What Is a Staff Accountant | Why Becoming an Accountant Is Smart

staff accountantWhether you are re-evaluating your career possibilities or still a student trying to find your way through the maze of educational opportunities, the field of accounting is one you should consider. If you are good at logic, numbers, and critical thinking, look into the world of accounting. You’ll discover a wide-open range of exciting jobs. Depending on your education, a starting job as an accountant or staff accountant can lead to a satisfying career. A career with many possibilities in any number of fields. At the Clay Burnett Group, our executive recruiters specialize in finding accounting and finance professionals to meet our clients’ needs. This includes on a contract and direct hire basis.


What is the job of a staff accountant?

Generally, a staff accountant is a lower-level employee who may be responsible for a variety of assignments. Such as reconciliations of bank statements and general ledger accounts, posting accruals, reviewing general ledger accounts, and making journal entries.

Staff accountants work in a company’s accounting & finance department. They often report to a Senior Accountant, Accounting Manager, Controller, or Chief Financial Officer. Staff accountants are necessary cogs in the wheel.


what does a staff accountant do


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What is a staff accountant vs accountant?

 entry-level staff accountantA staff accountant position is usually considered a slightly above entry-level employee. While an accountant position is often more experienced than your typical staff accountants. What’s tricky is that accountant titles can signify someone is everything from a junior accountant to a senior accountant. And if the accountant is very humble and prefers modesty versus being braggadocious, an accountant can be someone in management. This type of professional likes to be known as what they are at their core.

Accountants often are assigned tasks on maintaining balance sheets, tracking expenses and budgets. Whereas staff accountants have usually fewer credentials and are given fewer responsibilities. In a large accounting department, different titles such as “junior”, “staff”, or “senior” accountants are used to demonstrate the differences in responsibility and authority.


accountant vs staff accountant

Do staff accountants need CPA?

The designation of “CPA” stands for Certified Public Accountant. Although a position for a staff accountant does not generally require a CPA credential (these positions really never do), it will be the hope often that a staff accountant intends to study and take the CPA exam.

Becoming a CPA candidate will be delightful news to most employers. In fact, it will be harder to advance a career in accounting as fast as those who find a way to becoming a CPA. If given the option between someone who is on the path to being a CPA vs. a staff accountant with no intentions of attempting to become a CPA, the go-getter will often stand out.


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Is a staff accountant a good job?

Yes! Accounting is a rewarding career for those who enjoy numbers, logic, and details. It can lead to a wide variety of jobs in accounting, financial management, and beyond. The need for competent professionals who understand how to crunch the numbers is found in every field. Everyone has to start someone in their profession. Why not try being a staff accountant if it’s within your skill set and interests?


What is a staff accountant salary?

staff accountant salarySalaries vary considerably according to actual job title and experience level. Geographic location also factors into the salary structure. In general, a staff accountant in the United States starting out without any hard-earned credentials like a master’s degree or CPA can expect to earn somewhere in the $45,000 – $65,000 a year salary range.


What skills do staff accountants need?

Anyone applying for a staff accounting position should ideally have a good college background in accounting and/or finance. They should be able to be confident in their ability to leverage computers skills to learn and use basic accounting software such as Microsoft Excel or QuickBooks. Excellent attention to detail and good communication skills are helpful. Especially the latter in an interview process.




What are the 4 types of accounting?

The four general kinds of accounting are corporate, public, government, and forensic. The field of accounting is very wide-ranging and can be highly specialized such as tax preparation, project management, investments, auditing, and financial advising.


what is a staff accountant


What is the highest position in accounting?

publicly traded companiesThe highest position varies with the organization. In a public accounting firm, being named Partner is the highest level. That said there may be a number of Partners, with one individual often designated as the Managing Partner. In large publicly traded companies, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), is the accounting and finance top dog. In other companies, the title of Controller indicates the highest-ranked accountant on staff.

Headhunters across the United States recruit and help search for all these positions.


What are the three types of accountants?

The three types of accountants (depending on who you ask) in some circles are referred to as Cost Accountants, Managerial Accountants, and Financial Accountants.


Is a CPA better than an accountant?

A CPA and an accountant are not mutually exclusive. They are terms that can be synonymous with each other. An accountant who has passed the standard exam to achieve the status of CPA or Certified Public Accountant is considered more skilled and knowledgeable and can command a higher salary.


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Can you still be an accountant without a CPA?

Yes, you can be an accountant and many individuals work as accountants without having the CPA designation after their name. However, these positions and the hiring managers involved may prefer candidates/employees who have their CPA license. That’s if they had their druthers. If you aspire to a higher-paying position with more responsibility, a CPA credential is worth pursuing.


Can you call yourself an accountant without a CPA?

Yes absolutely, but you will most likely earn a higher salary as a CPA. You will also often find many more career advantages in being a Certified Public Accountant if you choose to pursue a career in accounting.

All that said, there’s a huge number of accountants who do not have a CPA. For many, pursuing a CPA license is not worth the required time investment to achieve licensure. It may simply be too challenging.


whats a staff accountant


Are accountants happy?

staff accountantIn any job, some folks are pleased with their career choice. Others may not enjoy the work. Accounting offers a wide range of opportunities for job seekers and career paths in every kind of field. If your skills include excellent mathematics and logic, finance can be a good career path for you.

If you don’t enjoy working with numbers, you may want to find another profession so you don’t become an unhappy accountant. And if you’re unsure, try becoming a Staff Accountant to see if this is a career you could see yourself doing long-term.


Is accountant a stressful job?

It certainly can be stressful. Tax Accountants, for example, typically experience stress in April when federal tax returns are due or on a biannual or quarterly basis even. Other stresses can occur when accountants work on deadlines to create financial reports. The level of responsibility can be high because the reports and interpretation of a company’s financial situation are what guide many management decisions.

It’s worth keeping in mind almost all professions will be stressful to a certain percentage of the workforce within any particular field. What’s important is to find a job where stress levels can be manageable. If skills needed to be in accounting match up to things you enjoy and/or are good at, stress can be avoided if you’re in the right environment.


How do I become a good staff accountant?

Becoming a “good staff accountant” is much like gaining proficiency in any job which is being aware of what your employer really wants. Make a list of the top priorities in your job and make sure that your perceptions meet those of your boss. Review the job description for your position, and try to work hard to successfully perform each responsibility in a timely manner.

You might love to concentrate your efforts on one element of your job description, but your boss may have a different goal in mind. If you’re not on the same page, you are not likely to succeed.




What is a tax accountant salary?

Salaries always vary considerably by geographic area and responsibility. Many executive search firms will hear Partners and Tax Directors that they are hiring for tax accounting positions with salaries ranging from $45,000 at the low end to $110,000 at the high end. Once a tax accountant is in the six figures, they are very likely near becoming a tax manager.


salaries for staff accountants


Do staff accountants get bonuses?

It’s possible that a staff accountant will receive a year-end bonus but it might not be anything all that significant. As you climb the compensation ladder in some accounting firms and companies, you may be eligible for a sizable bonus, particularly in an established public accounting firm and reputable company. This is one of the questions an executive recruiter can answer during the job application process.


Are accountants paid hourly or salary?

hourly staff accountantAccountants are generally salaried personnel unless they are working as a temp or temp-to-hire employee. The salary of a temp accountant can be higher than a salaried employee due to the lack of benefits, job security, and work consistency that accompany a fully salaried employee position.

Helpful trick. If you want to know how much you would be making annually as an hourly worker if you were working standard full-time hours (40 hours a week), here’s what you do. Multiply your hourly rate by 2,080. For example, if you’re making $35/hr, you would be making $72,800/yr ($35 x 2,080) as a salaried worker if you did not work any overtime.


How many years does it take to be an accountant?

Most accountants have received a 4-year undergraduate degree, majoring in accounting or finance. If you have not completed sufficient credits in these subjects, it can take longer.

Achieving CPA (Certified Public Accountant) status takes additional time and professional experience before you can take the standard CPA exam. Contact a professional staffing group for insight.


junior accountant vs staff accountant


Are accountants rich?

As in all professions, some accountants are wealthy and your potential monetary rewards vary considerably with your skills and career path. Since there is a need for financial management in every company, the opportunities vary with the circumstances. You can certainly become “rich” if you dedicate yourself to the accountancy profession.

What are the levels of accountants?

staff accountantThere are many levels of accountants and employers organize their accounting staff titles to match their needs. Entry-level staff accountants often provide bookkeeping functions. Most accountants, in the beginning, will be building upon time spent focused on Accounts Payable and Receivable, Budgeting, Tax, and/or Auditing. At the top, CPAs and/or MBAs often serve as Chief Financial Officers.


Can you be an accountant without a degree?

Yes, it’s possible to land a job without a degree if your skills are good. Realistically the path to advancement lies in the process of becoming more credentialed. For example, most accountants will have a four-year degree and will contemplate pursuing a CPA license.


staff accountant education requirements


Is a CPA an accountant?

Yes, a CPA is an accountant who has not only the educational background required but who also has complied the necessary professional experience in order to apply to take the CPA exam which is a national standard.


Is getting CPA hard?

It takes time and not many would describe it as easy. There are a number of steps necessary in order to become a CPA. First, you will need a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 24-semester units in accounting and the same number in business courses.

If your undergraduate degree is not in business or accounting, you will need to take additional courses. You’ll need to pass both a CPA and an ethics exam, AND you’ll need to complete an hours requirement. This is why most staff accountants work while preparing for their exams. Ask your local headhunter how accountants are going about getting their CPA.


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Does a controller need a CPA?

No, but it’s often very attractive and a competitive advantage to have a CPA license if you’re applying for a controller position. Here’s a good video about how to become a Controller:

If you’re in need to find a Controller, here’s a list of some of the Executive Search Firms Los Angeles.


Can a bookkeeper call themselves an accountant?

Yes. The essential difference between being a bookkeeper and an accountant is the level of responsibility in each role. Although the jobs can overlap, particularly in a small company.

Bookkeepers are responsible for entering the details of financial transactions into a company’s accounting software. Accountants have the job of interpreting this financial data, classifying, analyzing what the numbers mean, and creating reports to help guide management’s decisions.


is staff accountant entry level

What do accountants do all day?

The most basic accounting function involves entering financial data into accounting software. This can then help accountants analyze the information in order to create reports. These reports can be used to make decisions about how a company manages its assets. The ability to analyze financial data is what makes accounting a highly interesting job.


Why are accountants so miserable?

Why are accountants so miserable?The field of accounting is so varied and challenging that it’s doubtful that accountants are miserable! The field requires that you enjoy and have an ability to work with numbers. The range of job descriptions allows for considerably rewarding career possibilities.

As with all professions though, there can be ups/downs and even misery. If an accountant tries to look on the bright side of things, you’re gold. Focus on having a glass-half-full mentality, and a career in accounting will be enjoyable. In fact, many find it to be extremely fulfilling. Need assistance? Read this article about job placement services.


Is being an accountant boring?

Not at all! The field of accounting is so varied that the work can be extremely enjoyable. It’s true that entry-level positions can be repetitive (and involve data entry responsibilities). That said, the opportunities for growth, change, and challenges are incredible as you progress in the accounting field.


How hard is being an accountant?

It is certainly challenging to be an accountant. The need to be precise and willing to accept responsibility for your work product is essential. This is because it is a field that requires a serious commitment to excellence. Accountants are trusted members of every successful leadership team. With trust can come pressure to perform. With proper training and a good work ethic, a successful career in accounting will become your destiny :).


are accountants rich


Can an accountant become a millionaire?

Yes! Without question. There are many opportunities in accounting that can lead to financial rewards. Although, as with any field, saving and being smart with your earnings will be critical to becoming a millionaire.

Looking for tips on how to become a millionaire? A multi-millionaire? Research low-cost total stock market index funds and dollar-cost averaging.


Should you become a staff accountant?

Accounting can be a happy career choice. It’s for anyone with the accounting skills and interest to pursue the necessary steps to success. If you become a staff accountant, it’s worth making plans to achieve the highly valued CPA status. This will put you well on your way to a well-paying and satisfying career.

At the Clay Burnett Group, our executive recruiters specialize in finding the best accounting and finance professionals for our clients. Contact us today if you’re in need of a qualified staff accountant.