Certified public accountants in the United States average pay of $62,055 per year. The mean salary is C$53,121 ($39,982 USD) for chartered accountants in Canada, while those in the United Kingdom generally make between £26,000 ($32,303 USD) and £100,000 ($124,242 USD). The CPA salary is AU$69,195 ($52,424 USD) in Australia and CHF139,268 ($139,473 USD) in Switzerland. In Norway, certified accountants earn between NOK 205,703 ($24,551 USD) and NOK893,112 per year.
Certified Public Accountant Salary Influencers
The salary of a CPA turns on factors such as the size of the firm and experience. As discussed below, pay typically rises significantly as accountants accumulate work experience.
Certified public accountants (or their equivalents) are typically employed by accounting firms or in companies. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that nearly 26 percent of accountants work in the “Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services sector.”
Salaries generally run higher for certified public and chartered accountants in large firms or larger companies. Depending on the firm, the accountant can earn bonuses or participate in profit-sharing.
2. Geographical Area
CPA Salary in the US
According to PayScale, certified public accountants earn, on average, $62,055 per year. Total pay ranges between $44,348 and $107,343 per year.
CPA Salary in Canada
In Canada, chartered accountants earn on average C$63,121 per year. Total earnings run from C$41,426 to C$107,054 per year.
CPA Salary in the UK
Fully-qualified chartered accountants in the United Kingdom typically earn between £26,000 and at least £50,000 per year, according to Prospects UK. A 2014 survey puts the average salary of chartered accountants in business at £90,800. The National Careers Service reports that pay for “private practice accountants” runs from £18,000 to £100,000.
CPA Salary in Australia
According to PayScale, the average salary for chartered accountants in Australia is AU$69,195 per year. Earnings run from AU$49,132 and AU$99,698.
CPA Salary in Switzerland
PayScale reports that chartered accountants are paid on average CHF139,268 per year in Switzerland. Total pay has reached as high as CHF 1,430,742 per year.
CPA Salary in Norway
According to PayScale, salaries for accountants in Norway range between NOK205,703 and NOK893,112. PayScale also reports that professionals with a “Certified Public Accountant” certification earned an average of $69,168 per year.
In the United States, the entry-level median CPA salary is $56,000, according to PayScale. The median is $69,000 for CPAs with five years of experience and $80,000 after ten years. For those with over twenty-years of experience, the median salary is $91,000. CPAs with at least 10 years of experience earn 25 percent above average, while those with more than 20 years make 42 percent above average.
For entry-level chartered accountants, the median salary is C$60,000, as reported by PaysScale. At ten years of experience, the median stands at C$85,000 and rises to C$100,000 for those who reach 20 years of experience.
In the United Kingdom, private practice accountants in the “starter” category make between £18,000 and £27,000. “Experienced” ones earn from £28,000 and £50,000, while pay for “Highly Experienced” private practice accountants have salaries up to £100,000. Prospects UK reports that chartered accountants can make £47,900 with two years of experience.
Australian chartered accountants have an entry-level median salary of AU$61,000, a median salary of AU$75,000 at five years, AU$80,000 at ten years and AU$94,000 at 20 years of experience.
Certified public accountants generally log full-time hours, in many cases more. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that approximately 20 percent of accountants worked more than 40 hours per week. In the United Kingdom, work weeks average 35 to 40 hours. According to the Australian Government’s “Job Outlook,” accountants in Australia work 40.3 hours per week, which is generally in line with the average of 40.2 hours per week for all occupations.
Since certified public accountants or chartered accountants may deal with tax matters, they tend to have longer work days during tax filing seasons. Deadlines for completing audits or financial statements also require these professionals to work beyond traditional work hours and days.
Bonuses & Benefit Packages
CPAs in the United States have earned bonuses between $601 and $13,051, reports PayScale. Moreover, profit-sharing packages have afforded additional compensation up to $9,857. Commissions for CPAs have ranged from $1,462 to $45,615 per year.
In Canada, bonuses for chartered accountants range from C$402.98 to C$19,347, while earnings from profit sharing reportedly reach up to C$15,101. For chartered accountants in Australia, bonuses have topped AU$14,681, reports PayScale. Compensation from profit-sharing for Australian chartered accountants amounts to AU$509. Bonuses for Swiss chartered accountants amount toCHF13,416 per year says PayScale.
The high level of salaries for Swiss certified accountants, especially at the upper end of the range, result in part from the high cost of living in Switzerland.
In countries such as Australia, Switzerland, and Norway, certain benefits for salaried chartered or certified accountants are mandated by law. Accountants in Australia get a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave each year and, if applicable, longevity leave. Employers contribute to employees’ retirement under superannuation.
Employees in Norway are entitled to benefits such as occupational pension, insurance, leave of absence and holiday pay. In Switzerland, the government has established a three-pillar retirement system. The first pillar consists of Old Age and Survivors’ Insurance. Employers of certified accountants must contribute to employees’ pensions in the second. These two pillars provide up to 60 percent of final salary following retirement. Employer contributions in the third pillar are voluntary.
Clients rely on certified public accountants to help them navigate tax laws and other financial regulations. This need will generally sustain the demand for certified public accountants and chartered accountants. However, to get a complete overview of the field, we invite you to read about the accountant salary as well.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that employment of accountants and auditors overall should grow by 11 percent, or by 142,400 by 2024, higher than the average for all occupations. According to the BLS, certified public accountants stand to have the best prospects among those in the accountant profession.
The Australian Government projects more than 50,000 job openings by November 2019 for accountants, with employment expected to grow “strongly” by November 2020.
According to a CoreList’s Canadian Business Lists report from December 2015, the employment of accountants in Canada is expected to rise by 1 percent to 1.2 percent annually.
Demand for certified public accountants will rise due to complex tax, financial and other regulations and standards with which their clients must comply. Investing decisions will also turn on accurate reports and findings by certified public accountants and chartered accountants.
Those professionals with longevity and demonstrated expertise can expect to land on the higher scale of earnings.