Top Pay After a Decade's Work? Chief Accounting Officer, at $198k

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As we close out the year, let's take stock on how far that accounting degree can take you into the C-suite.

Drum roll, please: 26 of Payscale’s 2017-2018 thirty best-paying college business majors are in accounting – with the remaining four in finance.

For grads with 10 years of work under their belts, salaries range from $198,000 for chief accounting officers (CAOs) to $49,300 for finance specialists. CAOs ranked first with 81 percent making that salary followed closely by 86 percent who earned $196,000 as partners in accounting firms.

As for finance specialists, 25 percent of graduates achieved that salary level after 10 years of work.

Here’s how the rankings look for jobs that claim at least 70 percent of accounting majors (in descending order of salaries).:

  1. CAOs: $198,000, 81 percent
  2. Partner, accounting firm: $196,000, 86 percent
  3. Senior tax manager: $141,000, 70 percent
  4. Cost accounting manager: $91,700, 71 percent
  5. Certified public accountants: $85,500, 71 percent
  6. Tax supervisor: $82,000, 75 percent

Of the 35 majors listed, 12 are professionals in the 60th percentile range and six are in the 50th percentile range.

The four finance majors include senior finance managers, financial planning and analysis managers, senior financial analysts and financial analysts.

It’s worth noting that even though finance majors make up a lower percentage of professionals in the workplace after 10 years, their salaries are competitive. Senior finance managers earn $130,000, financial planning managers $115,000, and senior financial analysts $87,500.

According to PayScale, up to a third of all bachelor degrees granted in the United States are in business.

“Business majors are popular and have the potential to prepare you for a high-paying career, but it's very important that you select a college with a proven track record for providing business majors with a high return on their investment,” PayScale says.

About Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan

Terry Sheridan is an award-winning journalist who has covered real estate, mortgage finance, health care, insurance, personal finance, and accounting and taxation issues for newspapers, magazines, and websites. A Chicago native and former South Florida resident, she now lives in New England.

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