What Is a Staff Accountant? And How to Become One
A staff accountant is an entry-level accounting professional who performs routine financial tasks and assists senior accountants and managers with various accounting tasks.
These tasks may include preparing financial statements, maintaining accounting records, reconciling accounts, and assisting with audits.
Job responsibilities of staff accountant
- Maintaining financial records and preparing reports.
- Reconciling bank statements and accounts.
- Assisting with budget preparation and forecasting.
- Performing data entry and accounting transactions.
- Assisting with audits and tax preparation.
- Identifying and resolving accounting issues and discrepancies.
- Participating in the monthly close process.
- Assisting with financial analysis and management reporting.
- Ensuring compliance with accounting standards and regulations.
- Providing support to senior accountants and management.
Where do staff Accountants work?
Staff accountants typically work in a variety of settings, including:
- Public accounting firms
- Corporate finance departments
- Non-profit organisations
- Government agencies
- Financial institutions
- Healthcare organisations
- Education institutions
- Legal firms
- Consulting firms
- Small to medium-sized businesses.
Tools and software used by staff accountants
- Accounting software (e.g. QuickBooks, Xero, MYOB)
- Spreadsheet software (e.g. Microsoft Excel)
- Financial management software (e.g. SAP, Oracle)
- Tax preparation software (e.g. TurboTax, H&R Block)
- Audit software (e.g. Audit command language)
- Data visualisation tools (e.g. Tableau, Power BI)
- Electronic payment systems (e.g. PayPal, Square)
- Time tracking and invoicing software (e.g. Toggl, FreshBooks)
- Cloud-based systems (e.g. Google Drive, OneDrive)
- Project management software (e.g. Asana, Trello).
How to become a staff accountant
- Obtain a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related field.
- Gain practical experience through internships or part-time jobs.
- Consider obtaining professional certifications, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation.
- Familiarise yourself with relevant accounting software and tools.
- Network with professionals in the accounting field.
- Develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
- Build strong communication and interpersonal skills.
- Stay up-to-date with changes in accounting regulations and standards.
- Consider obtaining a master's degree in accounting or a related field.
- Look for entry-level positions in accounting and finance.
Career and job scope of a staff accountant with job profiles and salaries
Career and Job Scope
A staff accountant can advance to higher-level positions within their organisation or move on to roles in other areas of finance and accounting, such as auditing, taxation, financial analysis, or management accounting. Some potential job profiles for a staff accountant include:
- Senior Accountant
- Audit Associate
- Financial analyst
- Tax specialist
- Budget analyst
- Chief financial officer (CFO)
The salary for a staff accountant can vary depending on location, industry, and level of education and experience. On average, the annual salary ranges from $45,000 to $65,000. With additional certifications, a staff accountant can expect their salary to increase. A senior accountant can expect an average salary of $70,000 to $85,000, while a financial analyst can earn an average salary of $75,000 to $110,000.
- Financial Accounting: focuses on preparing and presenting financial statements for external stakeholders such as investors, lenders, and tax authorities.
- Management Accounting: focuses on providing information to internal stakeholders, such as management and employees, to help them make informed decisions.
- Tax Accounting: focuses on tax compliance, planning, and preparation.
- Auditing: focuses on evaluating and attesting to the accuracy and reliability of financial statements.
- Forensic Accounting: focuses on investigating and detecting financial fraud and misrepresentation.
- Environmental Accounting: focuses on measuring and reporting the impact of a company's activities on the environment.
- Government Accounting: focuses on accounting for government entities and public sector organisations.
- International Accounting: focuses on accounting and financial reporting for businesses operating across international borders.
- Not-for-Profit Accounting: focuses on accounting and financial reporting for non-profit organisations.
- Cost Accounting: focuses on determining the cost of goods and services produced by a company.