Accountants work in various industries, including manufacturing, retail trade, government agencies, etc. They may be employed by corporations or nonprofit organizations or work independently as consultants offering services to businesses and individuals.
Accountants prepare accounting records for businesses or individuals, analyze financial statements and tax returns, monitor budgets and forecasts, and advise clients on improving their finances or meeting regulatory requirements.
There are so many different specializations and qualification levels within accounting, let alone external factors like the state you live in. We’re here to provide you with some clarity and hopefully help you find out how much an accountant makes in the U.S.
What It Costs to Hire an In-House Accountant
An accountant is an integral part of any business. They help you identify your financial strengths and weaknesses, and they can help you develop strategies to improve your bottom line.
The cost of hiring an in-house accountant can vary widely based on several factors. For example, you’ll pay more for someone with particular expertise in a specific area, such as tax law or auditing. And it’s common for companies to pay bonuses to accountants who meet their goals or exceed expectations.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary for accountants is $77,250 per year. However, salaries vary widely depending on education, experience, and location. A certified public accountant (CPA) earns more than a non-CPA and will have additional responsibilities such as advising clients on financial matters.
This figure only reflects the average across all industries and companies — your salary will depend on where you live and which accounting firms are available in your area. You’ll also need to factor in several other expenses when considering whether to hire an in-house accountant.
For example, you’ll pay more for someone with particular expertise in a specific area, such as tax law or auditing. And it’s common for companies to pay bonuses to accountants who meet their goals or exceed expectations.
Finally, when it comes to how much accountants make, you’ll need to consider how much time they’ll spend working with your business. If they have to spend hours on the phone or in meetings with clients, those hours could eat into their billable hours and increase costs for your business.
Hiring an in-house accountant is a big decision, and it’s not the right fit for every business. It can be helpful to start by weighing the pros and cons of hiring a dedicated bookkeeper.
Pros of Hiring a Full-Time In-House Accountant
- Save time and money by outsourcing bookkeeping and accounting tasks to someone.
- Avoid paying high fees for outsourcing accounting duties.
- Reduce stress by having one person handle all financial matters for your business.
- Gain access to valuable information about your business that you may not be able to find on your own or through outside resources
Cons of Hiring a Full-Time In-House Accountant
- Hiring someone with the right experience and qualifications may also be challenging due to the high demand for qualified accountants.
- Hiring an employee is expensive, especially if you do not have the cash flow to cover their salary.
- Another downside of hiring a full-time accountant is the lack of flexibility.
- Some companies, especially startups, need someone who can occasionally work on short notice.
State by State Breakdown
Accountants is one of the most in-demand professions in the United States, with over 135,000 openings for accountants projected each year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the average salary for accountants will be $77,250 in 2022.
The table below breaks down how much it costs to hire an in-house accountant across the United States. The figures below are based on average hourly rates reported by ZipRecruiter.
Remember that these are averages, and your specific situation may vary. For example, an experienced professional with a high level of expertise may command a higher salary than someone with less experience or a more specialized skill set.
|State||Annual Salary||Hourly Wage|
According to ZipRecruiter, the state of Washington has the highest average annual salary at $60,451 per year, while Maryland comes in second with $59,427 per year, and Nebraska rounds out the top three with$58,213 per year.
Here is a quick breakdown of the top ten states in terms of average annual accounting salaries in the United States:
Washington – $60,451
Maryland – $59,427
Nebraska – $58,213
New York – $57,903
Virginia – $57,449
Colorado – $56,545
South Carolina – $56,388
New Hampshire – $56,000
Delaware – $55,623
California – $54,189
The bottom ten states are in terms of average annual salary for accountants:
Louisiana – $46,626
Kansas – $46,435
Iowa – $45,930
Alabama – $45,845
New Mexico – $37,409
Florida – $44,244
Arkansas – $43,663
Mississipi – $43,501
Illinois – $43,425
Is Hiring an In-House Accountant Right for You?
If you’re a small business owner, you’ve probably wondered at some point whether hiring an in-house accountant is the right move. After all, it’s not cheap to have someone on your payroll. But when it comes down to it, there are many advantages to having your in-house accountant. Here are some things to consider:
You’ll save money. If you hire a full-time accountant to handle your books, they will likely charge less than the fees charged by an outsourced firm. Plus, you won’t have to pay for extra travel time or expenses incurred when they need to collect information from multiple locations.
You’ll have more control over your business. You’ll be able to focus on running your business instead of worrying about how much money it makes or loses each month. Plus, if something goes wrong with your accounting system — such as being hacked — it can be easier to fix issues internally than if they were handled by another company or individual outside of your organization.
You’ll get more skill and experience. If you’re running a small business, the chances are that you have other responsibilities besides bookkeeping and taxes. If your accountant can handle these tasks and other administrative duties like payroll and benefits management, then hiring one makes sense. But if you need someone who’s skilled in business analysis and forecasting or has expertise in specific areas like tax planning or compliance requirements for particular industries (such as health care or construction), hiring someone with those qualifications might be worthwhile.
You’ll have someone who knows your business. An in-house accountant knows everything about your business — from how much money you make each month to which customers are profitable and which ones aren’t — because they work directly with you daily. They know what questions to ask when something goes wrong and can help resolve issues immediately.
Hiring an in-house accountant can be a smart move, but it’s not right for every business. One of the biggest obstacles to hiring an in-house accountant is finding the right person for your company. If you want to experience someone, you’ll pay more than if you hire a recent accounting graduate (though they may be cheaper). If you want someone who knows your industry well, it takes time to find them and train them on your operations and systems.
If you can’t afford this investment of time or money, then hiring an accounting firm or online accounting service makes sense — especially if your business is brand new or small. However, if your company has been around for several years and has grown significantly over those years (or expects to), then hiring an in-house accountant could be beneficial in the long run.
What It Costs to Contract With a Traditional Accounting Firm
The cost of hiring an accounting firm depends on various factors, including the size of your business and the type of accounting services you need.
Most small businesses hire an accountant to prepare their tax returns and help them keep track of their finances.
Accounting firms charge more for more complex tasks, such as business valuation, management advisory services, and forensic accounting investigations.
The cost of a professional audit depends on many factors:
- What type of audit do you need?
- How much work needs to be done by outside professionals
- How much work needs to be done by in-house staff
The pricing structure for traditional accounting firms can be pretty complicated. However, there are some basic principles that you should follow when determining the cost of working with a formal accounting firm.
The most critical factor in determining how much it costs to contract with a traditional accounting firm is how they charge their clients. There are two major fee structures that accountants use:
Time-based billing: With time-based billing, accountants charge clients by the hour or by the project. The more complex your business is, the higher your bill will be — which means that if your business is more straightforward, you’ll pay less than someone whose business requires more time and effort to keep track of.
Fixed fees: Fixed fees are based on the number of services provided rather than how long it takes to provide them. Fixed costs usually include an hourly rate plus additional charges for specific services like tax preparation or bookkeeping.
The following are some standard fees that accounting firms may charge:
Accounting fees: This covers professional services rendered by accountants and bookkeepers to keep your books and records up-to-date and accurate. These fees usually run between $75-$350 per hour, according to AccountingCoach.com. Some accountants are willing to work hourly, while others charge flat fees for specific tasks such as filing taxes or preparing financial statements.
Is a Traditional Accounting Firm Right for You?
Accounting firms can be expensive, but they are worth the cost. You’ll need to determine how much you’re willing to spend on accounting services before you start looking for a firm. The following factors will help you determine your budget:
How much money are you making now? If you’re starting and don’t have much revenue, working with an inexpensive firm might make sense. But once your business starts making money, you might want to invest in a more experienced accountant who can help guide you through the rest of your journey.
How complicated is your business? Small businesses with simple needs will pay less than those with complex conditions such as international operations or multiple locations across several states. If your business requires specialized expertise, expect to pay more for certain services (like payroll or tax preparation).
What kind of support do you need? Accounting firms offer different service levels depending on how much time they spend working on your books each month (or quarter). An hourly fee means that they’ll charge by the hour for every task they perform (e.g., reviewing invoices)
Accounting firms are highly trained professionals whose valuable skills, but they may not be the right fit for every business owner. Here are some things to consider when deciding whether a traditional accounting firm is right for your business:
Pros of Working With A Traditional Accounting Firm
What makes these firms different from other accounting firms? Here are some things you should know before deciding whether you need a traditional accounting firm:
They offer a full range of services. Traditional accounting firms can help you with bookkeeping, tax planning, business valuation, and estate planning. If you want someone who will be there for your future needs, this is the kind of firm that will help you get there. They’re experts in their field. They have years of experience working with small businesses like yours, so they know what issues may arise and how best to deal with them.
They have a network of resources at their disposal. The bigger the firm, the more available resources, including other accountants who specialize in different areas (such as tax planning or employee benefits). This means that when you need help with something, someone else within the firm is already dealing with it.
Cons of Working With A Traditional Accounting Firm
Here are some things to consider before deciding whether or not a traditional accounting firm is right for your business:
Accounting firm services are expensive. A full-service accounting firm will charge anywhere from $150 to $300 per hour for most services, and that doesn’t include the cost of their software subscriptions and licenses. Those costs can skyrocket if your company has proliferated or needs specialized tax planning and preparation.
Accounting firms can be slow to respond to requests from clients. Accounting firms are typically staffed with several employees who take care of dozens or even hundreds of clients. When you call with questions, you may find yourself waiting on hold for long periods or dealing with an inexperienced staff member who doesn’t know how to answer your questions correctly.
Accounting firms aren’t always prepared to handle emergencies. If there’s a problem with your taxes or finances that needs immediate attention, it’s unlikely that someone at an accounting firm will be able to help you right away —
In addition, A small firm can offer more personalized service than a large one, but it might not have the resources to handle larger projects or deal with complicated tax issues. A large firm might be able to handle complex accounting issues quickly and efficiently, but it may lack the personal touch that a small firm can provide.
What It Costs to Work With an Online Accounting Service Provider
Online accounting services are increasingly becoming more affordable and accessible to small businesses, which is excellent news for business owners looking for a better way to manage their finances.
When you work with an online accounting service, you keep your costs down because there’s no need to pay benefits or payroll taxes, and they’re able to handle your books remotely, so there’s no overhead associated with their office space.
Online accountants can handle everything from general bookkeeping to tax preparation and everything in between.
The best online accountants, like Finance Hire also offer a free initial consultation where they’ll talk through your needs as a business and help you decide which service is perfect for you. That’s something that traditional in-house hiring processes just can’t do.
Is an Online Accounting Service Right for You?
One of the most significant advantages of working with an online accounting service provider is that they can often offer more affordable services than traditional accountants. There are fewer overhead costs and administrative fees when you work with a company that has no office space or other physical assets.
There are still some fees associated with using an online accounting service provider. For example, some companies charge a monthly fee for their services, while others charge based on the type or size of your business. Additionally, some providers may charge additional fees for certain services such as bookkeeping or payroll management.
Here are some things to consider when deciding if an online accounting service is suitable for you:
- You don’t have time or expertise to manage your bookkeeping.
- You don’t have the resources to do it yourself.
- You want someone else to do it all for you and the convenience of having everything done automatically.
- You want someone who can help answer questions and advise how to run your business better.
There are several advantages to using an online accounting service:
Online Accounting Services are convenient. Online accounting services are convenient because they don’t require additional hardware or software beyond standard internet access. You can access your accounts anywhere with an internet connection and a web browser.
Online Accounting Services Offer 24/7 Access. One of the most significant advantages of using an online accounting service is that it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can access your financial data at any time and from anywhere. You no longer have to wait until the end of the day or week to see how your business did during that period.
Online Accounting Services Are Affordable. Another advantage of using an online accounting service is that they are usually much less expensive than traditional accounting firms. This is because there are no storefronts or office space to maintain, which reduces overhead costs considerably. Most online accounting services charge by the hour or by the project rather than charging for every transaction processed by your business, which means you don’t have to worry about paying for transactions that don’t affect your bottom line.
If you are a small business owner with limited accounting knowledge, an online accounting service may be the answer for you. The best online accounting services offer a wide range of features to help you manage and grow your business.