Accounting Manager Salary Guide

Updated September 28, 2022

Accounting manager salary trends reflect labor market demand. Examine the factors that impact accounting managers' earning potential.

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As noted in this University of Scranton editorial, specialized accountants are well-positioned to benefit from rising labor market demand. This bodes well for accounting managers — especially for those skilled with tech-based team and process management tools.

Accounting professionals often earn salaries above the median wages in the general labor market. Those working at the management level may make even more.

This guide explores the various factors that impact accounting manager salary trends. Use it to inform your career planning and salary research.

How Much Do Accounting Managers Make?

Accounting Managers

$76,360
Average Annual Salary, August 2022

Source: Payscale

Payscale data indicates that accounting managers earn more on average than accounting professionals in non-management roles. Payscale data from August 2022 for certified public accountants (CPAs) reports an average CPA salary of about $70,990 annually.

The 7.6% difference between these average salary levels adds up over time. Continued education leads in part to that increase; many accounting managers hold master's degrees in accounting, or professional degrees like an MBA.

Salary by Education

Many common accounting credentials require candidates to hold only a bachelor's degree. This is true of CPAs, certified management accountants (CMAs), and other specializations. However, many employers prefer people with master's degrees when filling openings at the management level.

To that end, a master's degree in accounting or a concentrated MBA in accounting may boost your chances of landing a management position. The following chart summarizes education's overall impact on an accountant's earning potential:

While the data indicates that advanced degrees have little impact on overall earnings, they may improve your access to management jobs. Note that these figures represent base salaries only. Professionals at the management level may qualify for additional forms of compensation, including profit-sharing and bonuses.

Consider the additional value professional accounting certifications offer. For example, Payscale reports average CMA salaries of $97,000 per year as of August 2022.

Salary by Experience

Higher levels of experience often translate into stronger job performance, especially in management roles. Management positions require both technical and team-oriented skills that often take time to develop.

The Payscale data indicates that accounting manager salaries tend to see big jumps between the early- and mid-career stages. This suggests that employers value a proven track record of strong performance. It also shows that businesses are willing to pay more to land experienced candidates.

Salary by Location

When asking "How much do accounting managers make?" people may not realize that the answer can vary widely depending on job location. Accounting professionals tend to earn more in places with higher living costs. However, those higher living costs can often offset salary gains.

Labor market dynamics are another key factor. If demand for accounting managers is high in a particular area or industry and there are few qualified candidates, salaries tend to rise. The opposite is true in job markets where many qualified people are competing for a limited amount of openings.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes accounting managers in its general "accountants and auditors" category. The data presented below is generalized for all accountants and is not specific to accounting managers.

Top-Paying States for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
State Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
District of Columbia 9,200 $110,240
New York 111,660 $105,790
New Jersey 42,230 $97,950
California 151,320 $92,840
Massachusetts 38,140 $92,310

Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 13,850 $112,830
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 117,800 $109,330
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 23,970 $107,540
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 41,850 $99,640
Midland, TX 1,090 $95,380

Source: BLS

Where Should I Work as an Accounting Manager?

The BLS projects a steady near-term outlook for accounting professionals. On the whole, it predicts that nationwide demand for accountants and auditors will keep pace with growth trends for all professions.

Note that the data presented below is generalized for accountants and auditors. It is not specific to accounting managers. Actual demand for accounting managers may be higher or lower, depending on location and other factors.

For instance, the Projections Central data summarized below shows that certain states expect much stronger accounting job growth. Projections Central is a cooperative project of the BLS, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), and the DOL's Employment & Training Administration.

Focusing your long-term career planning on areas that expect to see higher-than-average job growth may boost your overall prospects. Potential benefits could include stronger access to a larger base of available jobs, higher salaries, or both.

Accountants and Auditors

+7%
Change in Projected Employment from 2020-2030

Source: BLS

Best Areas

Trends emerge when looking at current and projected job availability for accounting professionals. First, jobs tend to cluster in the largest numbers in states with:

  • Large populations
  • Higher rates of urbanization
  • A strong corporate presence

This makes sense: Most accounting managers work for larger businesses with sizable in-house accounting teams. These businesses tend to locate themselves in larger urban centers with more commercial and investment activity.

Second, many of the locations that currently employ large numbers of accounting managers are expected to hold their leads during the 2020s. This suggests stable prospects for accounting professionals working in those cities and states.

At the same time, several U.S. destinations appear poised to emerge as up-and-coming hotspots for accounting job growth. These include some states with smaller populations, led by Utah. It may be worthwhile to keep this in mind as you plot your career course.

In terms of cities, the country's largest metro areas dominate ob availability. Notably, each of the top five cities also pays median salaries well above the national average of $76,360 cited by Payscale in August 2022.

Top-Employing States for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
State Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
California 151,320 $92,840
New York 111,660 $105,790
Texas 104,490 $85,860
Florida 79,380 $76,320
Pennsylvania 54,530 $79,200

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Accountants and Auditors, 2020-2030
State Percent Projected Change, 2020-2030 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase

Utah 33.4% 1,800
Colorado 22.8% 4,580
Florida 22.7% 9,560
Arizona 21.6% 2,990
Massachusetts 21.6% 4,690
Most Projected Average Annual Openings

California 12.9% 16,960
New York 16.5% 13,510
Texas 20.2% 12,990
Florida 22.7% 9,560
Illinois 10.7% 5,470

Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 117,800 $109,330
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 59,470 $89,700
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 41,850 $99,640
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 38,800 $81,250
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 34,070 $87,720

Source: BLS

Best Industries

Accounting managers are in demand across many industries. This section profiles industries that pay the highest average salaries. It also covers which industries employ the most accounting professionals.

When considering industries, look at dynamics that could impact your ability to land a job. Some industries pay accounting managers very well, but have fewer job openings. This often indicates high levels of competition for a relatively small number of available positions.

The BLS does not specifically track accounting manager salary data or job numbers. Instead, it groups the profession in with its broader category for "accountants and auditors." All BLS data cited in the tables below is generalized for all accountants and auditors.

Top-Paying Industries for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Industry Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil 40 $123,230
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 2,770 $123,210
Information Services (Other) 4,770 $112,900
Securities, Commodities Contracts, Financial Investments, and Related Activities 30,990 $107,610
Federal Executive Branch (OEWS Designation) 22,260 $107,170

Source: BLS

Top-Employing Industries for Accountants and Auditors, May 2021
Industry Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed Average Annual Salary
Accounting, Bookkeeping, Tax Preparation, and Payroll Services 326,570 $86,650
Enterprise Management 104,760 $84,820
Local Government (OEWS Designation) 45,290 $73,860
State Government (OEWS Designation) 42,240 $70,830
Real Estate 38,290 $82,090

Source: BLS

Questions About Accounting Manager Salaries

Where is the best state to work as an accounting manager?

That depends on how you define "best." D.C., New York, and New Jersey have the best average annual accounting manager salaries as of May 2021. In terms of job numbers, California, New York, and Texas were the top three destinations.

What is the best industry to work in as an accounting manager?

The accounting services, business management, local and state government, and real estate industries rank as the top five employers of accountants as of May 2021. In terms of pay, the top industries are crude oil pipeline transportation, computer manufacturing, and information services.

Is accounting manager a good career?

Many accounting tasks are becoming automated. However, computer programs cannot manage accounting teams. From this perspective, accounting manager careers are insulated from the trends that may threaten some lower-level accounting roles.

Do accountants make more than managers?

Payscale data from August 2022 cited an average salary of about $52,810 per year for all accountants. At the time, Payscale reported that accounting managers were earning an average of around $76,360 per year.

What is the highest accounting salary?

Payscale tracks the salary data associated with specific degrees and certifications. One comparison looks at the money varying accounting degrees — a bachelor's or master's in accounting, an MBA in accounting, and CPA or CMA certifications — earn. CMAs topped the list with an average annual salary of $97,000.

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