Certifications Pay


Accountants with at least one professional certification -- whether it be a CPA license or an MBA -- reported substantially higher salaries than accountants with no certification, according to the new SmartPros Salary Survey just released.


Nearly 2,500 respondents answered the nine-question online survey. Respondents included a wide range of accounting professionals,* but the majority reported their professional title as Staff Accountant (34 percent), Director/Manager (20 percent) or CFO/Controller (12 percent). See Figure 1 for the average salaries for these positions.

By area of practice alone, and without considering certifications, accounting professionals in regional public accounting averaged $61,493; in national public accounting, $58,959; and in local public accounting, $58,391. See Figure 2.

As was the case in last year's survey, respondents with a CPA license reported a much higher average salary ($73,418 ) than those without a CPA license ($52,513).

In addition, the survey found that accounting professionals with both a CPA license and an MBA made nearly twice the salary ($82,326) as those without a CPA-MBA combination ($43,510).

Other findings:

  • Accounting professionals in the corporate finance field reported the highest average salary at $69,073.
  • Staff accountants with a CPA license (and no other reported license) reported an average salary of $49,044. In comparison, staff accountants without a professional certification reported $40,704.
  • CFOs and Controllers with an MBA degree and no CPA averaged $68,695; with a combination CPA-MBA the average salary was $105,000.
  • CFM- and CMA-certified accountants reported average salaries of $80,462 and $82,258, respectively.
  • As expected, the more years of experience, regardless of area of practice or professional title, the higher the respondents' average salaries. See Figure 4.

Position

Average
Salary

Staff Accountant

$ 45,032

Director/Manager

 78,369

CFO/Controller

87,893

Figure 1

 

 

Area of
Practice

Average
Salary

Corporate Finance

$ 69,073

Public: Regional

61,493

Public: National

58,959

Public: Local

58,391

Government

56,036

Education

55,753

Not-for-profit

54,817

Figure 2

 

 

Certification
(all respondents)

Average
Salary

None

$ 43,510

CPA only

68,877

CPA+ any/all others

87,398

MBA (non-CPA)

75,045

MBA and CPA

82,326

CFM

80,462

CMA

82,258

CIA

79,709

Figure 3

 

 

Years of
Experience

Average
Salary

Entry Level

$ 37,383

1-3

39,346

4-9

53,679

10-15

75,045

16+

83,767

Figure 4

 

 Source: www.Smartpros.com