Millennials are mobile. It’s been said people will change jobs 15 times over their lifetimes. However, not everyone wants to do that. Suppose you are mentoring a college student preparing to enter the accounting field. They are willing to move somewhere, but they want to stay there and earn as a good living as an accountant. Where would you send them? What cities offer the best prospects for the accounting profession?
One of the unexpected benefits of paying taxes is the extensive statistical research done by the government, specifically the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There’s lots of data available for the profession “Accountants and Auditors.”
Before diving into the data, understand the government aggregates many jobs into this one category. According to accounting.edu, here are some ranges by job based on 2015 figures. Senior managerial jobs pay far higher.
|Job Title||Annual Salary Range|
|Senior managers/directors in tax services||$ 95,500 – 198,000|
|Accountants in audit/assurance services||$ 94,250 – 191,750|
|Newer accountants in tax services at public accounting firms||$ 55,750 – 69,750|
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017 Occupational Outlook Handbook report showed the following states were best for accountants and auditors. Bear in mind nationwide, the 2017 median pay was $ 69,350. In 2016 there were 1,397,000 jobs in the field. Ten year growth is projected at 10%, or an additional 139,900 jobs added to the industry.
Best States for Accountants
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2017 Occupational Employment and Wages report showed the following states were best for accountants and auditors. They include “Location Quotient”, the ratio of area concentration to national average concentration.
|State||Employment||Employment per 1,000||Location Quotient||Annual Salary|
States with the Greatest Concentration of Accountants
|State||Employment||Employment per 1,000||Location Quoient||Annual Salary|
Back to the original question. What are the best cities for pursuing an accounting career? The Bureau of Labor Statistics looks at metro areas.
|Metro||Employment||Employment/1,000||Location Quotient||Annual Salary|
|San Rafael, CA||1,330||11.61||1.33||$ 106,050|
|NY/NJ Metro||90,050||13.45||1.55||$ 101,520|
|San Jose, CA||12,470||11.45||1.31||$ 97,910|
|Faribanks, AK||200||5.50||0.63||$ 94,680|
|DC Beltway||31,620||12.55||1.44||$ 93,900|
|Newark, NJ||11,000||9.43||1.08||$ 93,750|
|San Francisco||13,310||13.72||1.58||$ 92,190|
By now, several trends are obvious. NYC has plenty of corporate HQs. They have lots of accountants. Washington, DC has many government agencies. Silicon Valley and San Francisco have established tech companies and startups. They are also some of the most expensive places in the country, if not the world to live. So now cost of living becomes a factor. CNN has an online calculator for comparing the cost of living between cities.
The website Numbeo.com reported the 2018 cost of living indexes for 163 North American Cities. Here are the six most US expensive cities based on cost of living and purchasing power index statistics:
|City||Cost of Living Index||Purchasing Power Index|
|City||Cost of Living Index||Pruchasing Power Index|
|San Antonio, TX||60.92||154.92|
|College Station, TX||61.85||118.70|
It’s obvious the profession is growing. The country will need more and more accountants. Major metro areas employ more accountants. They also pay more. The cost of living is also higher. Access the highlighted links and research your favorite cities.