Median Pay: $67,190 (per Bureau of Labor Statistics)
What You Can Expect Right After College: So, here’s the deal! There are literally thousands of tracks you can go down with accounting. We will outline the most common.
Big-4 Public Accounting Firm (Audit & Tax): Expect Around $55,000 (7 – 12% Raises)
Regional Public Accounting Firm (Audit & Tax): Expect Around $45,000
Big-4 Public Accounting Firm (Systems): Expect Around $60,000
Big-4 Public Accounting Firm (Advisory): Expect Around $60,000
Large Public or Private Company: Expect Around $50,000
Small Public Company: Expect Around $40,000
Small Private Company: Expect Around $35,000
What You Can Expect After 5 Years: For those that go with a Big-4 or large regional public accounting firm, you can expect to have opportunities that range in salary from $90,000 – $115,000. For everybody else, you can generally expect opportunities that range in salary from $50,000 – $75,000.
What You Can Expect After 10 Years: This is where things really begin to heat up. For those that go with a Big-4 or large regional public accounting firm, you will likely be making around $120,000 – $145,000 within a public accounting firm. However, you will have extremely lucrative opportunities at both public and private companies depending on your area of expertise. Jobs such as Senior Manager of Financial Reporting, Director of Internal Audit, Controller, Chief Financial Officer are all jobs that you will most likely be qualified for. Realistically, you should expect salary ranges of $145,000 – $165,000. However, you most likely will receive annual bonuses that can range from $10,000 to $50,000.
What You Can Expect After 15 Years: This is the point where most are beginning to make partner within a public accounting firm and/or they are reaching executive levels within the public or private company they work at. It really depends what company you work for, but if you had been a high performer within a large public accounting company you could expect salaries to range from $165,000 – $250,000. Keep in mind that it’s the best of the best that reach the top end of the salary range. There are accountants at the 15 year mark that are a few years away from making $500,000 or more per year, but remember that these are the absolute top performers and not everybody should expect to ever reach these top end salary points.