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

Preferred qualifications

  • 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.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$68,000$92,150
Los Angeles, California$76,850$104,000
Denver, Colorado$64,050$86,650
Washington, DC$78,000$105,550
Miami, Florida$63,750$86,250
Orlando, Florida$58,800$79,550
Tampa, Florida$59,400$80,350
Atlanta, Georgia$62,300$84,300
Chicago, Illinois$71,600$96,900
Boston, Massachusetts$77,450$104,750
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$61,700$83,500
New York City, New York$81,500$110,300
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$66,400$89,800
Dallas, Texas$64,650$87,450
Houston, Texas$64,050$86,650
Seattle, Washington$74,550$100,850
National Average$58,250$78,800

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.

Typical hours

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.

Available certifications

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.

Career path

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

2020 Employment1,392,200
Projected Employment in 20301,488,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 7% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift96,000 increase

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.

Staff Accountant Jobs in Ashburn

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