How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

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Tyler_2
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How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Tyler_2 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:59 am

Hi, I am thinking about my next career step in order to boost my income to qualify for a mortgage on a multi-family unit and leaning towards a staff or G/L accountant trying to make $55k. Where I work, the only moves up are a senior accountant and controller. I have changed jobs for various reasons and have had issues with steady employment in the past but currently in my late 20s making 45k as an accounting clerk at a mid sized company. I graduated debt free (yay!) but my GPA sucked, esp in accounting so large CPA firms might be out of the question plus I don't think I would be a good fit there anyway. I value low-medium stress jobs but don't mind working 50hrs a week. I worked 6 days a week on the family business and got burnt out badly. Some people I know make good money doing things like truck driving (60k + massive overtime, service advising 60k - 80k), gov't work (know a guy that works as a city prison employee making 85k) but I am frustrated that the degree I chose isn't as lucrative as I thought it would be. I have have met with individuals who have their own CPA firm (2 mil $ annually) and self employed CPAs ($250k +) and talk about how easy it is to make money being self employed but I am not in that position yet. One option is government accounting. Another option would be taking a pay cut to work at a small CPA firm. I understand that to increase income you need to add value but I am really struggling to find out how to apply this in my life. I like accounting work, it suits my quiet personalty and I enjoy the structure and rules that come with it and while time and time again I hear that sales would be great, I wouldn't want to go into that field. I have work associates in the sales department that are extremely charismatic and it would take forever for me to get to that level. Another idea I had is to work on the side doing PT bookkeeping but what I really want is to fortify my career prospects. Thoughts? Have any of you transitioned to a different field or found accounting jobs with "overtime"?

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MrBobcat
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by MrBobcat » Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:57 pm

Do you have your CPA certificate? If not I'd work on that. That being said if you like low-medium stress jobs, making more money might not be in the cards.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:00 pm

Three step plan for you:

1. Get your CPA
2. Get into a larger company, ideally publicly traded
3. Move into FP&A

2tall4economy
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by 2tall4economy » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:15 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:00 pm
Three step plan for you:

1. Get your CPA
2. Get into a larger company, ideally publicly traded
3. Move into FP&A
For someone who doesn’t like stress or communication step 3 is a non starter. It’s got both in spades. Good career path though otherwise.

I do think government work is best for you. It’s about as low stress as they come.

That said, wanting to “coast” while thinking you can climb the ladder with the folks who are very hungry for that next promotion is a mental disconnect. The rewards go to the people will to sacrifice for them, and/or the popular social kids who get lucky.
You can do anything you want in life. The rub is that there are consequences.

boogiehead
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by boogiehead » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:22 pm

+1 with getting a cpa, its your best bet on moving up in the accounting world.

Also what you are hoping for is unrealistic... if you want higher salary that means you will need to move up to some type of mgmt position acct sup, mgr, controller, cfo, etc.... which also means more responsibility especially when u first get promoted to low level mgmt position which will require you to have to put in more hrs especially during month, quarter, year end close.

msk
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by msk » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:25 pm

Get your certification into a CPA. The rest will come, but never expect a 200k income to be stress free. My daughter had a BCom and a good job at a Fortune 10 @$60k. A few months after becoming a CPA she got a job as Finance Manager at a smaller company @$170k. But she is just blessed with always being unstressed ...

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dm200
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by dm200 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:29 pm

Consider becoming an examiner for federal or state regulators of banks and credit unions.

Topic Author
Tyler_2
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Tyler_2 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:21 pm

Thanks for the insights. While everyone has their own definition of coasting, I am simply doing the best I can, and working daily to improve soft skills and my stress threshold. I have seen too many people prioritize the career over their health / friends / family so my question is how do I get to that next level. Looking at GL accountant, Staff accountant, tax accountant, or Junior accountant. If I've never done financials before (but learned in college) how do I practice that to get my foot in the door at a larger company?

Texanbybirth
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Texanbybirth » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:29 pm

If you're doing well as an accounting clerk, then it would make sense from a career perspective to move into staff/GL accounting or what's now called "accounting analyst". (Companies are throwing around the word "analyst" and attaching it to any job title it seems these days.) What types of work do you do today? Are you good with spreadsheets (the trifecta: macros, vlookups, PivotTables)? What software do you currently know? It's hard to know what you should start applying for if we don't know what specific accounting work you're doing these days. Are you doing any entries/reconciliations today? Or are you just filing paperwork for the accounting department?

I also second the suggestion to get your CPA. You'll probably learn a ton through the studying process, though it might mean having to go back to school if you haven't taken enough accounting hours to qualify for the cert. Once you get your CPA, you should easily be able to get a senior accountant position.

Signed,

a CPA
Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, | Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. | None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: | His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

Thegame14
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Thegame14 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:36 pm

you need to move into the GL world to get more experience, getting your CPA would be great, but if you had a bad GPA in school, that may be very hard for you to get. IT took my 2 years of basically working 50 hours a week and studying 40 hours a week to pass. I had little to no social life for two years, gained like 80 pounds and was stressed out all the time.

MichCPA
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by MichCPA » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:41 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:00 pm
Three step plan for you:

1. Get your CPA
2. Get into a larger company, ideally publicly traded
3. Move into FP&A
You would need to have some work as a public accountant between steps 1 and 2. That wouldn't fit the model of coasting and neither would step 3.

And if the GPA was bad, number 1 might be an issue too. That was a tough exam.

MichCPA
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by MichCPA » Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:44 pm

Tyler_2 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 3:21 pm
If I've never done financials before (but learned in college) how do I practice that to get my foot in the door at a larger company?
Auditing, lots and lots of auditing. Also, don't do governmental, its a terrible career path and I was lucky to escape.

malbecman
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by malbecman » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:26 pm

My tax guy is a CPA and has built it up into a nice business with several CPAs under him now. He's definitely making good money but yes, even he admits those 3-4 months of the tax season are tough sometimes. He does take really nice, long summer vacations though.

JStephens
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by JStephens » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:29 pm

Since you have an interest in real estate, look into property management companies. The pay is generally pretty solid (staff accountant tends to be $55-$70k), easy hours, and with a CPA you can be a controller for a smallish company making around $100k.

HomeStretch
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:36 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:00 pm
Three step plan for you:

1. Get your CPA
2. Get into a larger company, ideally publicly traded
3. Move into FP&A
+1.

OP - Check with your state to see if you need additional credits (usually comes with a Master Degree) to become a CPA. You also need to work for a CPA/firm to complete the CPA requirements in most (maybe all) states.

Paladin01
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Paladin01 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:46 pm

I also graduated with a degree in accounting and went to work as a staff accountant for a senior housing company because my GPA wasn't high enough for one of the big public accounting firms. Studied like crazy and passed the entire CPA exam on my first attempt, which I knew would open new doors. However, before I could leave my employer went public via an IPO, and they needed someone to find new properties for them. 25 years later I am still doing commercial real estate development and routinely use the analytical skills I learned as an accountant. Good luck.

fourkids
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by fourkids » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:47 pm

Sounds like you want your cake and to eat it too.

You got a low GPA, you want low stress, etc. To an outsider (and perhaps a boss), it seems like you don't want to have to work too hard.
The successful people I know in accounting/finance put in some very hard work in their 20's to get certified, gain more skills and experience, and gain commensurate promotions and salary increases. having an accounting degree alone is just an entry point to a career, not a guaranty of success. All Accounting firms and many big corporations don't promote people to Manager without a CPA.

Decide if you want to put in more hard work to gain a more skills and certifications. If you do, then you will be making $200,000 in 10 years as an Accounting Manager or Controller. If you don't, it's your own fault.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:53 pm

Truck driving is a hard life and hard work. The health risks are immense from stress to sitting all day to lack of sleep to being away from one's family. On the other hand, there are titling services which handle titling, registration, DOT, IFTA, IRP, UCR, HVUT, permits, prepass &c. which truckers hate to deal with. There are also the national rental services which have regional offices as well as the major long distance carriers. Perhaps check into titling services and the major trucking and vehicle renting companies.

https://www.truckdriverssalary.com/truc ... th-issues/
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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F150HD
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by F150HD » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:08 pm

pretty sure (?) there was a thread on nearly this exact topic in the past 2-3 months....IRT accounting. same flavor post. worth searching for.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:51 pm

Mr. Rumples wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:53 pm
Truck driving is a hard life and hard work. The health risks are immense from stress to sitting all day to lack of sleep to being away from one's family. On the other hand, there are titling services which handle titling, registration, DOT, IFTA, IRP, UCR, HVUT, permits, prepass &c. which truckers hate to deal with. There are also the national rental services which have regional offices as well as the major long distance carriers. Perhaps check into titling services and the major trucking and vehicle renting companies.

https://www.truckdriverssalary.com/truc ... th-issues/
What does trucking clerical work have to do with accounting?

nolesrule
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by nolesrule » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:02 pm

My wife is a Senior Manager FP&A in Corporate Accounting for a Fortune 100 MegaCorp. English Lit and Communications double bachelors. Started at MegaCorp as a cost accountant 17 years ago after learning AP/AR at a previous job. She went the MBA route since she had no Finance background before we had kids. She works hard, especially this time of year with putting together the AOP, but she does very well.

Topic Author
Tyler_2
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Tyler_2 » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:50 pm

fourkids wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:47 pm
Sounds like you want your cake and to eat it too.

You got a low GPA, you want low stress, etc. To an outsider (and perhaps a boss), it seems like you don't want to have to work too hard.
The successful people I know in accounting/finance put in some very hard work in their 20's to get certified, gain more skills and experience, and gain commensurate promotions and salary increases. having an accounting degree alone is just an entry point to a career, not a guaranty of success. All Accounting firms and many big corporations don't promote people to Manager without a CPA.

Decide if you want to put in more hard work to gain a more skills and certifications. If you do, then you will be making $200,000 in 10 years as an Accounting Manager or Controller. If you don't, it's your own fault.
I work hard, but I am not the kind of person who over-identifies myself with my job as many do. One of the persons I mentioned in the original post is facing some serious health concerns so even with a high income, how "rich" are ya really? I am grateful for some of the responses and I am simply frustrated that I don't know where to focus my efforts but I am at least needing to re-up my MS certifications. I'm first gen college grad/ white collar in my family and trying my hardest to develop some career confidence. I am not willing to give up biking on the weekends but 50-60hrs would be fine, just not more at this time in my life :beer

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carorun
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by carorun » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:13 pm

I work for a Big 4 though not in an accounting role.

I know several CPAs or people with finance degrees, in Big 4 and corporate jobs, who make $100k+ in their 20s and 30s, and most work 50-60 hour weeks on average. I just broke $200k and I think 60 hours is an average week for me. I go for long bike rides most weekends and great vacations every year, usually abroad or hiking in a National Park so I’m basically off the grid.

Here’s the rub: it’s stressful when you’re working and you may get bothered in your off hours. You have to field emails from people who don’t know numbers, prepare for meetings on the fly and display confidence on topics, and during tax or audit season, monthly close, and quarterly/annual plan the hours can be longer and more stressful. FP&A as mentioned before is a great launching pad to CFO but the grind is hard. I don’t know anyone with a 50 hour week job who just coasts through those 50 hours.

If you can’t or don’t want to handle stress, then understand that is the trade off to making more money. However, learning stress management techniques and possibly an anti anxiety medication could help a lot. Both have done wonders for my ability to handle work stress.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Mr. Rumples » Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:05 pm

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:51 pm
Mr. Rumples wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 4:53 pm
Truck driving is a hard life and hard work. The health risks are immense from stress to sitting all day to lack of sleep to being away from one's family. On the other hand, there are titling services which handle titling, registration, DOT, IFTA, IRP, UCR, HVUT, permits, prepass &c. which truckers hate to deal with. There are also the national rental services which have regional offices as well as the major long distance carriers. Perhaps check into titling services and the major trucking and vehicle renting companies.

https://www.truckdriverssalary.com/truc ... th-issues/
What does trucking clerical work have to do with accounting?
I apologize for not being clear. I am not speaking of "clerical work" though even that has become increasing complicated. I am speaking of accountants for these companies who have to do the taxes, consult with companies which use rental trucks, analyzing and coordinating fleet data, account systems analysts, interfacing with users on mileage software so taxes are properly paid, preparing subsidiary statements, researching fluctuations in taxes paid to ensure mileage is being reported correctly.

If you have friends who are truckers, who does their taxes and handles their registration and permits?

Just a quick glance from two trucking companies:

One major trucking company is now looking for an account manager who is responsible for optimizing the company's assets by monitoring revenue and costs and proposing changes.

Another major trucking company is looking for someone with a BA in accounting for a job which includes identifying opportunities to maximize revenue, solicit and monitor bids, monitor performance matrixes, establish interfaces with state taxing authorities for online payment of road taxes.

Trucking in the US is big business and is only getting bigger and more competitive. The American Truckers Association show revenue has increased from $700B in 2017 to $779B in 2018. There are an estimated 500,000 trucking companies in the US in almost every county and city, ranging from the large ones which have thousands of tractor trailers in their fleets to the single owner operator hauling coal off road in KY to a small trucking company in SC which hauls mostly chickens. If I weren't so old, its an industry I would look into. Over 71% of US freight is moved by trucks.

https://www.trucking.org/News_and_Infor ... ports.aspx
Last edited by Mr. Rumples on Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

fundseeker
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by fundseeker » Wed Oct 30, 2019 8:35 pm

Tyler_2 wrote:
Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:50 pm
I'm first gen college grad/ white collar in my family and trying my hardest to develop some career confidence. I am not willing to give up biking on the weekends but 50-60hrs would be fine, just not more at this time in my life :beer
But, there is no better time than now for sacrificing to get ahead, and someday your spouse and children will be glad you did and are able to provide for them (e.g., better housing, better schools, better clothes, etc.). If you wait until down the road, it will be so much harder to get better educated.

Your undergrad degree is a great basis, but take it and improve on it. You don't have to be satisfied with just that, and then just go through the motions forever.

I got a generic non-business BS degree and did not have good grades, and neither parent graduated from college, but something went off in my head after a few years post-college and I got an MBA. And to qualify for grad school, unlike you would have to do, I had to take nine undergrad business courses over a year, while working full time. Later, I went on to become a CPA, which required me to take many accounting courses before I could even sit for the exam. That, plus the Becker course, was a sacrifice. Sure, all of that caused me to miss a few parties and TV shows, but it was worth it!

If more education is not in your cards, maybe join Toastmasters and some accounting or other business-type clubs, all of which will help build your self-esteem and expose you to others in your field. Maybe really smart people. There is a funny saying about if you're the smartest person in your group, get a new group :happy. Plus, networking is always worthwhile.

You're on the right track, and smart to join this forum, but do some real long-term planning career wise. Good luck!

Count of Notre Dame
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by Count of Notre Dame » Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:14 pm

I live in Southern California, and those that make more than about $150k per year work on average 50-55 hour weeks. The public accounting firms pay below average compensation, I would look to leave and move into the private sphere.

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dm200
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:32 pm

Refreshing an earlier posting -

perhaps a job as a credit union examiner

https://www.ncua.gov/about-ncua/careers/careers-ncua

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greg24
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by greg24 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:48 pm

The OP is willing to work 50 hours a week at a medium stress job. They never mentioned coasting.

I don't think 50 hours a week at a medium stress job is coasting. Three posters have used the term "coast". Y'all need to back off.

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dm200
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by dm200 » Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:54 pm

greg24 wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 3:48 pm
The OP is willing to work 50 hours a week at a medium stress job. They never mentioned coasting.

I don't think 50 hours a week at a medium stress job is coasting. Three posters have used the term "coast". Y'all need to back off.
I don't either!!

fundseeker
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Re: How do I make more money with my accounting degree?

Post by fundseeker » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:22 pm

OP,

One thing you could consider if you have any interest in stopping or solving crime, and which is easier to obtain and would make you more marketable, is to become a Certified Fraud Examiner, which gives you the "CFE" after your name. Just a thought, and here is a link to the website:

https://www.acfe.com

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