Staff AccountantJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends
Staff accountants are critical parts of their organizations, and essential in tracking and analyzing budgets, costs, taxes, and cash flow — some of the most vital functions of any business.
They need to have an eye for every detail and a head for numbers in everything they do. They’ll often review aspects as small as single receipts or as large as annual business audits, checking details and making sure everything is running smoothly for the business, as well as preparing relevant reports for management when needed.
Staff accountants need to think on their feet and find creative solutions for problems they detect. If you have a passion for details, strong verbal and written communication skills, and are great at managing tasks and solving problems, the staff accountant position may be an ideal fit.
Sample job description
Staff accountants do the important work of keeping financial records for a business. They reconcile bank statements, balance financial records, make sure the company is complying with IRS rules, and present financial information in a clear, organized way to assess the fiscal health of a company. They often work as a team, reporting to a senior accountant or the chief financial officer. If you have excellent mathematical and analytical skills, a bachelor’s in accounting, and the ability to handle multiple projects at once, [Your Company Name] might be the perfect fit for you.
Typical duties and responsibilities
Perform monthly, quarterly and annual accounting activities including reconciliations of bank and credit card accounts
Coordinate and complete annual audits
Review financial reports
Develop, maintain, and analyze budgets; prepare periodic reports that compare budgeted costs to actual costs
Improve systems and procedures and initiate corrective actions
Adjust journal entries when necessary
Oversee taxes and abide by federal regulations
Education and experience
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, as well as CPA certification.
Required skills and qualifications
Extensive knowledge of S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
Proficient skills in Microsoft Office Suite, accounting software, and databases
Excellent organizational, problem-solving, and project management skills
Strong verbal and written communication skills
Master’s degree in accounting, finance, or related field
2+ years working as a bookkeeper
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Strong interpersonal skills
Average salary and compensation
The average salary for a staff accountant is $68,500 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Typical work environment
Staff accountants typically work in an office from a computer. They must be proficient with Word and Excel as well as other accounting software, and work full-time hours. Some times of the year, such as tax season, may require overtime hours. Some staff accountants work from home, while others may travel from client to client.
The typical work hours for a staff accountant can be from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary. For example, overtime hours may be needed at certain times of the year, like at the end of a company’s budget year or during tax season.
Accountants play a crucial role in any successful business, so a few different options exist for getting certified to work as a staff accountant. Here are a couple to consider:
Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Before getting certified as a CPA, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in accounting and one or two years of work experience. The CPA exam has four sections, all of which must be passed within an 18-month time frame. Although the exam is challenging, earning a CPA will help further your career.
Certified Management Accountant (CMA). In order to get certified as a CMA, you must first have a bachelor’s degree as well as two years of work experience. The certification exam is taken in two parts, the first of which centers around financial planning and reporting, and the second of which is focused on financial decision making. The exam is difficult, with a pass rate of less than 50%, but the applicant has a window of three years to pass each portion. Getting the CMA credential can help you advance your career and earn a higher wage.
The career path for a staff accountant starts with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, as well as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. CPA certification involves passing the Uniform CPA Exam set by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook
SOC Code: 13-2011
Projected Employment in 2030
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift
Demand for accountants should increase as global business grows, and with that comes more scrutiny. As standards become more common as companies grow — and sometimes merge — there should be a need for qualified accountants in these situations. Not just global businesses have this need. National, regional, and local businesses, and even some individuals, require good accounting work.
Sample interview questions
What skills and qualities do you have that make you a good staff accountant?
Where do you see your career heading in the next five years?
What responsibilities did you have in your prior job?
What accounting platforms do you have experience with?
How do you streamline your work on the software you use?
How do you juggle multiple projects and tight deadlines?
How well do you work on a team?
How do you communicate with clients who don’t have an accounting background?
Tell me about your process for double-checking your work to ensure accuracy.
How do you monitor journals and ledgers for fraudulent entries?
Tell me about a time you helped a company use their money more efficiently.
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