Corporate Accountant Salary, Outlook, and Job Description
Corporate Accountant Salary, Outlook, and Job Description
Corporate Accountant Salary, Outlook, and Job Description

Corporate accountants don’t wear green eyeshades or pore over handwritten columns of figures in thick ledgers — not anymore. Today, they tally official votes to determine Oscar winners or root out fraudulent real estate practices. They find ways to improve financial processes while avoiding waste in multinational corporations. Corporate accountants keep things in order.

Problem-solvers and analytical thinkers find corporate accounting jobs challenging as well as rewarding, often with a generous corporate accounting salary. Armed with a master’s degree and plenty of moxie, accountants are highly regarded and highly pursued by businesses who want their finances well balanced, well protected, and well invested.

A corporate accountant looks at data while standing next to an office window.

Corporate Accountant Job Description

On any given day, a corporate accountant performs a variety of tasks, depending on their accounting area and company position. Responsibilities can range from basic bookkeeping and tax preparation to ensuring that financial records of a company comply with regulations, laws, and policies


General duties for corporate accountants are straightforward and include the following:

  • Preparing budgets and other financial reports
  • Overseeing departmental and companywide financial paperwork and files
  • Monitoring invoicing and receivables
  • Preparing records and data for external auditors
  • Staying current with national, state, and local tax codes

The more specific the area in which accountants work, the more specific their responsibilities. For example:

  • Forensic accountants deal with financial crimes, such as fraud, embezzlement, and criminal transactions. In a corporate setting, they may interact with law enforcement and legal teams to determine what crimes may have been committed and how they will be handled.
  • Internal auditors find ways to improve financial procedures between and among departments, sources, other companies, and clients or customers. They find economical ways to minimize waste in time and materials to raise the bottom line, and they stay alert and informed about the possibilities of fraud inside and outside the company.
  • Compliance officers monitor company procedures and policies to ensure they comply with all regulations mandated by local and governmental offices. They oversee workflows to assess risk and consult with management on compliance and possible violations.
  • Budget analysts oversee current spending, anticipate future expenses, and review departmental and company proposals for budget issues and money-saving options. They also compare approved budgets with how money was actually spent.

Education and Preparation

Most entry-level corporate accountants have earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related subject. Higher-level positions, however, usually require a master’s degree in accounting.

Taking further coursework and passing a rigorous exam — in addition to earning an advanced degree and deciding to become a certified public accountant (CPA) versus an accountant — may open up more opportunities, such as landing a position at one of the highest levels on the corporate ladder. As education and experience increase, so does the salary of a corporate accountant.

Corporate Accountant Salary

The world of finance includes accounting jobs at every level of the corporate hierarchy. From entry-level bookkeeper to chief financial officer or controller, compensation will depend on an accountant’s position, education, experience, and location.

After gaining experience in bookkeeping, payroll, and accounts receivable and payable, accountants with graduate degrees can earn higher-paying positions such as:

  • Staff accountant. Early in the career of a well-prepared accountant, a staff accountant performs daily tasks like ledger entry, bank statement reconciliation, and report preparation for profit and loss statements.
  • Senior accountant. More experienced than staff accountants, senior accountants begin to assume supervisory and financial advisory roles, prepare financial statements and budgets, and monitor the accuracy and integrity of processes and information in the area of accounting.
  • Accounting manager. As a more senior member of an accounting department, accounting managers hire, train, and oversee staff accountants. They provide a communication link between executive leaders and the accounting team, and they work with other departments to standardize corporate financial goals.
  • Financial manager or director. By analyzing market trends and staying current with legal requirements, a financial manager works with upper management to ensure the company is stable and making wise investment decisions.
  • Corporate controller. All areas of corporate finances fall within the purview and responsibility of the corporate controller. This includes budgets; data analysis and forecasting; federal, state, and local legal compliance; internal and external audits; tax filings; and all day-to-day functions of accounting.

As of May 2021, the annual salary for corporate accountants ranged from about $47,970 for the lowest 10% to more than $128,970 for the upper 10%, with a median salary of $77,250, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Upper-level management positions may command even higher salaries. A financial manager, for instance, earned a median salary of $131,710 in 2021, with the top 10% earning up to $208,000, according to the BLS.

Corporate Accountant Job Outlook

By understanding when to invest and divest, when and where to expand, and how governmental mandates affect financial decisions, corporate accountants, armed with education, expertise, and experience, provide valuable insight that can make the difference between success and failure for businesses large and small.

To begin a career in corporate accounting, explore Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Accounting. In addition to providing a strong foundation in accounting practices, this degree program is designed to prepare students for the CPA Examination, giving them a leg up on other candidates for jobs in the field of finance. Find out how to use a love of figures and a penchant for puzzles to enter the complex and dynamic world of corporate accounting.

Recommended Reading

Budget Analyst vs. Financial Analyst: Which Career Is Right for You?

The Growth of Forensic Accounting

The Future of Accounting: Demand and Evolving Technology


ASP, “Accounting Hierarchy Explained: Which Kind of Accountant Do You Need?”

Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, About AICPA & CIMA

The Balance Careers, “What Does an Accountant Do?”

EQS Group, “Compliance Officers: Duties, Qualifications and Remuneration”, “Master’s Degree in Accounting: Job Options (With Salaries)”

Robert Half, “Is Accounting a Good Career Choice for You?”

Start Here, Go Places, “Real-Life CPAs”

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants and Auditors

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Budget Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Managers

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