Teacher lectures to accounting class

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. 

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Contact Information

Maureen McBeth, Program Chair
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1451
Phone: (630) 942-2879
Email: mcbeth@cod.edu

Bev Carlson, Program Support Specialist
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1436B
Phone: (630) 942-2140
Email: carlsonb@cod.edu

Anika Collins, Program Advising
Berg Instructional Center (BIC), Room 1454D
Phone: (630) 942-3961
Email: collinsa555@cod.edu

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