Accountant Salary and Job Description

by Publishing Team on July 31, 2019

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For individuals who are naturally good with numbers, the career of an accountant may be a perfect match. If you are considering following the career path of an accountant, it is important that you understand all aspects of the position. Continue reading for a thorough breakdown of the responsibilities of an accountant, different accounting career paths, information about the average accountant salary, and more.

What Is an Accountant?

An accountant is an individual that is responsible for the preparation and examination of financial records and accounts whether it be for an individual’s personal accounts or a corporate company’s professional accounts. Accountants analyze their client’s current spending trends and compare them with the client’s income.

They then use this information that they gather from their studies of their client’s accounts to develop a plan for better financial management, and in some cases, they will develop a plan for their client on how to invest their money for an extra source of income. There is a general term of “accountant” used when referring to individuals who assist their clients with money management, but there are many separate divisions of the accounting field. Below is a list of the different divisions of accounting as well as what the jobs entail.

Different Accounting Jobs and Their Responsibilities 

Public Accountant

Public Accountants usually work with corporations, individuals, and government accounts. Bachelor’s degree required.

Government Accountant

Maintain and examine financial records of government agencies as well as individuals whose financial records are government-related.

Internal Auditor

Examine financial records in order to locate and eliminate fraud.

Cost Accountant

Examine financial records for a cost analysis as well as a margin analysis.

Besides the above listed accounting jobs, there are a few more variations of the job that are available as career paths. It is a good idea to conduct your own research to see if there are any other accounting jobs that are to your liking. Many exciting accounting careers extend past the simple crunching of numbers; following the career path of an accountant can lead to a number of different and exciting aspects of financial management. Many accountants take pride in the ability to organize and manage financial records and spending habits for their clients, which can make a world of difference in their clients’ lives.

top view of accountant work desk


Accountant Salary Information

As with any career, the salary that an accountant will receive can vary depending on a number of factors. The average accountant salary is around $65,150, but an accountant salary can range anywhere from $40,000 to $120,000 per year. The salary amount depends on the area in which the accountant works, what kind of accounting they are doing, and the status of the accountant’s clients. An accountant that does financial analysis and management for large corporations and companies will enjoy a larger salary than that of accountants who simply work one-on-one with individuals, managing private accounts.

Education Needed to Become an Accountant

Individuals who are interested in following the career path of an accountant should begin taking as many math classes as they possibly can in high school. Ensuring that you are as comfortable working with numbers as possible before heading off to college. Once enrolled at a college or university, it is a good idea to enroll in extra-curricular math-based classes, with specialized accounting programs being ideal. Many accountants work in college to achieve a bachelor’s degree in some form of accounting or another. Continue reading for a list of accredited colleges and universities that offer degrees in accounting.

Universities and Colleges That Offer Degrees in Accounting

  • University of Texas- Austin
  • Brigham Young University
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Indiana University-Bloomington
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Southern California
  • New York University
  • Ohio State University-Columbus
  • University of Florida
  • Texas A&M University- College Station

While these universities and colleges offer some of the most prestigious programs to achieve a degree in accounting, there are plenty of other schools that provide accounting programs as well. If you are interested in becoming an accountant and starting your college career in order to become an accountant, it would be a good idea to conduct research on universities and colleges in your area to determine if they would be a good match for you to begin your journey to follow your dream of becoming an accountant.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming an Accountant

Like many careers, there are many advantages and disadvantages to following the career of an accountant. When considering becoming an accountant, it is important to keep these advantages and disadvantages in mind while you contemplate your potential new career. Many individuals choose to enter the accounting field do so due to the comfortable pay, but it is important to consider all aspects of the job, rather than just the average accountant salary. Continue reading for a comprehensive list of both the advantages of becoming an accountant, as well as the disadvantages of becoming an accountant, so that you can discover more aspects of the career other than the average accountant salary.

calculator and pen

Advantages of Becoming an Accountant

  • Comfortable accountant salary
  • Ability to help people manage their money and improve their lives
  • Room and ability to advance
  • The potential for accountant salary to raise with more experience
  • Ability to work full time or part-time
  • Job stability
  • No shortage of job opportunities
  • Predicted job growth
  • Potential to become an entrepreneur

Disadvantages of Becoming an Accountant

  • Challenging work
  • Long hours
  • Ongoing education
  • Repetitive and sometimes dull work tasks
  • Very busy during tax season
  • Common to work overtime hours
  • High stress
  • High tension

If you are considering becoming an accountant, keep the points made in these two lists in mind, so that you can consider the negatives, as well as the positives, of the career of an accountant. The job of an accountant can be quite difficult, and the work itself can be quite a time consuming and requires large amounts of patience as well as a complete understanding of how finances work. It is for this reason that it is important that all individuals considering the career of an accountant ensure that they are truly interested in helping people manage their financial information.

Is There a Need for Accountants?

There is absolutely a need for accountants. Accountants assist in proper money management and are usually responsible for the financial plans of official businesses. Accountants are responsible for the organization of financial records, and without their assistance, the financial balance of entire corporations and organizations could potentially become unbalanced and unorganized. Individuals who choose to have an accountant help manage their files do so in order to simplify not only their finances but their lives as well. Having someone to assist with the management of income and outcome can have a massive effect on the quality of an individual’s life, allowing them to afford things that improve the quality of their life. 

balancing sheet


What Does an Accountant Actually Do?

While some people may believe that accountants only really work during tax season, this simply is not true. Accountants work hard all year round to help people manage their finances and make the most of their money. For personal accounts, accountants review the account information, as well as spending habits and income flow, in order to better advise their clients on how to spend and save their hard-earned money.

For corporate or business accounts, accountants take a look at the financial aspects and spending habits of the entire company. They use the information they gather from their observations to build a strategy for better financial management for the company. Below is a list of the tasks associated with the job of an accountant.

Responsibilities and Tasks of an Accountant

  • Examine financial statements
  • Examine and take note of spending habits
  • Organize financial records and documents
  • Improve business’ financial efficiency
  • Produce plans for better financial management
  • Advise clients on which negative spending habits to stop
  • Advise clients on how to make the most of their hard earned money
  • Find ways to reduce spending and costs
  • Audit financial documents and statements.
  • Examine statements to ensure they comply with the law
  • Assist clients with filing their taxes
  • Produce financial strategies for businesses

While the above list does not contain every task and responsibility that is associated with being an accountant, it does contain a considerable majority of what can be expected of an accountant on a day-to-day basis while they carry out their duties at work. For individuals who enjoy working with numbers and have an inclination for math, accounting is one of the most promising career fields. 


The career of an accountant can prove to be extremely rewarding. Due to the complexity and detail that is required in the work of an accountant, the career is surely not for everyone, so it is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of becoming an accountant. Using the information you learned here in this article, you will be able to go forward and make a decision regarding becoming an accountant.

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