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Operational accountants oversee organizations' financial functions. These professionals direct business operations, monitor financial activities, and evaluate performance. Operational accountants also collaborate with executive managers to plan and develop budgets.
Operations accountant salary figures vary by company, but increased demand for financial management suggests positive career prospects in this field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% growth for careers in business and financial occupations from 2020-2030.
This page offers an in-depth exploration of salary and job prospects for operational accountants. Keep reading to learn about the top-paying states and the regions with the highest employment rates.
What Is an Operations Accountant's Salary?
Operational accountants hold highly specialized positions within their organizations. Depending on their size, some companies may classify these professionals as financial managers or controllers. Senior operations accountants' salaries are typically higher than junior-level professionals. A company's industry and location also affect salaries.
According to the BLS, accountants earned a median annual salary over $70,000 in 2020. Continue reading to learn how education and experience affect operations accountant salary figures.
Accountants and Auditors
Median Annual Salary, 2020
Salary by Education
Becoming an operational accountant requires at least a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field. However, employers may prefer candidates with graduate degrees and relevant specializations for advanced positions. Operations accountants in management roles may hold master's degrees in accounting.
Operational accountants may also possess certified public accountant (CPA) or chartered financial analyst (CFA) certifications. Pursuing these credentials prepares accountants to complete complex financial tasks, provides career security, and demonstrates career readiness to prospective employers.
Several degrees can help prospective accountants prepare to pursue employment, including the following:
- Read about accounting bachelor's degrees
- Read about accounting master's degrees
- Read about accounting MBAs
Salary by Experience
Industry work experience plays a significant role in operations accountant salaries. Junior operations accountant salaries start lower but increase with experience. With more management experience and responsibilities, operations accountants can negotiate higher salaries, bonuses, and benefits.
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Salary by Location
Operations accountants' salaries also depend on location. Accountants can find more employment opportunities and competitive pay in urban areas with higher population density figures. States with higher costs of living also tend to offer higher pay to attract employees.
Top-Paying States for Accountants and Auditors, 2020
|State||Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed||Annual Average Salary|
|District of Columbia||10,050||$110,140|
Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Accountants and Auditors, 2020
|Metropolitan Area||Number of Accountants and Auditors Employed||Annual Average Salary|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||119,910||$105,720|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||15,360||$102,920|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA||24,510||$101,090|
Where Should I Work as an Operational Accountant?
The best locations for operational accountants depend on factors like salary, employment opportunities, industry demand, and cost of living. Several states offer considerably higher pay for accountants, but the cost of living figures also increase. Operational accountants should consider finding jobs in states with high employment figures and salaries, such as New York and California.
The BLS projects an 8% growth in business and financial occupations from 2020-2030, but some states will experience more rapid growth in job availability. Urban areas with high population density figures and thriving industries typically offer more job opportunities for operational accountants.
The information below contains details about the top-employing and fastest-growing areas for accounting professionals. The projected change in employment reflects growth in all accounting and auditing occupations.
Change in Projected Employment from 2020-2030
Operational accountants can pursue work in most industries across the country, but some areas offer more promising opportunities. High employment rates and annual average salaries play important roles in determining the best areas for operational accountant employment.
According to the BLS, the top-employing states for accounting professionals are California, New York, and Texas. Each of these states employ over 100,000 accountants and auditors in 2020.
The information below offers insight into the working climate for accounting professionals in top states and metropolitan areas.
Top-Employing States for Accountants and Auditors, 2020
|Top-Employing States||Number of Operational Accountants Employed||Annual Average Salary|
States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Accountants and Auditors, 2018-28
|State||Percent Projected Change, 2018-28||Average Annual Openings|
|Greatest Projected Percentage Increase|
|Most Projected Average Annual Openings|
Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Accountants and Auditors, 2020
|Metropolitan Area||Number of Operational Accountants Employed||Annual Average Salary|
|New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA||119,910||$105,720|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA||61,740||$83,660|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||37,040||$83,850|
All businesses require some form of financial advice or management, allowing operational accountants to pursue work in many different industries. The tables below detail the top-paying and top-employing industries for accounting professionals.
Top-Paying Industries for Accountants and Auditors, 2020
|Top-Paying Industries||Number of Operational Accountants Employed||Annual Average Salary|
|Computer and Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing||3,910||$112,680|
|Federal Executive Branch (BLS Designation)||22,160||$105,980|
|School and Employee Bus Transportation||120||$105,060|
|Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities||31,450||$102,020|
|Other Information Services||4,660||$99,810|
Employment by Industry for Operational Accountants, 2020
|Industries With Highest Employment||Number of Operational Accountants Employed||Annual Average Salary|
|Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services||339,020||$85,050|
|Management of Companies and Enterprises||97,250||$82,770|
|Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals (BLS Designation)||46,060||$71,420|
|State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (BLS Designation)||41,780||$68,460|
Questions About an Operations Accountant Salary
What are the highest-paying operational accountant jobs?
Accountants working in the computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry make $112,680 — some of the highest annual average salaries for these occupations.
What is a senior operations accountant's salary?
According to October 2021 PayScale data, late-career accountants make an average annual salary of $57,380. This salary figure reflects general accounting roles rather than operations accountants specifically.
What is a junior operations accountant's salary?
Accountants in their early career make an average annual salary of $49,490, according to October 2021 data from PayScale. This figure refers to general accounting roles rather than operations accountants specifically.
Where is the best state to work as a senior operational accountant?
The District of Columbia offers the highest annual average salaries for accountants, but California features the most employment opportunities.
What is the best industry to work in as a senior operational accountant?
The computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry offers the highest pay for accountants. However, the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry offers the most employment opportunities.
Featured Image: Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images
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