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Become A Corporate Accountant

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Working As A Corporate Accountant

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Processing Information
  • Getting Information
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • $58,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Corporate Accountant Do

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records. They ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Accountants and auditors assess financial operations and work to help ensure that organizations run efficiently. 

Duties

Accountants and auditors typically do the following:

  • Examine financial statements to ensure that they are accurate and comply with laws and regulations
  • Compute taxes owed, prepare tax returns, and ensure that taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Inspect account books and accounting systems for efficiency and use of accepted accounting procedures
  • Organize and maintain financial records
  • Assess financial operations and make best-practices recommendations to management
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs, enhance revenues, and improve profits

In addition to examining and preparing financial documentation, accountants and auditors must explain their findings. This includes preparing written reports and meeting face-to-face with organization managers and individual clients.

Many accountants and auditors specialize, depending on the particular organization that they work for. Some work for organizations that specialize in assurance services (improving the quality or context of information for decisionmakers) or risk management (determining the probability of a misstatement on financial documentation). Other organizations specialize in specific industries, such as healthcare.

Some workers with a background in accounting and auditing teach in colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers.

The following are examples of types of accountants and auditors:

Public accountants perform a broad range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting tasks. Their clients include corporations, governments, and individuals.

Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide potential investors. For example, some public accountants concentrate on tax matters, advising corporations about the tax advantages of certain business decisions or preparing individual income tax returns.

Public accountants, many of whom are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), generally have their own businesses or work for public accounting firms. Publicly traded companies are required to have CPAs sign documents they submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including annual and quarterly reports.

Some public accountants specialize in forensic accounting, investigating financial crimes such as securities fraud and embezzlement, bankruptcies and contract disputes, and other complex and possibly criminal financial transactions. Forensic accountants combine their knowledge of accounting and finance with law and investigative techniques to determine if an activity is illegal. Many forensic accountants work closely with law enforcement personnel and lawyers during investigations and often appear as expert witnesses during trials.

Management accountants, also called cost, managerial, industrial, corporate, or private accountants, record and analyze the financial information of the organizations for which they work. The information that management accountants prepare is intended for internal use by business managers, not by the general public.

Management accountants often work on budgeting and performance evaluation. They also may help organizations plan the cost of doing business. Some may work with financial managers on asset management, which involves planning and selecting financial investments such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

Government accountants maintain and examine the records of government agencies and audit private businesses and individuals whose activities are subject to government regulations or taxation. Accountants employed by federal, state, and local governments ensure that revenues are received and spent in accordance with laws and regulations.

Internal auditors check for mismanagement of an organization’s funds. They identify ways to improve the processes for finding and eliminating waste and fraud. The practice of internal auditing is not regulated, but The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) provides generally accepted standards.

External auditors perform similar duties as internal auditors, but are employed by an outside organization, rather than the one they are auditing. They review clients’ financial statements and inform investors and authorities that the statements have been correctly prepared and reported.

Information technology auditors are internal auditors who review controls for their organization’s computer systems, to ensure that the financial data comes from a reliable source.

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How To Become A Corporate Accountant

Most accountants and auditors need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. For example, many accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs).  

Education

Most accountant and auditor positions require at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire applicants who have a master’s degree, either in accounting or in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

A few universities and colleges offer specialized programs, such as a bachelor’s degree in internal auditing. In some cases, those with associate’s degrees, as well as bookkeepers and accounting clerks who meet the education and experience requirements set by their employers, get junior accounting positions and advance to accountant positions by showing their accounting skills on the job.

Many colleges help students gain practical experience through summer or part-time internships with public accounting or business firms.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Every accountant filing a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is required by law to be a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Many other accountants choose to become a CPA to enhance their job prospects or to gain clients. Many employers will often pay the costs associated with the CPA exam.

CPAs are licensed by their state’s Board of Accountancy. Becoming a CPA requires passing a national exam and meeting other state requirements. Almost all states require CPA candidates to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework to be certified, which is 30 hours more than the usual 4-year bachelor’s degree. Many schools offer a 5-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree to meet the 150-hour requirement, but a master’s degree is not required.

A few states allow a number of years of public accounting experience to substitute for a college degree.

All states use the four-part Uniform CPA Examination from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Candidates do not have to pass all four parts at once, but most states require that they pass all four parts within 18 months of passing their first part.

Almost all states require CPAs to take continuing education to keep their license.

Certification provides an advantage in the job market because it shows professional competence in a specialized field of accounting and auditing. Accountants and auditors seek certifications from a variety of professional societies. Some of the most common certifications are listed below:

The Institute of Management Accountants offers the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) to applicants who complete a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must have worked at least 2 years in management accounting, pass a two-part exam, agree to meet continuing education requirements, and comply with standards of professional conduct. The exam covers areas such as financial statement analysis, working-capital policy, capital structure, valuation issues, and risk management. 

The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) offers the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) to graduates from accredited colleges and universities who have worked for 2 years as internal auditors and have passed a four-part exam. The IIA also offers the Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA), Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP), Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA), and Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) to those who pass the exams and meet educational and experience requirements.

ISACA offers the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) to candidates who pass an exam and have 5 years of experience auditing information systems. Information systems experience, financial or operational auditing experience, or related college credit hours can be substituted for up to 3 years of experience in information systems auditing, control, or security.

For accountants with a CPA, the AICPA offers the option to receive any or all of the Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) certifications. The ABV requires a written exam, completion of at least six business valuation projects, and 75 hours of continuing education. The CITP requires 1,000 hours of business technology experience and 75 hours of continuing education. Candidates for the PFS also must complete a certain amount of work experience and continuing education, and pass a written exam.

Advancement

Some top executives and financial managers have a background in accounting, internal auditing, or finance.

Beginning public accountants often advance to positions with more responsibility in 1 or 2 years and to senior positions within another few years. Those who excel may become supervisors, managers, or partners; open their own public accounting firm; or transfer to executive positions in management accounting or internal auditing in private firms.

Management accountants often start as cost accountants, junior internal auditors, or trainees for other accounting positions. As they rise through the organization, they may advance to accounting manager, chief cost accountant, budget director, or manager of internal auditing. Some become controllers, treasurers, financial vice presidents, chief financial officers, or corporation presidents.

Public accountants, management accountants, and internal auditors can move from one aspect of accounting and auditing to another. Public accountants often move into management accounting or internal auditing. Management accountants may become internal auditors, and internal auditors may become management accountants. However, it is less common for management accountants or internal auditors to move into public accounting.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors use these skills to detect fraudulent use of funds.  

Communication skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others. They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports.

Detail oriented. Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation.

Math skills. Accountants and auditors must be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary.

Organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients.

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Corporate Accountant Jobs

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Corporate Accountant Career Paths

Corporate Accountant
Accountant Senior Accountant Controller
Regional Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Accountant Senior Accountant Accounting Manager
Senior Accounting Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Accountant Cost Accountant
Cost Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Accountant Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Staff Accountant Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Division Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Accountant Finance Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Manager, Finance Analysis
8 Yearsyrs
Staff Accountant Senior Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Corporate Accounting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Finance Manager Controller
Director Of Accounting & Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Corporate Accountant Controller
Group Controller
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Corporate Accountant Corporate Accounting Manager Assistant Controller
Divisional Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Cost Accountant Accounting Supervisor
Manager, Accounting Operations
7 Yearsyrs
Cost Accountant Assistant Controller
Assistant Corporate Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Tax Accountant Assistant Controller Plant Controller
Unit Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Tax Accountant Office Manager Administrative Manager
Administrative & Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Accountant Accounts Payable Manager Credit Manager
Treasury Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Accountant Budget Analyst Finance Systems Analyst
Manager-Finance Systems
8 Yearsyrs
Tax Accountant Finance Manager Division Controller
Controller General Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Finance Officer Fiscal Officer
Fiscal Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant Office Manager Accountant And Office Manager
Finance Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Accountant 3.9 years
Accountant 3.7 years
General Accountant 3.5 years
Staff Accountant 3.0 years
Revenue Accountant 2.8 years
Cash Accountant 2.6 years
Junior Accountant 2.4 years
Top Careers Before Corporate Accountant
Accountant 18.0%
Controller 4.9%
Bookkeeper 3.3%
Internship 2.2%
Auditor 2.1%
Top Careers After Corporate Accountant
Accountant 13.1%
Controller 10.2%
Consultant 2.3%
Bookkeeper 1.9%

Do you work as a Corporate Accountant?

Corporate Accountant Demographics

Gender

Female

52.0%

Male

38.7%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

13.9%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

10.5%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.5%

Mandarin

13.5%

Chinese

12.8%

French

7.8%

Cantonese

3.5%

German

3.5%

Russian

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Polish

2.8%

Indonesian

2.1%

Italian

2.1%

Portuguese

2.1%

Arabic

2.1%

Hindi

1.4%

Greek

1.4%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Korean

0.7%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Lithuanian

0.7%

Hebrew

0.7%
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Corporate Accountant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.3%

Strayer University

7.3%

University of Houston

6.6%

Northeastern University

5.9%

DePaul University

5.4%

Kaplan University

4.9%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.5%

Villanova University

4.2%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.8%

Arizona State University

3.5%

Kennesaw State University

3.5%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.3%

University of Maryland - University College

3.3%

Suffolk University

3.3%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.3%

University of South Florida

3.1%

San Francisco State University

3.1%

Metropolitan State University

3.1%

Saint Joseph's University

3.1%

Roosevelt University

2.8%
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Majors

Accounting

54.7%

Business

27.1%

Finance

8.1%

Management

2.2%

Economics

1.0%

Education

0.7%

Psychology

0.7%

Accounting And Computer Science

0.6%

Marketing

0.6%

Human Resources Management

0.5%

Taxation

0.5%

Law

0.5%

Project Management

0.5%

Information Technology

0.4%

Computer Information Systems

0.4%

Computer Science

0.4%

International Business

0.3%

English

0.3%

Communication

0.3%

Criminal Justice

0.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.9%

Masters

29.7%

Other

8.7%

Associate

4.5%

Certificate

1.8%

Doctorate

0.8%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$58,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$43,000
Min 10%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$58,000
Median 50%
$78,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Entercom Communications
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
Delaware
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Corporate Accountant make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Corporate Accountant in the United States is $58,887 per year or $28 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $44,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $78,000.

Real Corporate Accountant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Corporate Accountant National Blinds & Flooring Inc. San Francisco, CA Apr 26, 2016 $217,568
Corporate Accountant Ocean Auto Center, Inc. Doral, FL Dec 06, 2016 $99,996
Corporate Accountant Ocean Auto Center Inc. DBA Ocean Mazda Doral, FL Apr 19, 2016 $82,430 -
$100,000
International Flag & Corporate Reporting Accountant International Seaways Ship Management LLC New York, NY Jan 12, 2016 $82,250
International Flag & Corporate Reporting Accountant Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. New York, NY May 18, 2015 $82,250
Corporate Accountant Makosi, Inc. New York, NY Sep 13, 2016 $80,000
Corporate Accountant International Orora North America Buena Park, CA Nov 01, 2015 $76,000 -
$80,000
Corporate Accountant Nurotron Biotechnology, Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 29, 2016 $75,600
Corporate Accountant TM Healthcare Management LLC Oakbrook Terrace, IL Sep 30, 2015 $74,464
Corporate Accountant Signs & Decal Corporation New York, NY Apr 02, 2016 $74,110
Corporate Accountant Zero Point Zero Producation, Inc. New York, NY Oct 29, 2015 $74,110
Corporate Accountant La Metropolitan Home Health, Inc. Artesia, CA Apr 13, 2015 $72,800
Corporate Accountant Celcite Management Solutions LLC Herndon, VA Sep 25, 2015 $72,000
Corporate Accountant Boston Scientific Corporation Natick, MA Aug 26, 2013 $61,300 -
$89,500
Corporate Accountant Boston Scientific Corporation Natick, MA Aug 23, 2013 $61,300 -
$89,500
Corporate Accountant Prithvi Information Solutions International LLC Bellevue, WA Sep 15, 2014 $61,000
Corporate Accountant DFS Construction Corporation Arlington, VA Feb 24, 2016 $60,000
Corporate Accountant Graniser LLC Carlstadt, NJ Oct 07, 2013 $60,000
Corporate Accountant de Soleil Management LLC Miami Beach, FL Apr 01, 2016 $60,000
Corporate Accountant Arms Reliability Engineers LLC Austin, TX Jun 09, 2014 $54,625
Corporate Accountant Arms Reliability Engineers LLC Austin, TX Oct 02, 2016 $54,625
Corporate Accountant Verisilicon, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Sep 06, 2013 $54,262
Corporate Accountant Adam James LLC Washington, DC Aug 20, 2014 $54,000
Corporate Accountant Wright Johnson, Ltd. Palm Beach, FL Aug 25, 2015 $52,175
Corporate Accountant United States Regional Economic Development Authority LLC Boca Raton, FL Sep 08, 2015 $52,175
Corporate Accountant Alliance Bioenergy Plus, Inc. West Palm Beach, FL Sep 08, 2015 $52,175

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Top Skills for A Corporate Accountant

  1. Financial Statements
  2. General Ledger Accounts
  3. Journal Entries
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared, reviewed and analyzed consolidated financial statements for external and internal reporting.
  • Analyzed and researched general ledger accounts to ensure accuracy of financial data according to accounting policies.
  • Produced and entered all journal entries associated with ongoing corporate activities.
  • Initiated and led implementation of fixed asset software to consistently track depreciation of fixed assets.
  • Distributed payroll invoices to property managers on a timely basis.

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Top 10 Best States for Corporate Accountants

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Connecticut
  3. Rhode Island
  4. New York
  5. Texas
  6. Delaware
  7. Virginia
  8. New Jersey
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Colorado
  • (195 jobs)
  • (310 jobs)
  • (81 jobs)
  • (1,076 jobs)
  • (1,833 jobs)
  • (83 jobs)
  • (715 jobs)
  • (666 jobs)
  • (722 jobs)
  • (514 jobs)

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