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Become A Staff Accountant

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Working As A Staff Accountant

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

  • Repetitive

  • $53,678

    Average Salary

What Does A Staff Accountant Do

Staff accountants are often responsible for maintaining the purchase order system, fixed asset and associated depreciation schedules, and supporting the CFO or senior accountants with other financial/accounting tasks.

How To Become A Staff 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).  


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.


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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Staff Accountant jobs

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Staff Accountant Career Paths

Staff Accountant
Accounting Supervisor Accounting Manager
Accounting Director
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Business Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Controller Finance Manager Controller
Accounting Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Treasury Analyst Senior Treasury Analyst Treasury Manager
Assistant Treasurer
5 Yearsyrs
Auditor Accountant Accounting Manager
Corporate Accounting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Controller
Corporate Controller
12 Yearsyrs
Auditor Internal Auditor Controller
Director Of Accounting & Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Internal Auditor Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Division Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Accounting Supervisor Assistant Controller
Divisional Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Accounting Manager Assistant Controller Controller
Finance Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Auditor Senior Accountant Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Planning Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Finance Manager Business Manager Controller
Interim Controller
15 Yearsyrs
Accounting Analyst Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Manager/Finance Accounting
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Plant Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Controller Controller
Regional Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Accounting Analyst Senior Accountant
Reporting Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Internal Auditor Accountant
Senior Accountant
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Auditor Senior Finance Analyst Accounting Manager
Senior Accounting Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Finance Analyst Finance Manager
Senior Finance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Staff Accountant Demographics


  • Female

  • Male

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Asian

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • Chinese

  • Mandarin

  • French

  • Russian

  • Cantonese

  • Korean

  • Portuguese

  • German

  • Hindi

  • Vietnamese

  • Japanese

  • Italian

  • Urdu

  • Arabic

  • Polish

  • Indonesian

  • Greek

  • Gujarati

  • Armenian

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Staff Accountant Education

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Real Staff Accountant Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Staff Accountant Universal Construction Specialists, Inc. El Segundo, CA Aug 22, 2016 $184,747
Accountant Staff Juniper Networks Sunnyvale, CA Aug 03, 2015 $138,000
Staff Accountant BHN International, LLC (DBA. Lava Heat Italia) Vernon, CA Sep 23, 2016 $120,370
Staff Accountant Saggar & Rosenberg, P.C. Rockville, MD Nov 09, 2016 $120,000
Staff Accountant II Endurance Capital Management LLC Dallas, TX Dec 22, 2015 $109,990
Staff Accountant Mozilla Corporation Mountain View, CA Feb 09, 2016 $107,120
Internal Control-Staff Accountant BSA Business Software Alliance, Inc. Washington, DC Mar 11, 2016 $103,168
Staff Accountant Waldman, Hirsch & Company, LLP New York, NY Sep 23, 2016 $96,741
Staff Accountant Cathay Home Inc. New York, NY Dec 29, 2016 $96,741
Staff Accountant Waldman, Hirsch & Company, LLP New York, NY Jul 10, 2016 $96,741
Staff Accountant Collection XIIX, Ltd. New York, NY Nov 15, 2016 $96,574
Staff Accountant Nasif, Hicks, Harris and Co., LLP Santa Barbara, CA Apr 28, 2015 $95,000
International Tax Staff Accountant CBS Corporate Services Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2016 $93,475
Staff Accountant Silver Platinum Realty Management, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Jan 13, 2016 $93,200
Staff Accountant Creative Management Inc. Matawan, NJ Sep 22, 2016 $56,160
Staff Accountant Greenland Us Holding, Inc. New York, NY Sep 09, 2016 $56,064
Staff Accountant Paritz & Company, P.A. Hackensack, NJ Jul 09, 2016 $56,000
Staff Accountant Baywood Hotels, Inc. Greenbelt, MD May 08, 2016 $56,000
Staff Accountant Ben's Garden Huntington Incorporated New York, NY Oct 24, 2016 $56,000
Staff Accountant Marcum, LLP Deerfield, IL Aug 31, 2016 $56,000
Staff Accountant Rights and Resources Institute, Inc. Washington, DC Aug 22, 2016 $56,000
Staff Accountant Paritz & Company, P.A. Hackensack, NJ Feb 09, 2016 $56,000
Staff Accountant Houston Fruitland, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 25, 2016 $50,086
Staff Accountant Cappellen & Associates, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 13, 2016 $50,086
Staff Accountant Cappellen & Associates, Inc. Houston, TX Nov 25, 2016 $50,086
Assurance Staff Accountant GBQ Holdings LLC Columbus, OH Apr 01, 2016 $50,000
Staff Accountant RBZ LLP Los Angeles, CA Apr 12, 2015 $50,000
Tax Staff Accountant Kieckhafer, Schiffer & Company, LLP San Diego, CA Jun 01, 2015 $50,000
Tax Staff Accountant The Abacus Group Reston, VA Sep 08, 2015 $50,000
Staff Accountant Sitzberger Hau & Company, S.C. Brookfield, WI Aug 26, 2016 $50,000

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Top Skills for A Staff Accountant


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Top Staff Accountant Skills

  1. Monthly Financial Statements
  2. Payroll Tax Returns
  3. Monthly Journal Entries
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Prepared and analyzed monthly financial statements for all companies.
  • Prepared individual, corporation and partnership tax returns, sales tax, and quarterly payroll tax returns.
  • Prepared monthly journal entries, analyses and account reconciliations as required to accurately closing the monthly fiscal period.
  • Prepare budget variance analysis on certain general ledger accounts.
  • Tag all fixed asset purchases, enter assets into fixed asset module, and produce monthly fixes asset depreciation report.

Top Staff Accountant Employers

Staff Accountant Videos

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