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What Will Be the Best Accounting Job in 10 Years?

Numbers change, accountants know that. In September 2018 we looked at where the accounting jobs will be in 10 Years. It’s 2020, so what's new?

Mar 10th 2020
President Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.
Columnist
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Can you make the case the best accounting job today will also be the best job tomorrow? Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) produces reports on Occupational Employment Statistics for accountants and auditors as a profession.

Here are the numbers then and now:

Category 2016-2026 2018-2028
Current employment 1,397,900 1,424,000
10-year growth rate 10% 6%
Job increase 139,900 90,700
10-year total 1,537,600 1,515,400
Median pay* $68,150 $70,500

In 2016, the BLS reported mean annual wage (median). In 2018 they reported median pay.

What Other Accounting Fields Do They Analyze?

You think: “This can’t be right. $70,500? What other jobs that use accounting are they looking at?  Bear in mind “Annual Mean Wage” likely doesn’t include other forms of compensation such as bonuses.

Profession

2018 Mean Wage

 

Profession

2018 Mean Wage

         
Bookkeeping clerks $40,240   Management analysts  $83,610
Budget analysts $76,220   Personal fin’l advisors  $88,890
Cost Estimators  $64,040   Postsecondary Teachers  $78,470
Financial analysts  $85,660   Tax examiners, revenue  $54,440
Financial managers $127,990   Top executives $194,980

Where’s the Real Money?

You didn’t become a CPA to make $70,500. Where’s the serious money? You just saw the 10 similar fields the BLS looks at related to accounting. Unsurprisingly, Financial Managers topped the list

How does the BLS define the job of a financial manager?  “Plan, direct or coordinate accounting, investing, banking, insurance, securities and other financial activities of a branch, office, department or establishment.”  Here are the numbers:

Category 2016-2026 2018-2028
Current employment 580,400 653,600
10-year growth rate 19% 16%
Job increase +108,600 +104,700
10-year total 689,000 758,300
Mean annual wage $125,080 $127,990

Financial Manager Pay by Industry

You notice this job category seems to have almost achieved its 10-year growth target in two years! If it was a stock, you would want to own it.  You earn more today. These numbers must vary by industry. The BLS measures that too.

Top Industries

Mean Annual Wage

Securities, Commodity Contracts, other $209,160
Motion picture & video industries $200,360
Cable & Other Subscription programming $198,080
Monetary authorities – Central bank $197,010
Other investment pools and funds $196,390

Financial Manager Pay by State

If you have clients in real estate, they talk about “location, location, location.” It makes sense given these statistics on average pay for a financial manager:

State

Mean Annual Wage

New York $210,510
New Jersey $175,880
Connecticut $167,160
Delaware $167,110
District of Columbia $166,710

Financial Manager Pay by Major City or Metro Area

The answer seems obvious, but what are the highest paying big cities?

City

Mean Annual Wage

New York – Newark – Jersey City $208,670
Bridgeport – Stamford – Norwalk $204,690
San Francisco – Oakland – Hayward $184,350
San Jose – Sunnyvale – Santa Clara $184,340
Boulder, CO $174,360

Financial Manager Pay in Non-Metro Areas

You want to exit the rat race if you can. Commuting isn’t for you. You rationalize the big salaries are where major company headquarters are concentrated, but the cost of living is high too. What if you got out of the big city?

Non-metro Area

Mean Annual Wage

Southwest New York $144,840
Northwestern Wisconsin $139,120
Western Pennsylvania $138,690
Northern Pennsylvania $132,690
West Central – SW New Hampshire $132,550

Conclusions

The Financial Manager category within the accounting profession is where the big paychecks can be found. These numbers talk about mean annual wage. You can assume bonuses and stock options aren’t included in these calculations. It’s also a job category that has shown faster than expected growth 2016-2018 and should continue to grow through 2028.

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