Sometimes, the grass really is greener elsewhere. LedgerLink, a social and career community for accounting professionals, recently conducted extensive surveys and analysis to determine the very best American cities for accountants, including a calculation of average salaries. They took into account the competitiveness of the accountant market, the availability of accounting jobs, and even lifestyle elements like average commuting time. If you're thinking about relocating, or wondering where to look after college for accounting opportunities, let this be your "greener grass" guide.
1. New York City, New York
This may not come as a big surprise, given New York City is the finance capital of America. Here accountants will find a nice mix of big firms and small start-ups, along with more independent accounting opportunities than anywhere else in the country. Cost of living may be a bit high, but you'll be living in one of the greatest cities in the entire world.
Average Salary: $69,800
2. Houston, Texas
It's time to get in on the secret of the biggest names in finance, Houston. The biggest accounting and finance firms in the country have recently opened offices in Houston, along with many major energy companies, which are big-time accountant employers. Given this new flourishing finance market, many other smaller finance firms and start-ups have begun migrating to Houston as well. It's great to strike while the iron's hot: the cost of living in Houston is still quite reasonable.
Average Salary: $68,200
3. Boston, Massachusetts
The finance industry has a strong presence in this town as well, and there are many opportunities to work with education institutions, which often have great job benefits. As a large metropolitan city, Boston has a wide variety of industries and companies in need of accountants, so you'll have a lot of options to pick from.
Average Salary: $69,700
4. Chicago, Illinois
In America, Chicago is second only to New York City in number of total accounting jobs. It's also home to several major financial and futures exchanges, which means there are plenty of finance opportunities and other companies to work with. Here you'll find the headquarters of the sixth and seventh largest accounting firms, along with plenty of start-ups. The overall size of the metropolitan market also means there are ample independent accounting opportunities as well.
Average Salary: $70,700
5. Washington, D.C.
The nation's capital; has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, which means plenty of businesses are actively hiring. Thanks to a healthy market, the average accountant salary is also highest for this American city. The secret reason this market is so great for accounts: All the media pressure on fraud and government regulation in this town means accountant are in high demand, especially forensic accountants.
Average Salary: $75,800
6. Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is one of the fastest growing cities in America, and it's second only to New York City for the number of independent accounting opportunities. Phoenix has seen an increasing number of business opening offices and firms here, so get in before the secret gets out. As the city is still "up and coming," cost of living will be low, while demand for accountants (and subsequently their salaries) is high.
Average Salary: $56,400
7. Seattle, Washington
Seattle is a great overall choice for accountants: good salaries, relatively low cost of living, and good business economy. If you're a single accountant, Seattle may be one of the best options for you: This city has a high percentage of college graduates and a large population of young professionals.
Average Salary: $66,900
8. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Did you know that Philly has the 8th highest GDP among all American cities? This means business is good, and salaries are high. Philly is great local for families because there is ample suburban space (big houses, big yards) just outside the cities limits. You can have the best of both worlds: city industry, kid-friendly house, and a short commute.
Average Salary: $73,800
9. Denver, Colorado
Denver is growing so fast that by the time you read this, it might have already jumped to #4 or #5. Denver's economy is simply booming, especially within the technology sector. Independent accounting opportunities abound, and overall unemployment is low, meaning less competition for jobs. The quality of life outside work is also particularly great in Denver; all the awe-inspiring outdoor activities will make you healthier and happier.
Average Salary: $69,800
10. Minneapolis, Minnesota
When it comes to the Midwest, you couldn't ask for a more tech-friendly city. Minneapolis is home to two of the top 20 accounting firms and has an overall healthy and hearty business environment. The average salary is comparable to New York City, while cost of living is far lower. Fun fact about Minneapolis: it is the number one city for bicycling.
Average Salary: $64,300
You've already chosen one of the best careers in the world, so make sure you also choose a city where you're most valued. From big firms, start-ups, to independent accounting, across the United States the job market has never looked better for accountants.
About the author:
Diana Mackie is the Chief Content Officer at Funding Gates, a one-stop-shop for small businesses to better manage their receivables and client relationships. Funding Gates makes it easier for accountants to manage their own business receivables and the receivable needs of their clients via cloud-based accounting software. Check out their blog for daily advice and tools, just for small businesses and accountants.