In the United States, the average salary for an accountant is $75,280. The mean figure is C$49,555 in Canada, £92,800 in the United Kingdom, and AU$64,727 in Australia. The accountant salary in Switzerland averages CHF 75,000, while those in Norway make an average of $50,050 in U.S. Dollars. While salaries may differ by geography, where an accountant falls in the range is based on a number of factors which are explained below.
Accountant Salary Influencers
The earnings of accountants differ by country. Generally, though, the size of the accounting firm and the experience and qualifications greatly factor into the compensation.
According to eFinancialCareers, accountants in the United Kingdom on average earn less than investment bankers. For example, investment bankers make £200,000, while accountants earn £113,000. However, accountants at large firms in the United Kingdom and other countries can fetch higher pay, including with bonuses or profit-sharing plans.
Certified or chartered accountants can work on a self-employed basis. However, for employed accountants, pay depends on the firm’s size, the accountant’s length of experience, skills and employer. Typically, certified or chartered accountants earn higher salaries.
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Accountant Salary in the US
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in May 2015, accountants’ pay averaged $75,280 per year. The “Securities and Commodities Contract and Intermediaries Brokerage” sector saw the highest salaries, at $95,540. Accountants in the Federal Government’s executive branch made an average $94,520 per year, while those in Securities and Commodities Exchanges earned on average $93,050 annually.
Accountant Salary in Canada
According to PayScale, the mean salary for accountants is C$49,555. Pay usually ranges from C$36,433 to C$70,525. PayScale reports that chartered accountants in Canada have earned between C$30,913 and C$91,000, depending on factors such as degree, experience and the firm employing the accountant. For Senior Accountants, the average salary is C$60,154.
Accountant Salary in the UK
In the United Kingdom, qualified private practice accountants earn between £28,000 and £50,000 per year. At large accounting firms, senior accountant pay can exceed £100,000 per year. Qualified accountants in the public sector make from £27,000 to £45,000 per year. Salaries of management accounts, who focus on a firm’s profitability and cost-effectiveness, range from £32,000 to £50,000 per year. The average pay for ICEWA chartered accountants in 2015 was £92,800.
Accountant Salary in Australia
PayScale reports that Certified Public Accounts earn an average of AU$64,727, with figures ranging between AU$47,090 and AU$98,191. For chartered accountants, the mean salary is AU$69,018 and the range is AU$47,978 to AU$100,947.
Accountant Salary in Switzerland
For accountants in Switzerland, PayScale says salaries range between CHF39,268 and CHF 107,576. Those with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration earned an average of CHF 110,000, compared with a figure of CHF 60,000 for those who held a Master’s of Science degree.
Accountant Salary in Norway
According to PayScale, accountants in Norway earned an average salary of $50,050 in U.S. Dollars. Pay ranges from the equivalent of $23,863 to $106,597.
In the United States, accountants can obtain entry-level jobs but generally need experience to become certified. For instance, those seeking certification from the Institute of Management Accountants must work at least two years. Information systems auditors generally must accumulate five years experience to be certified. Depending on the type of certification, accountants may need one to three years of work. Students and candidates for chartered professional accountancy in Canada and Australia must obtain practical experience.
Generally, an accountancy is a full-time vocation. According to a 2014 report by ICEWA, the average work week consisted of 44 hours. Three in 10 accountants logged at least 50 hours per week. Ninety percent of accountants work at least 40 hours per week. In the United States, one-fifth of accountants worked more than 40 hours per week.
Accountants must work longer hours, especially during particular times of the year. Accountants who prepare tax returns must meet filing deadlines imposed by taxing authorities. The end of budget or fiscal years also brings extra time for accountants, especially those preparing financial statements and budgets.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
In most countries, the availability and amount of bonuses will depend upon the size of the accounting firms. Accountants, especially with seniority or considerable experience, in large firms can earn bonuses. Partnerships are available for chartered for certified public accountants.
In the United States, accounting firms can generally set the terms of pension and pay for leave and sickness. Norwegian firms, on the other hand, must provide employees occupational pension and sickness, insurance and leaves of absence. In Australia, accountants participate in superannuation. In this case, employers contribute up to 9.25 percent of the salary. Swiss accountants, as with other employees, participate in a mandatory retirement system. The first two “pillars” set aside earnings for retirement. In a third pillar, employers can make voluntary contributions.
Generally, the accounting field should experience solid to strong job growth due to factors such as regulations on auditing, taxes and reporting. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates an additional 142,400 jobs between 2014 and 2024, with experienced accountants seeing the best prospects. The Australian Government rates future job growth for accountants as strong. As reported by the ICAEW, corporations and investors in the London area are slowing the creation of new positions. The prospects appear brighter for accountants in the commerce and industry sector, especially for those at the mid-career level, contract and part-time positions.
Salaries depend on factors such as the accountant’s experience and size of the firm. For example, entry level accountants in the UK start at £15,000 and senior accountants can earn at least £100,000. Chartered accountants in Canada make about C$91,000.
To sum up, accountants can enhance their earning capacity through longevity, skill and certification. Those who become certified or chartered accountants can offer services to the public in large firms or in their own practices.