Salary potential is one important factor to consider when choosing a career path. Jobs in the field of accounting and auditing can come with high salaries. The median wage for this occupation is well above the median salary for all occupations in the United States. Those accountants and auditors who advance to management and senior-level roles have the greatest earning potential, often with salaries near or in the six-figure range.
Salaries of the Best Paid Auditing Jobs
Auditing is the area of accounting that deals with the examination of financial documents to identify inaccuracies, fraud or opportunities for improving business operations. How much money could you make as an auditor? You might be surprised. The highest paying auditing job listed in the Robert Half Salary Guide is Chief Audit Executive and the related job titles of Internal Audit Director and Vice President, Internal Audit. The midpoint salary for this role is $175,000 per year, but the best paid Chief Audit Executives earn $210,500 at the 75th percentile or $282,000 at the 95th percentile.
Senior Managers and Directors of Audit/Assurance Services can earn up to $206,500, though the midpoint salary is $129,750. Information Technology Auditor Managers earn a midpoint wage of $115,000 and can make as much as $ 183,000 at the 95th percentile. Internal Auditor Managers, too, make $115,000 at the midpoint of the pay scale or $167,000 at the 95th percentile. Management roles see the highest wages, but they aren’t the only well-paid positions in auditing. Senior auditors earn wages around $85,000 at the midpoint or $118,000 per year at the high end of the spectrum. With three to five years of experience in internal auditing, your salary will likely fall in the $67,000 to $127,750 range, with a midpoint of $ 85,000. Even internal auditors with just one to three years of experience have a $68,000 midpoint salary and wages up to$108,250 at the 95th percentile.
While job title and experience have a major impact on salary, so do factors such as industry and area of specialization. The Salary Guide lists somewhat different pay rates for the same role in different specialty, such as IT auditor and finance and accounting.
The Best Salaries in Accounting Roles
As you might expect, salaries for accounting positions follow suit, with those in management and leadership roles earning the most money. In corporate accounting, the highest paid managers are tax accountant managers, with the potential to earn up to $157,000. Next are cost accountant managers with a 95th percentile salary of $142,000 and general accountant managers $140,000. Specialized roles can also be lucrative. At the 95th percentile, forensic accountants earn $143,250. Senior accountants in specialties such as cost accounting, earn midpoint salaries in the $70,000- and $80,000-range.
Generally, public accounting roles tend to pay somewhat better than corporate accounting. In tax services, Senior Manager and Director roles have a midpoint salary of $132,000 and a 95th percentile salary of $210,000, while Managers earn $102,000 at the midpoint and $162,250 at the 95th percentile. In the field of audit and assurance services, Senior Managers and Directors make a midpoint salary of $129,750 and can earn more than $206,500 at the 95th percentile. Managers in this specialty of accounting earn $88,500 at the midpoint salary level and $140,750 at the 95th percentile point.
As a whole, accountants and auditors in the U.S. see a median salary of $69,350, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.
The Most Lucrative Industries for Accountants
Aside from executive leadership and other management roles, the best paying industry for accounting and auditing professionals is finance and insurance. The overall salary for accountants working in this industry is $74,140, according to the BLS. The finance and insurance industry employs eight percent of accountants and auditors, or about 112,000 workers. Next most lucrative is the industry of management of companies and enterprises, which employs seven percent of accountants and pays a median wage of 72,160. The $69,410 median salary for the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services industry, which employs one in four accountants, is almost identical to the overall median for this occupation. The government employs as many accountants and auditors as the finance and insurance industry, but pays a median wage several thousand dollars less, at $67,100.
Whatever your current accounting position or salary – or your planned first steps of your new career – there are several ways you can work to improve your earning potential. Seeking certifications such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license can raise your wages by 10 to 15 percent, according to the Association of International Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
Attaining a master’s degree in accounting, taxation or business administration may also help you expand your opportunities for advancement to better-paying positions.