Becoming a Financial Accountant: Salaries & Career Outlook
A financial accounting career plays a vital role in several aspects, like the public reporting of a company or in assessing an organization’s financial status. The financial accountant career path is steady, with excellent security and demand in the employment market. As organizations and businesses are growing globally, there is always a need for an expert who can manage, maintain, and counsel a firm about its fiscal decisions and future.
This guide expounds on the length and breadth of financial accounting, the roles and responsibilities, career outlook, salaries, and information that helps as a ready reference to any individual choosing financial accountancy as their career path.
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An alternate to Step 4 can be Step 5: If you have already attained a bachelor’s degree and are looking forward to a financial accounting career, you may also want to sit for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam for better benefits in the job. An internship or work experience adds to successful career growth.
Variations of Financial Accountancy
With businesses growing, financial accounting jobs are in demand in various disciplines, and with that comes different types of roles/titles one can start a career with or choose from. Following are the alternative roles you can consider:
Controller: As a Controller, one must prepare financial statements and reports encapsulating a business or organization’s economic activities and positions. The controller can also create internal policies and processes to streamline and manage an organization’s budget and other account-related activities.
Financial Manager: A financial manager maintains the financial health of an organization. As part of their responsibility, they create financial reports and develop plans for maintaining and meeting long-term financial goals.
Management Consultant: Management consultants or management analysts, as the name suggests, analyze the organization’s financial situation, consider the operational efficiencies, prepare business proposals, and present different solutions to the client for maintaining a profitable organization.
Personal Financial Advisor: A personal financial advisor is an individual who will analyze the health of their client’s finances and help them in making the right investment decisions. They also closely monitor their client’s investments, finances, and other fiscal processes and assist in maintaining a healthy financial routine.
Senior Tax Accountant: Senior tax accountants are responsible for maintaining and managing finances for the organization or company. Most senior tax accountants work for federal, state, and other banking institutions.
Financial Analyst: A financial analyst regularly monitors an organization’s financial data. They consider the company’s old or past financial records and estimate the entity’s future revenues and expenditures accordingly. They provide proper guidance concerning investments and financial decisions taken by the organization.
Accounting Manager: Every organization has an Accounting Manager who administers the accounting department. The individual is responsible for financial data, tax processes, and other organizations’ financial statements for the stakeholders or audit purposes.
Budget Analyst: Planning and maintaining a budget is considered one of the pivotal steps in an organization. The budget analyst is responsible for organizing finance, planning budget reports, and closely examining expenditures. They are involved in reviewing the completeness and accuracy of the organization’s financial aspects.
Credit Analyst: Credit analysts play a crucial role in approving or denying loan applications. For this process, the credit analyst evaluates the viability of loan requests based on the information shared by different fiscal resources such as credit bureaus, banks, and other institutions.
Accountant: An accountant primarily oversees a company’s financial accuracy and maintenance. They are involved in ensuring all financial records/statements comply with federal laws and regulations and adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). An accountant should actively identify fiscal records/statements discrepancies and clarify them.
Auditor: An internal auditor or audit manager helps identify and assess a business or an organization’s financial risks and compliance and verifies their adherence to government regulations. They appraise a company’s internal controls, advise the stakeholders/board members on the areas of improvement, and ensure the application of these points for the betterment of the organization.
Treasury Analyst: The treasury analyst’s role is like an accountant/auditor where the individual investigates the commercial aspects of the organization, such as the cash flow, assets, etc. They are also responsible for budgeting, tracking expenses, and planning future investments. The treasury analyst is also responsible for deciding if the company’s monetary transactions are adhering to guidelines and being processed diligently.
What Does a Financial Accountant Do?
Finances are a crucial part of any organization, and to maintain them, there is a definite requirement for an expert, namely the financial accountant, who understands the subject better, analyzes data, and foretells the future of the organization’s monetary status. A financial accountant’s duty involves handling monthly, quarterly, and annual closures, tracking, and recording financial statements, planning budget forecasts, calculating tax returns, and diligently keeping up an organization’s financial records. They play a crucial role in strategizing the financial aspects of a business and aiding the entity to run efficiently.
How Much Does a Financial Accountant Make?
Along with high levels of job security, a financial accountant’s career also commands good earnings. According to PayScale, theaverage annual salary for a financial accountant is $57,545. And five years into the financial accountancy career, the individual can earn an average salary of $62,000. Accountants can moderately increase their salary as they ramp up their experience or acquire relevant certifications. Here is a list of job titles and their average median annual salary:
Average Median Annual Salary
Personal Financial Advisor
Senior Tax Accountant
What is the Job Outlook for Financial Accountants?
A financial accountant is often considered one of the best jobs and ranked as one of the most sought career paths. Individuals with a sense of accountability or financial discipline have an excellent range of job options that allow them to make a good living and have job security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about136,400 openings are projected each year on average (between 2021 and 2031) for accountants and auditors. Here is an insight into the various roles financial accountants can take and their job outlook:
As the role of a controller is vital in any organization, so is the demand for expertise. This job is projected to grow as much as the financial manager – by17% between 2021 and 2031.
Financial managers are often senior or responsible positions and are in high demand by large firms. The expected job growth of financial managers is17% between 2021 and 2031.
Organizational efficiency depends on the management consultant, and with their need being high, the job outlook is also projected to be more than average – at11% from 2021 to 2031.
Personal Financial Advisor
Helping individuals cautiously plan their money and suggesting the right paths to invest or plan their financial future is what a personal financial advisor primarily does. The growth rate of personal financial advisors is 15% from 2021 to 2031.
Senior Tax Accountant
The senior tax accountant is accountable for helping and guiding the junior tax accountant(s) in maintaining an organization’s financial records. The demand for this job is projected to grow by6% from 2021 to 2031.
A Financial analyst helps an individual or an organization to make prompt economic decisions that bring in profit. The requirement for financial analysts is set to grow by 9% between 2021 and 2031.
Being an accounting manager means handling the many financial aspects of an organization. The projected growth for accounting managers is 6% from 2021 to 2031.
Budget analysts typically work for private and public organizations aiding them with their financial planning. The projected job outlook for budget analysts is3% from 2021 to 2031.
Credit analysts examine credit data and financial statements of individuals or businesses to assess the risk of extending credit or lending money. The job outlook for credit analysts is similar to that for financial analysts at9% between 2021 and 2031.
The role of an accountant is usually in high demand because of their requirement across different sectors. Employability for accountants is projected to grow by6% between 2021 and 2031.
The demand for auditors will grow exponentially as more organizations rely on their services. The job outlook for auditors is6% from 2021 to 2031.
Treasury analysts are in reasonable demand, especially in government agencies. As with financial analysts, jobs are projected to increase by 9% from 2021 -2031.
FAQs on Financial Accountancy
Q. Do the job roles and responsibilities differ between an accountant and an auditor?
A. Although financial accountants and auditors belong to the field of finance, each job carries a different role and responsibility. Being an accountant, you are responsible for the daily financial transactions of an organization, like recording and maintaining the books of account, company bills, ledgers, etc. An auditor is ranked higher than an accountant. As part of their role, auditors are responsible for periodically auditing and analyzing an organization’s fiscal standing, appraising stakeholders or the management on budgets, financial outlays, balance sheets, etc.
Q. Do I need a certification to practice as an independent accountant?
A. Pursuing and attaining certification asCertified Public Accountant (CPA) helps you practice accountancy individually as a professional. After certification, you can perform accounting-related activities like suggesting investments, maintaining financial records for different entities, assessing the assets and liabilities of businesses, and educating clients about new trends and applications for a healthy financial future.
Q. What is my career outlook as a financial accountant?
A. The career outlook for the financial accountant is exponentially high because of the high demand for finance/accounting expertise for organizations. Financial accountants are often highly satisfied with their jobs as there is steady growth and an attractive salary. Along with that, there is a possibility of switching career paths by enhancing one’s skill sets and job market requirements.
Q. Can I switch careers from a financial accountant?
A. A degree in accountancy leads to different flexible job roles in finance. One can always choose to switch careers by enhancing their skills per the current employer’s requirements. Going for advanced degrees, such as a master’s in finance, or certifications with certainly increase your employability and career growth, enabling you to move into various roles laterally.
Additional Resources for Financial Accountants
Although books and websites provide information and guidance on how to be a financial accountant, one must also use resources that help network with financial experts worldwide. Understanding newer or trending accounting practices is crucial, as is staying up to date in the field. Here are a few resources financial accountants and accounting students can explore:
Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) is a house for more than 689,000 members comprising students and professionals who help individuals, organizations, and businesses in management accounting, advocating the new fiscal trends and providing new members with resources and recognition to grow in the field.
American Accounting Association (AAA) – The American Accounting Association (AAA) is a community for accountants that allows representatives to attend regional meetings, collaborate with robust networks and job boards, and teach and connect with thought leaders in the financial field.
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)– The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) allows members to participate and join online and in-person communities. ACCA annually hosts International Public Sector and Alternative Finance conferences to increase its network.
National Society of Accountants (NSA) – The National Society of Accountants (NSA) is a hub for professionals from the tax and accounting fields. NSA provides discount programs and benefits to its members, including educational opportunities, information on advocacy, access to publications and surveys, etc.
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