What are the Highest Paying Accounting Jobs?

Guide to the Most Highly Paid Accounting Jobs and Career Paths for Accountants

highest-paying-accounting-jobsThe field of accounting is diverse and full of opportunities for those with the right skills and credentials.

With a solid foundation in accounting, you can find yourself in a variety of high-paying roles that not only offer a great salary but also provide challenging and rewarding work.

Let’s delve into some of the highest paying accounting jobs and what they entail.

What are the Top 10 Highest Paid Accounting Jobs?

If you are thinking of being an accountant and want to know which accounting careers pay the most, you’re in luck. We analyzed all of the earning potentials for the most common careers for accountants.

Here are the 10 most highly paid accounting jobs and career paths.

1. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The Chief Financial Officer is one of the top positions within a company, overseeing the financial actions of the company, including tracking cash flow, financial planning, and analyzing the company’s financial strengths and weaknesses. To reach this position, one usually needs extensive experience, a strong background in finance and accounting, and often an MBA or CPA. Salaries for CFOs can range from $100,000 to well over $300,000, depending on the company’s size and industry.

2. Controller

Controllers manage the accounting functions of a company, ensuring accuracy in reporting and compliance with laws and regulations. They lead the accounting department and often report directly to the CFO. The role requires strong leadership and analytical skills, and typically, a CPA is highly desired. Controllers can earn between $80,000 and $200,000, based on experience and company size.

3. International Tax Accountant

As businesses expand globally, the need for accountants who understand international tax laws is growing. These professionals ensure that companies comply with international tax laws and work on tax planning to minimize global tax liabilities. Experience in international taxation and a CPA or other relevant certification can help in securing a high-paying job in this field. Salaries can range from $70,000 to $150,000.

4. Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants combine their accounting knowledge with investigative skills to analyze financial discrepancies and uncover fraud. They may work for law enforcement agencies, legal firms, or private companies, and they often testify in court. This field requires attention to detail and strong analytical skills. Forensic accountants can earn between $60,000 and $120,000.

5. Risk Analyst

Risk analysts assess and manage the risk that a company faces in its business operations. They need to have a good understanding of both finance and business, and a background in accounting can be highly beneficial. The role requires strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Salaries for risk analysts can range from $55,000 to $100,000.

6. Management Accountant

Also known as corporate or cost, managerial, or private accountants — record and analyze financial information for the organizations where they work. They typically enjoy a more stable work environment compared to public accountants and have the potential to earn a substantial salary, especially when progressing to higher positions like a managerial or senior management accountant. Salaries can range from $50,000 to $100,000.

7. Investment Accountant

Investment accountants work with financial institutions and investment firms, managing and controlling investment assets. They need a strong background in financial accounting and investment strategies. Investment accountants can earn between $60,000 and $120,000.

8. Director of Accounting

Directors of Accounting oversee an organization’s accounting department, ensuring accurate financial reporting and compliance with regulatory requirements. They often hold a CPA license and have significant experience in accounting. Salaries for this role can range from $90,000 to $170,000.

9. Financial Analyst

Financial analysts evaluate businesses, industries, and associated investments to provide guidance to businesses and individuals making investment decisions. With a background in accounting, one can excel in this role, especially in budget analysis or other specialized fields. Salaries can range from $50,000 to $100,000.

10. Internal Auditor

Internal auditors examine and evaluate their firms’ financial and information systems, management procedures, and internal controls to ensure records are accurate and controls are adequate. They help to improve operations and reduce risk. Internal auditors earn between $50,000 and $100,000.

Do accountants make good money?

Yes, accountants generally make good money, especially as they gain experience and earn additional certifications. The salary of an accountant can vary widely depending on factors such as geographic location, level of education, certifications (such as CPA), the industry they work in, and their level of experience.

On average, accountants earn a solid middle-class income, with the potential to earn six-figure salaries at the higher end of the scale, particularly in managerial or executive positions, or in specialized fields of accounting. Additionally, accountants often have good job security and benefits, which also contributes to their overall compensation package.

To maximize earning potential, accountants can:

  1. Obtain a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license: This is a highly respected certification in the accounting field and can lead to higher paying roles.
  2. Gain experience: As accountants gain more experience, they become eligible for higher-paying positions and more responsibilities.
  3. Specialize: Accountants who specialize in areas such as forensic accounting, tax, or auditing can often command higher salaries.
  4. Pursue additional education: Earning a master’s degree in accounting or business administration can open doors to higher paying roles.

In summary, while entry-level salaries for accountants may be moderate, there is significant potential for income growth in this profession, making it a lucrative career choice for many.


The accounting profession is vast and provides a plethora of opportunities for those looking to secure a high-paying job.

While obtaining a CPA or relevant qualifications can significantly boost your earning potential, gaining experience and developing a niche expertise can also play a crucial role in achieving a lucrative salary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a CPA to get a high-paying job in accounting?

While not all high-paying accounting jobs require a CPA, having this certification can significantly enhance your job prospects and potential salary.

Is experience or education more important in securing a high-paying accounting job?

Both are important, but gaining practical experience and building a strong professional network can be particularly beneficial in advancing your career to higher-paying positions.

What skills are essential for high-paying accounting roles?

Strong analytical, leadership, and communication skills are crucial, along with a thorough understanding of accounting principles and regulations.

Can I reach a high-paying accounting position without working in public accounting first?

Yes, while many high-ranking accountants start in public accounting, there are various paths to achieving a high-paying accounting position, including starting in industry or government roles.