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Comptroller Salary Guide

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Comptrollers typically work for government and nonprofit organizations, overseeing their financial reporting, departmental spending, and adherence to regulations. These professionals are similar to financial controllers, though comptrollers are typically senior-level employees.

According to October 2021 data from PayScale, comptrollers earn an average salary of $71,550. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects careers in financial management, including comptrollers, will grow 17% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than other professions.

Comptrollers and financial managers take on similar roles, with a few key differences in responsibilities. Comptrollers usually focus on financial accounting and reporting, while financial managers work with a company’s finances.

Keep reading to learn more about salary expectations for comptrollers.

Crunch the Data: Salary by Education | Salary by Experience | Salary by Location | FAQs

How Much Does a Comptroller Make?

PayScale data indicates the average annual salary for comptrollers is $71,550 as of October 2021. However, factors like location, industry, and experience can impact earnings. Comptrollers often work in the public sector rather than the private sector, which also affects wages.

Experienced comptrollers can earn about $20,000 more on average than early-career professionals, according to PayScale.

Typically, more experience and education can increase earning potential for comptrollers. Experienced comptrollers can earn about $20,000 more on average than early-career professionals, according to PayScale.

Comptrollers

Average Annual Salary, October 2021


$71,550


Source: PayScale

Salary by Education

Becoming a comptroller involves obtaining degrees in business, finance, accounting, or economics. These fields provide the foundational knowledge necessary to oversee the spending and financial reporting of an organization.

Education level can significantly impact earning potential. For instance, those with a master’s may earn more than those with a bachelor’s degree. The table below explores the various credentials a comptroller may hold and the average salaries for those degree levels.

As the table demonstrates, earning a master’s degree may lead to a higher earning potential than a bachelor’s alone. However, prospective students should consider the overall cost of a graduate degree — in terms of both financial and time investment — before pursuing these advanced credentials.

Read about degree programs in accounting

Salary by Experience

Another factor impacting comptroller earning potential is experience. The longer comptrollers work, the higher their salaries tend to be. The table below outlines the earning trajectory for comptrollers over 20 years, demonstrating the increase in salary over time.

What are the top entry-level jobs in accounting?

Salary by Location

Where a comptroller lives and works can also impact their earning potential. Areas with higher population density often have higher demand for the services comptrollers provide. Therefore, comptrollers in urban areas typically make more money than professionals in more rural areas. However, students should also consider that cities have higher costs of living.

According to data from PayScale, comptrollers in New York City and Washington, D.C. earn significantly more than the national average for this role. In contrast, comptrollers in cities like Phoenix, Arizona and San Antonio, Texas earn slightly less than the national average.

Top-Paying States for Financial Managers, 2020

State Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York 45,390 $215,640
New Jersey 22,900 $184,130
District of Columbia 7,060 $177,920
Delaware 2,310 $176,630
Colorado 7,450 $172,400
Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Financial Managers, 2020

Metropolitan Area Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 56,680 $214,670
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 6,560 $210,180
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 8,790 $192,310
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 19,310 $191,380
Boulder, CO 610 $187,940
Source: BLS

Where Should I Work as a Comptroller?

The BLS projects jobs for financial managers, including comptrollers, to grow 17% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than other professions. Comptrollers often work for government and nonprofit organizations, and in some cases, local government elections determine comptroller positions. So, it can be difficult to determine job outlook for comptrollers specifically.

Prospective comptrollers should keep in mind that role requirements vary, so they should check with their state government office or view open positions in the area.

Financial Managers

Change in Projected Employment, 2020-2030


+17%


Source: BLS

Best Areas

According to PayScale, New York City and Washington, D.C. offer some of the highest salaries for comptrollers. In New York, comptrollers earn around 63% more than the national average for this career. Similarly, the average salary in Washington, D.C. is around 54% higher than the national average salary.

In New York, comptrollers earn around 63% more than the national average for this career.

Prospective comptrollers should also consider regional job availability. Data from the BLS shows the states with the highest concentration of financial managers include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and New Hampshire.

Nonmetropolitan areas with the highest concentration of jobs for financial managers include parts of Kansas, northeastern Ohio, southeast Iowa, west central Illinois, and the lower peninsula of Michigan. Though these areas offer higher concentrations than other nonmetro areas, urban areas offer higher numbers of jobs for financial managers overall.

The tables below detail employment trends for financial managers across states.

Top-Employing States for Financial Managers, 2020

State Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
California 92,670 $162,650
Texas 46,340 $148,860
New York 45,390 $215,640
Illinois 41,460 $148,620
Massachusetts 33,320 $158,990
Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Financial Managers, 2018-28

State Percent Projected Change, 2018-28 Average Annual Openings
Greatest Projected Percentage Increase
Utah 44.4% 1,180
Nevada 30.3% 730
Colorado 30.1 950
Texas 30 4,290
Arizona 28.8 580
Most Projected Average Annual Openings
California 18.6% 10,220
Texas 30% 4,920
New York 21.7% 4,810
Illinois 14.5% 3,970
Massachusetts 13.1% 3,420
Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Financial Managers, 2020

Metropolitan Area Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 56,680 $214,670
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 35,700 $158,070
Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI 34,420 $156,490
Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH 29,200 $164,500
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-VA-MD-WV 21,120 $177,140
Source: BLS
Discover the best cities for accountants

Best Industries

Comptrollers often work in government and nonprofit jobs, limiting the diversity of the industries and workplaces where these professionals work. Generally, financial managers can find work in a wider number of industries. Prospective comptrollers may consider jobs in financial controlling and management to find more employment opportunities.

Explore the tables below for more information on the top-employing and top-paying industries for professionals in the financial management field.

Top-Paying Industries for Financial Managers, 2020

Industry Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 41,920 $206,050
Other Information Services 3,130 $204,410
Monetary Information Services 630 $200,780
Cable and Other Subscription Programming 310 $196,520
Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing 990 $195,340
Source: BLS

Top-Employing Industries for Financial Managers, 2020

Industry Number of Financial Managers Employed Average Annual Salary
Credit Intermediation and Related Activities 98,570 $124,040
Management of Companies and Enterprises 74,260 $165,480
Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services 42,750 $175,200
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities 41,920 $206,050
Insurance Carriers 26,990 $170,850
Source: BLS

Questions About Comptroller Income

  • What is an assistant comptroller's salary?

    With little data to report for assistant comptroller salaries, the role with the most similar job duties is the assistant financial controller. These professionals earn an average salary of $77,790, according to October 2021 data from PayScale.

  • What are the highest-paying comptroller jobs?

    According to PayScale, comptrollers earn an average annual salary of $71,550 as of October 2021. Some of the roles within this field that pay higher than that average include financial analysis ($75,540) and financial reporting ($71,780).

  • Where is the best state to work as a comptroller?

    According to BLS data for financial managers, the states with the highest levels of employment include California, Texas, and New York. The top-paying states for this field include New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.

  • What is the best industry to work in as a comptroller?

    Comptrollers typically work for government and nonprofit agencies. Other financial management professionals work in top-paying industries like securities and commodities, information services, and monetary authorities/banking.


Featured Image: Deepak Sethi / E+ / Getty Images

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