salary potential and advancing your career. Many employers prefer candidates with at least 2-5 years of relevant accounting experience. During your education, you can gain this experience through internships, entry-level positions, or co-op programs.

  • Internships: Internships are a great way to gain experience in accounting and learn about the different aspects of the job. Internships are typically available to students who are enrolled in an accounting program.

  • Entry-level accounting positions: Entry-level accounting positions, such as accounts payable clerks or bookkeepers, can help you gain experience recording and processing financial transactions.

  • Volunteer work: Volunteer work at a non-profit organization can also help you gain experience in accounting. Many non-profit organizations need help with bookkeeping and preparing financial reports.


How can I negotiate a higher staff accountant salary?

Research industry standards and salary ranges in your location and field to negotiate a higher salary. Highlight your qualifications, certifications, and relevant experience during negotiations. Be confident and prepared to make a compelling case for your desired salary.

Are remote positions available for staff accountants, and do they affect the salary?

Yes, remote positions are increasingly common in the accounting field. Remote staff accountants may earn salaries on par with in-office counterparts, but it can vary by company and location.

What is the outlook for staff accountant salaries in the future?

The outlook for staff accountant salaries remains positive, with opportunities for growth as you gain experience and expertise. Additionally, staying updated on industry trends can keep your earning potential upward.

Navigating the Staff Accountant Salary Landscape

A staff accountant salary can vary widely based on factors like location, experience, and certifications. However, with the right institution, education, certifications, and experience, you can increase your earning potential in this rewarding profession. Remember that continuous learning and updating industry trends are essential to long-term success as a staff accountant.

To fully understand the role of staff accountants in businesses, explore how their expertise generates substantial cost savings for employers and enables well-informed, strategic decision-making.