Mick Jagger, Janet Jackson, and Kenny G. What do you think these three people have in common? Aside from being superstars in the music industry, they all have the same educational background: Accounting.
While a staff accountant definition will not likely lead you to become a musical superstar, it does have its perks, strengths, and weaknesses.
This guide highlights the crucial information about staff accountants and how to be your superstar in this field and career.
- What is a Staff Accountant?
- What are the Responsibilities of A Staff Accountant?
- What Does a Day-to-Day Look Like for A Staff Accountant?
- The Pros of Being a Staff Accountant
- The Cons of Being a Staff Accountant
- What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Staff Accountant?
- Employment Outlook for Staff Accountants
- 6 Factors that Affect Staff Accountant Earnings
- Types of Staff Accountants
- What is the Average Earning of a Staff Accountant?
- How Do I Advance My Career as a Staff Accountant?
- 6 Professional Organizations for Staff Accountants
- Career Paths for Staff Accountants
- Top Staff Accountant Employers
- Sell Yourself Better as a Staff Accountant
What is a Staff Accountant?
A staff accountant is responsible for keeping records, maintaining financial reports, preparing budgets, and other general bookkeeping tasks.
Staff accountants work for accounting companies, public corporations, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies. They also prepare documents like tax returns, monthly reports, and money statements.
Staff accountants usually work under the surveillance of a controller, director, or certified public accountant (CPA). They maintain money reports, general ledgers, and records; prepare and analyze budgets. And perform general accounting.
What are the Responsibilities of A Staff Accountant?
Staff accounting usually involves:
- Preparing Budgetary Data — It includes compiling billing and accounts and organizing operational or capital budgeting for a firm or institution.
- Tracking Industry Trends — With analytical software, staff accountants are expected to keep a close eye on important numbers that will allow a company to evaluate its performance effectively. It usually includes profits, spending, and losses. They may also be asked to compare this data with other industry companies.
- Writing Comprehensive Reports — Staff accountants are also usually asked to summarize the data through comprehensive resorts. Investors or lenders usually use these comprehensive reports to assess their health. As such, they must be clear, accurate, and detail-oriented.
- Filing Taxes for Individuals or Businesses — Because taxes involve a lot of data analysis, computation, and critical thinking, staff accountant responsibilities include the tax filing of individuals and businesses, keeping accurate financial records, and applying cost reduction strategies. Comprehensive knowledge of tax laws is included in a staff accountant job description.
- Manging Invoice and Billing Software — It includes collecting data for bills payables and ensuring the statements’ accuracy. They are also asked to monitor potential debt pockets and manage account balances. Companies usually have a software where they input these data that staff accountants must be knowledgeable in.
- Maintain a Book of Account — It may require using traditional means and software for accounting purposes to help clients track their accounts and finances for a successful business.
What Does a Day-to-Day Look Like for A Staff Accountant?
Staff accountants usually work on desks in office settings. They use technology to perform daily responsibilities.
In addition to the Microsoft Office suite, they also use specialized software for financial analysis, data collection, database management, and others to carry on their daily tasks.
While staff accountants are not usually required to leave the office premises, their work renders so much variety in a day. This is why staff accounting requires other skills such as multitask and keen attention to detail.
The Pros of Being a Staff Accountant
Staff accountant responsibilities may be overwhelming, but there are many benefits to this position.
The following are the pros of being a staff accountant:
1. Clear Career Advancement
Fresh graduates usually have the problem of not having a clear-cut career path to follow after graduation. This is not the case for accounting graduates. The ladder in the industry is clear and paved.
Staff accountants can look forward to being junior auditors, assistants in the controller’s office, department heads up, to even having your accounting firm. Certifications and further training usually help staff accountants move forward in their careers.
2. Stable and In-Demand
Accounting is one of the professions that will always have a demand for. Almost every business – whether it is industrial, retail, healthcare, tourism, among others – needs an accountant or has an accounting department.
3. Positive Earning Potential
Being in the accounting industry opens you up to opportunities with relatively higher pay than other professions. Most entry-level positions start as a five-figure job, but because it is always in-demand, climbing up to the six-figure range is entirely possible if you strive hard and persevere.
The Cons of Being a Staff Accountant
Even the best job opportunities have disadvantages. You will just have to weigh them and see if the good outweigh the bad. Here are some cons of being a staff accountant:
1. It Can Be Stressful
Because you hold the entire organization’s financial data on your shoulders, it can be burdensome to carry. This is especially true if your organization or company is not very “accounting-savvy,” and it is only you or your department who understands staff accountant responsibilities.
Also, while the staff accountant job description is usually to work eight hours, expect that there will be certain times of the year with tight deadlines and they have to work long hours to meet this.
2. It Can Be Dull
Steady can sometimes be routinary. Sitting on a desk for eight hours may sound monotonous compared to other job opportunities with travel and leisure provisions.
Also, it is already attached to the staff accountant’s definition that they will be looking at numbers most of the time. So it would take passion and dedication to stay and succeed in this endeavor.
What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Staff Accountant?
Getting a staff accounting job will usually require a baccalaureate in accounting and one year of accounting experience, which might be gained from an associate berth position or previous employment.
Bachelor of Science in Accounting is usually a 4-year degree that gets students ready with the necessary skills in accounting, business, management, info technology, and ethics. Curricula might embody courses like economics, business communications, PC applications, statistics, and accounting info systems.
Potential staff accountants should possess these necessary scientific discipline skills to investigate accounting principles’ figures and information.
Information on computers and familiarity with the accounting software system is also essential. Some employers might need a criminal background check at the side of a written check performed at the appliance time.
Aside from these, there are also some skills that a potential applicant should work on to carry staff accountant responsibilities effectively. These are:
1. Critical and Analytical Thinking
Logic and reasoning are needed to approach financial problems with realistic and appropriate solutions. Accountants need critical and analytical thinking to evaluate financial intricacies and apply the relevant accounting principles to a company’s financial information and business practices.
Since these financial situations vary day by day, critical thinking will help accountants develop innovative solutions to a company’s financial situation.
2. Deductive Reasoning
Deductive reasoning is a process wherein you use logical thinking to reach a specific conclusion from one or two general ideas. It’s sometimes also referred to as top-down thinking.
Accounting does not only deal with numbers. It also requires logical thinking to make sense of these numbers and make valid conclusions. Having deductive reasoning skills will allow staff accountants to draw conclusions based on data sets.
3. Oral and Written Communication
Crunching numbers is one thing. Making sense of these numbers and then explaining how they work together is another. As a staff accountant, presentations and reports are part of the job description.
Good oral and written communication skills are needed to convey numbers into ideas. Having good oral and written communication skills are crucial as miscommunication in the world of accounting often leads to losses.
4. Technology Skills
Information technology is heavily used in the staff accounting world. Gone are the days where accountants only use pens, papers, and calculators.
As innovation progresses, the world of information technology also continuously comes up with various software to make accountancy faster and more efficient. Knowledge of this accounting software will help staff accountants do their job better and faster.
5. Attention to Detail
One small mistake can have big consequences. Being detail-oriented should allow staff accountants to maintain the accuracy of their work. Because accountants work with the nitty-gritty of numbers and tables, they are often expected to be accurate to the dot.
Even a small mistake can spell disaster for a company. Imagine having to report that a month’s expenses reached $1 billion when you actually meant just $1 million. A big part of an accountant’s job is to review the inconsistencies and present a clean, transparent, and accurate report, and paying attention to every detail is required.
6. Multitasking Capabilities
Because of the wide variety of work tasks, staff accountants must be great at handling and managing multiple tasks at hand. Accountants are sometimes faced with tight deadlines and various demands from various departments in a company.
Having strong multitasking capabilities will separate each task and meet these deadlines without compromising the quality of work.
Employment Outlook for Staff Accountants
Since almost all businesses will need staff accountants on their arsenal, staff accountants’ employment outlook will almost always be favorable.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountant employment is projected to grow at an average of 4 percent from 2019 to 2029. As the economy grows, more workers will be needed to prepare and examine financial records.
Data from the US BLS also showed that the highest-earning 10 percent of accountants in the US had a pay of more than $124,450 annually.
6 Factors that Affect Staff Accountant Earnings
The average gets hold of staff accountants $48,100 per year. Get hold of this job doesn’t modification abundant by experience, with the foremost intimate earning solely a small amount quite the smallest amount. Individuals during this job usually haven’t got quite twenty years’ experience.
1. Job Description for Staff Accountant
Staff accountants area unit liable for a variety of monetary duties and practices, and PC skills area unit essential during this position to use advanced budgeting and auditing software system programs, also as kind quickly and run various company reports.
They’re also liable for maintaining a budget and guaranteeing that each money statement is ready and audited rigorously.
2. Staff Accountant Tasks
- Analyze money knowledge to organize money reports.
- Generate and interpret money records and statements for management.
- Maintain records of assets, liabilities, profit and loss, liabilities, or alternative money activities at intervals of a corporation.
- Maintain a book of account as required using traditional means and software for accounting purposes to help clients track their accounts and finances for a successful business.
At any low company, a staff accountant with but one year of experience will expect to earn $35,250 to $42,750 a year, consistent with Robert [*fr1] Finance & Accounting, a national money achievement service.
With one to a few years of experience, staff accountants average $39,750 to $52,750 a year, whereas those with 3 or additional years of experience earn $49,500 to $63,750 a year.
4. Company Size
On prime of experience, company size affects salaries. At midsize corporations, staff accountants earn $37,500 to $47,000 with one year of experience, $43,250 to $58,000 with one to a few years of experience, and $54,250 to $71,250 with quite three years of experience.
At massive corporations, accountants earn $39,750 to $49,500 with one year of experience, $47,250 to $62,000 with one to a few years of experience, and $60,250 to $79,250 with quite three years of experience.
As with nearly any career, academic achievements will improve staff accountants’ salaries.
On average, accountants earn 5% to 10% additional a year with master’s degrees or skilled certifications, like Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant, or licensed in Business Valuation.
A staff accountant recently out of school will earn $37,013 to $47,025 once certified as a controller at any low company.
Another issue influencing earnings is the location — generally even additional therefore than each experience and education. As an example, in la, staff accountants earn 24% quite the national average.
Those operating in Boulder, Colorado, additionally fare higher than most, earning 13%, quite average. The same, however, can’t be aforementioned for staff accountants in a city, Minn., wherever salaries area unit nearly 21% but average.
Types of Staff Accountants
Staff accountants support essential accounting and money managers like treasurers, controllers, or chief money officers. They also work in a wide range of environments like the government, hospitals, small businesses, production, and public accounting.
Here are some examples of different types of staff accountants:
1. Public Accounting
In public accounting, the staff’s accountant services operate under the superintendence or an additional senior level accountant. They will prepare tax returns, draft money statements, do audit fieldwork, and write management letter comments. The Certified Public Accountant Designation is commonly most well-liked to qualify for this job.
This designation is well recognized and revered within the trade. Rules for turning into a controller vary by state. However, most countries need a baccalaureate from associate licensed faculty with a minimum variety of credit hours in accounting, business, and finance. You also have to pass a test and complete one year of on-the-job coaching.
2. Corporate Accounting
Corporate staff accountants also work under an associate accounting manager or alternative top dog.
In this role, they are typically liable for journal entries, getting ready profit-loss statements, assets, accounts collectible, and daily reconciliation of bank statements.
Company staff accountants may supervise a team of accounting clerks and alternative support staff. A bachelor of arts in accounting is needed for this job.
Federal, state, and native governments also use staff accountants. Operating in the government, a staff accountant may match the superintendence of a town financial officer, controller, or finance director.
Their duties comprise various money responsibilities like watching money transactions, accommodating requests, getting money reports ready and maintaining business records.
4. Health Care and Nonprofits
Staff accounts may also be found in hospitals, clinics, colleges, and different kinds of non-profit-making organizations. In large organizations, the staff’s accountant might specialize in associate accounting performance like payroll, assets, or accounts collectible.
In smaller entities, they will act additionally as a “renaissance man”, overseeing varied money duties like maintaining the overall ledger, getting ready monthly reconciliations, posting money deposits, and aiding with annual audits.
What is the Average Earning of a Staff Accountant?
According to PayScale.com, staff accountants attained median earnings of $51,326 in 2020. That, however, will always depend on your position in the company as follows:
- Entry-level Staff Accountant with less than 1-year experience: average rate of $47,995.
- Early career Staff Accountant with 1-4 years of experience: average rate of $50,786.
- Mid-career Staff Accountant with 5-9 years of experience: average rate of $53,994.
- Experienced Staff Accountant with 10-19 years of experience: average rate of $54,504.
- Late career Staff Accountant with 20 years and higher years of experience: average rate of $54,555.
How Do I Advance My Career as a Staff Accountant?
One good thing about being a staff accountant is that there is so much room for growth. Accountants usually start their career advancement by obtaining a master’s degree in accounting.
Because an accountant with a Master’s Degree is in demand, they hold a competitive edge over the positions available and salaries.
There are also other ways to advance an accountant’s career like moving to a larger company, getting more valuable experience, certifying yourself in niche skills such as proficiency in various accounting software,
Ultimately, the usual main determining factor for a staff accountant to more senior roles in balancing education, certification, and experience.
6 Professional Organizations for Staff Accountants
Professional organizations are beneficial for a staff accountant’s career as they group like-minded people with similar intentions and advance the public interest of a particular group, profession, or industry.
Here are some of the professional organizations for staff accountants:
- American Association of Finance and Accounting (AAFA) — The American Association of Finance and Accounting (AAFA) was founded in 1978. It has over 40+ Metropolitan search firms spread across the United States and Canada. Its members comprise well-respected local search resources.
- American Accounting Association (AAA) — The American Accounting Association was founded in 1916. Its community comprises accountants in academia. They take pride in their history of building leading-edge research and publications.
- Professional Association of Small Business Accountants (PASBA) — The Professional Association of Small Business Accountants works through the mechanism of “ teach, share, and learn”. Experienced accountants teach best practices, members are encouraged to share their strengths and everyone learns together through seminars and other events they organize.
- Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) — Membership in the Institute of Management Accountants opens access to the tools, information, and peer networks you need to enrich an accountant’s career including various certification programs and leadership opportunities.
- National Society of Accountants (NSA) — The National Society of Accounts’ core mission is to help tax and accounting professionals become more successful through networking and events. They also have an educational program. In 2019, over $94,000 in scholarships were distributed to 45 students.
- International Federation of Accountants (IFA) — The International Federation of Accountants was founded in 1977 with over 175 members and associates in more than 135 countries and jurisdictions worldwide. They aim to serve the public interest by enhancing the relevance, reputation, and value of the global accountancy profession.
Career Paths for Staff Accountants
There are various career paths for advancement and development in the future, from being a staff accountant.
Here are a few examples of professions that staff accountants may advance into:
1. Senior Compliance Analyst
Because compliance mandates continuously vary from organization to organization and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, compliance analysts are being more and more in demand.
Their main task is to examine regulatory mandates and compliance levels across the organization and departments. They are also usually asked to develop strategies to improve compliance in the firm.
2. Senior Accountants
This is the next step to the accounting ladder. Senior accountants are in charge of assessing the company’s account balances. They also head the preparation of financial statements, risk assessments, supervise, monitor, and evaluate the performance of the company’s accounting department.
Controllers are the main overseers of a company’s accounting operations. They can exercise control over various accounting aspects, including the payroll, accounts payables, and accounts receivables.
They are involved in planning, directing, and coordinating accounting operational functions and making financial decisions.
4. Senior Business Analyst
Senior Business Analysts are an integral part of the company. They have the expertise to provide strategic business data to the firm to improve its overall accounting and financial standing better.
They are responsible for implementing business information systems, streamlining processes for overall productivity, and developing data metrics.
5. Internal Audit Manager
Internal audit managers protect the company by conducting comprehensive risk assessments. They are involved in developing schedules to achieve audit goals.
They are also tasked with identifying and communicating governance and compliance risks, applying measures to curb these risks, and achieving their goals through annual audits.
Top Staff Accountant Employers
Growing with a small and mid-sized company is very good, but if your goal is to look for maximum career growth and a wider variety of opportunities, you have to go to the top guns.
Here are the top staff accountant employers, known as the “Big Four”.
- Deloitte — Multinational firm that deals with audit, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax, and legal services with approximately 312,000 professionals globally. For the fiscal year 2020, the network earned a record US$47.6 billion in aggregate revenues.
- Ernst & Young — Global company that deals with assurance, financial audit, tax, consulting, and advisory services to its clients with over 300,000 employees across the world.
- KPMG — Worldwide network of professional firms providing audit, tax, and advisory services. Its network of firms spans 147 countries, with over 219,000 employees.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers — More popularly known as PwC, has offices in 155 countries and more than 284,000 people
Aside from accounting firms, other companies also offer relatively big opportunities for accountants.
These are the five types of organizations that hold staff accountants:
- Banks — Because banks deal with money and numbers, it is a no-brainer that they need a big team of accountants in their organization. Staff accountants in banks usually are responsible for financial reports, investment analysis, billing systems, and balance sheets.
- Law Firms — You might think it is unlikely for law firms to get accountants as they usually deal with words. But law firms, especially the big ones, need to hire accountants to manage their finances, taxes, property, budgets, and billing. Since their case is almost always sensitive, they are always on the lookout for top-notch accountants who are sharp with detail and performance.
- Government Agencies — Dealing with money for government agencies is a matter of public trust, That is why they usually need high-precision accountants to do this. Staff accountants that are working for the government are usually in charge of balancing financial records, accounting for budgets, and tracking and monitoring funding.
- Retail Institutions — Retail institutions have a high volume of transactions by the hour. That is why they usually hire a department of accountants to make sure that eerie penny is accounted for. Staff accountants for retail institutions are usually responsible for receipts, tax organization and filing, and expense and revenue balancing.
Sell Yourself Better as a Staff Accountant
If you want to sell yourself better as an accountant, you have to make your resume up-to-date. All the details coincide with the past and current, logical events in real life: no pretending and no missing information.
Your resume serves as your marketing tool that shows a glimpse of what kind of employee you’ll be. The knowledge, skills, and other good qualities you have should be evident on your resume, so you and your prospective employer can follow them through once you’re called for an interview.
Take a look at some of these helpful tips on how to sell yourself better through your resume:
- State the Specifics —A major difference between telling and selling yourself relies on writing the information on your resume. Writing the specifics helps update and improve your resume, including the names, numbers, outcomes, achievements, size of contracts, and sales volume or savings speak much about yourself than a generic list of training certifications and achievements.
- Sample Pitch — In a generic resume, an applicant states, “Worked as an accounting clerk, with administrative duties.” For a specific resume, you sell yourself by saying, “As an accounting clerk for three years, handled tax filing and accounting task for a local construction company.”
- Track Everything and Build Confidence — From the time you graduated college, created and sent your first resume to an employer up to the last time you did it, there are many events, achievements, experiences, and learning you have earned through the years. And one of the easy ways to track the things you have attained and is proud of is outlined and highlighted in your resume.
The staff accountant definition is versatile, detail-oriented, and in-demand. They are liable for a variety of monetary duties and practices.
Top-notch skills are essential for this position to guarantee that each money statement is ready and audited rigorously.
While the job has its own pros and cons, knowing what makes a great staff accountant and having the passion for this profession will surely bring any applicant to greater heights.