The Salaries for Chief Accounting Officers

by Rick Suttle

Chief accounting officers, also know as chief financial officers, oversee a company's accounting departments. These professionals create and monitor budgets and analyze financial reports such as income statements and balance sheets. Many also oversee the accounts receivable and payable departments, study ways to cut production and labor costs and ensure the legality of all investments and financial transactions. If you want a job as a chief accounting officer, you need at least a bachelor's degree and significant experience in accounting and management. In return, you should pull down a decent salary.

Salary and Qualifications

Chief accounting officers earned average annual salaries of $96,000 as of 2013, according to the Indeed job website. To qualify for one of these jobs, you will need at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or finance, and five to 10 years executive management and accounting experience. Some companies prefer candidates who are certified public accountants and hold an MBA. CPAs have to take 30 more hours of courses than those who earn bachelor's degrees in accounting, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They must also take the four-part CPA exam to become certified in their states. Other important qualifications for chief accounting officers include an attention to detail and math, organizational, communication and problem-solving skills.

Salary by Region

According to Indeed, average salaries for chief accounting officers vary considerably by the state. In the Midwest region, they earned the lowest average annual salaries of $75,000 in South Dakota as of 2013 and the highest of $101,000 in Illinois. Those in the Northeast averaged $85,000 in Pennsylvania and $113,000 in New York. Chief accounting officers in the West averaged $68,000 in Hawaii and $106,000 in California. In the South, average salaries ranged from $81,000 in Louisiana to $112,000 in Mississippi.

Contributing Factors

The type of industry also plays a big part in a chief accounting officer's income. The BLS reports that all accountants and auditors averaged $96,260 per year working for securities and commodities exchanges as of May 2012. The average pay for accountants in the federal government was $90,560 a year. Those were both well above the mean annual wage of $71,040 for accountants and auditors in all industries.

Job Outlook

The BLS doesn't project job trends for chief accounting officers. For accountants and auditors, it expects the number of jobs to increase 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is slightly above the projected growth rate for all occupations. Companies are under greater scrutiny in the 21st century because of corporate scandals, which should produce more jobs for chief accounting officers.

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