Best paying industries for accountants and auditors

Accountants and auditors have a lot of career opportunities. Choosing an accounting job in an industry with better pay may ultimately provide a much better financial return over the course of your career. In this article we will discuss industries with the highest (and lowest) salaries for accountants and auditors.

1. Best paying industries for accountants and auditors

Accountants and auditors have a variety of job opportunities: public accounting, private companies and publicly traded corporations, consulting, government, self-employed tax professionals, and so on. While there are a lot of job opportunities, we all want a job that is satisfying, intellectually challenging and stimulating, on one hand, and well compensating, on the other hand. When it comes to the compensation for accountants and auditors, not all jobs pay the same. Some industries pay higher salaries than others.

It is true for a lot of accountants and auditors that compensation is only a part of their overall job satisfaction; it is, nevertheless, an important one. The differences in pay may have a large impact on our ultimate financial position and well-being. For example, if one job pays $20,000 more a year (as you can see below), over a course of 30 years, the difference is $600,000. If this difference of $20,000 is invested annually with a conservative 7% annual return - for simplicity, let's assume 100% of salary difference is saved and ignore taxes, etc. - the difference is even larger: $20,000 annually for 30 years at 7% is $2,021,461. That is a very large impact on one's financial position from having (and in our example, saving) just additional $20,000 a year!

We have pulled data for salaries of accountants and auditors for all states from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. The most recent information available is from May 2019. The industries paying the highest median salaries to accountants and auditors are listed below:

  1. Monetary authorities-central bank: $87,830
  2. Securities, commodity contracts, and similar: $86,700
  3. Other information services: $85,960
  4. Postal service (federal government): $85,350
  5. Oil and gas extraction: $82,810
  6. Pipeline transportation: $79,910
  7. Computer and electronic product manufacturing: $79,600
  8. Utilities: $78,870
  9. Publishing industries: $78,790
  10. Data processing, hosting, and related services: $78,070

On the other hand, the list of worst paying industries for accountants and auditors includes the following:

  1. General merchandise stores: $57,060
  2. Sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores: $58,400
  3. Social assistance: $58,800
  4. Accommodation: $59,390
  5. Gasoline stations: $60,250
  6. Educational services: $60,560
  7. Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries: $61,170
  8. Nursing and residential care facilities: $62,210
  9. Personal and laundry services: $62,370
  10. 1Hospitals: $62,830

These salaries are not adjusted for location as the cost of living index may impact them as well. It is best to analyze jobs from the overall compensation standpoint as well as from the location and cost of living adjustment standpoint.

So, if all other factors are the same and one has a choice, it may be best to look into industries with higher paying accounting jobs.

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