Accounting Careers, Salaries, and Demand

Careers in Accounting 

Individuals who are well-suited for a career in accounting:

  • Desire a job with a good starting salary and potential for advancement.
  • Like working with people in an office setting.
  • Can effectively follow instructions and assume responsibility.
  • Enjoy working with numbers and are detail-oriented and organized.
  • Would like to combine accounting skills with state-of-the-art computer technology.

Career opportunities for professional accountants include public accountant, auditor, tax specialist, management consultant, Internal Revenue Service agent, financial analyst, credit analyst, cost accountant and budget analyst. Job opportunities exist in public accounting firms, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, insurance companies, service organizations, and not-for-profit and governmental entities. 

Employment prospects for entry-level jobs are very competitive. Because of this, students should be well prepared academically and must possess excellent oral and written communication skills, and strong computer skills. And, to advance in the accounting field, students should plan to continue their education after completing their initial program of study at College of DuPage. 

Educational plans that include transferring to a baccalaureate-granting school will enhance opportunities for advancement. Students in the Transfer program work toward the completion of an Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree at College of DuPage and then usually transfer to a four-year college or university to earn a bachelor's degree.

Accounting Salaries 

Professionals are offered one of the highest paying careers when they enter the accounting field. Salaries depend on a number of factors, including the employer, the city in which the employer is located, educational background, grade point average, and prior experience in the field (including internships).

Here’s a summary of what a career in accounting might look financially (Source: Robert Half 2013 Salary Guide):

Corporate Accounting (General Accounting)

Employer

Up to 1 Year

1 – 3 Years

Senior

Manager

Large companies

$41,000 - $51,750

$49,000 - $65,000

$62,250 - $82,750

$77,750 - $109,250

Medium companies

$38,500 - $49,250

$45,000 - $60,750

$56,250 - $74,250

$68,000 - $90,750

Small companies

$41,000 - $51,750

$49,000 - $65,000

$62,250 - $82,750

$77,750 - $109,250

 

Public Accounting (Audit/Assurance Services)

Employer

Up to 1 Year

1 – 3 Years

Senior

Manager

Senior Manager/ Director

Large firms

$52,750 - $64,500

$60,500 - $77,000

$73,000 - $96,000

$91,000 - $126,500

$110,750 - $178,750

Medium firms

$46,500 - $58,750

$54,250 - $69,750

$66,500 - $87,500

$83,500 - $111,250

$100,750 - $153,000

Small firms

$43,250 - $53,750

$49,500 - $62,500

$58,750 - $77,000

$74,750 - $96,500

$89,000 - $125,000

 

Adding the letters “CPA” after a professional’s name can be life-altering! The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that “Accountants and auditors who have earned professional recognition, especially as a Certified Public Accountants (CPA), should have the best prospects. Job applicants who have a master's degree in accounting or a master's degree in business with a concentration in accounting also may have an advantage.”

As reported in a Robert Half International press release dated October 3, 2012: “Starting salaries are expected to rise an average of 3.3 percent for accounting and finance positions in the coming year, with a particular need for financial analysts and business analysts who can support growth opportunities, as well as staff and senior accountants. In the healthcare industry, medical billers are sought, and in financial services, an improved lending environment should lead to above-average salary increases for mortgage underwriters and processors.” 

Use the Accountemps interactive salary calculator to calculate accounting salaries in our area. 

Demand for Accountants 

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts employment of accountants and auditors will grow faster than average for all occupations through 2020. Why? “There has been an increased focus on accounting in response to corporate scandals and recent financial crises. Stricter laws and regulations, particularly in the financial sector, will likely increase the demand for accounting services as organizations seek to comply with new standards. Additionally, tighter lending standards are expected to increase the importance of audits, as this is a key way for organizations to demonstrate their creditworthiness. The continued globalization of business should lead to more demand for accounting expertise and services related to international trade and international mergers and acquisitions.”

Check out the hot accounting positions in our region. 

Learn more about COD 

What can you do to help ensure that your high school student is successful at COD? Do you need more information about paying for college? Visit COD’s pages for parents.
 

Contact Information


Maureen McBeth, Coordinator
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1740, (630) 942-2879

Bev Carlson, Program Support Specialist
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1526, (630) 942-2140

Business and Technology Division
Technical Education Center (TEC), Room 1034, (630) 942-2592

Why Accounting?

video

Rukshad Patel

Professor Rukshad Patel discusses the Accounting program at COD.

Why Accounting?

video

Ryan Hanrahan

Ryan Hanrahan discusses why he chose Accounting at COD.

Spotlight

  • David Kalet

    David KaletAccounting

    "The CPA certification is recognized worldwide as the gold standard for accounting proficiency. The COD faculty will help you learn all the skills you need to pass the CPA exam."

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    Celia ZarateAccounting

    "Even when there are people who tell you that it is impossible, there are more people believing, helping and telling you ‘You can do it!’ I am forever grateful to College of DuPage.”

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    "COD has provide me with a strong concept base that I can use in everyday life and in future classes that I take. I have met people who will be great connections to have later in life."

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  • Marion Brisport

    Marion BrisportAccounting

    "Accounting is not just about numbers, and I’ve always liked that. I even enjoy the homework, so I know I can make a career out of it! College of DuPage really helped me toward accomplishing this goal."

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  • Gracie Ortuoste

    Gracie OrtuosteAccounting

    "I really like how you use accounting in relation to money and how it runs a business," Gracie Ortuoste said. "Every business revolves around money, and handling that part of a business is very powerful."

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  • Dana Richards

    Dana RichardsAccounting

    Dana Richards is excited about seeing her business grow and is thrilled that she has learned so much at College of DuPage.

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  • Kathleen Ekeberg

    Kathleen EkebergAccounting

    "COD’s Accounting program is taught by CPAs with real-world experience. You get a university-quality education for a very affordable tuition."

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  • Ryan Hanrahan

    Ryan HanrahanAccounting

    "I decided to come to COD to save a bunch of money by getting my gen eds out of the way even though I got into all of the schools I applied to," Ryan Hanrahan said. "This will help me achieve my main goal of being 100 percent debt-free while I'm in college."

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