Suppose you are one of the 1.44 million people in the United States employed in the accounting industry, one of the nearly 120,000 finance professionals currently employed in the United States, or simply someone looking to enter either of these growing industries. In that case, you may desire further information on top jobs in the financial sector, the fastest-growing finance jobs, or the best jobs in accounting. Read on to discover careers in these sectors, projected growth specific to each position, and more about the growth of these industries.
List of the top jobs in finance and accounting
Controllers prepare financial statements and reports to summarize and forecast a company’s financial position. Controllers may also assist in developing internal policies and procedures for a company’s budget administration, cash and credit management, and accounting functions. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 17%.
Financial managers are responsible for evaluating the financial health of an organization. They do so by generating financial reports and developing strategies to meet the financial goals of a company, specifically long-term goals. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 17%.
Management consultants (alternatively called management analysts) recommend improvements for operational efficiencies to help organizations achieve greater profitability through reducing costs and increasing revenues. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 14%.
Personal Financial Advisor
Personal financial advisors help customers understand the circumstances surrounding their finances and make recommendations for individual investment decisions. They also monitor the state of their client’s investments and can advise on insurance, mortgages, savings, estate planning, retirement, and taxes. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 5%.
Senior Tax Accountant
Tax accountants work to prepare federal, state, and local tax returns for a variety of customers, including individuals, businesses, or other organizations. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 10%.
Financial analysts examine a company’s past financial and investment data and estimate future revenues and expenses. This allows them to recommend businesses seeking to make investment divisions and forecast the future. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 6%.
Accounting managers oversee an organization’s accounting department. They analyze and report financial information, assist with taxes, and create financial statements presented to a company’s board of directors. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 7%.
Budget analysts organize company finances, prepare budget reports, and keep track of company spending. Part of their job is regularly reviewing company financial plans to ensure they are complete, accurate, and conforming to regulations and organizational goals.
Credit analysts review and gather information from reporting services, credit bureaus, bank branches, and other sources to evaluate the profitability of loan requests. From this information, credit analysts approve or deny loan applications. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 6%.
Accountants prepare, maintain, and examine the accuracy of various financial statements. They aim to ensure income and loss statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements, and tax returns comply with federal laws and regulations and generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Accountants are responsible for identifying and solving any discrepancies found in documents or transactions. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 7%.
Auditors and audit managers work to comply with governmental regulations and identify business risks. To best perform these activities, they evaluate internal controls, identify improvements to be made, and may be involved in the coordination of internal improvement efforts. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 7%.
Treasury analysts monitor a company’s financial activity, including cash flow, assets, and liabilities. They analyze expenses, budgets, and future company investments to determine if payments coming into and leaving the company are correctly processed. The ten-year projected growth for this position is 5%.
Is accounting a growing field?
After analyzing some top jobs in the accounting field, you may be curious about the health of the accounting market and wonder if it is a growing industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2029, the industry should see a 4% growth overall. The median annual wage for accountants and auditors is $73,560, with the top range coming in at over $135,000 annually.
In 2018, around 208,000 students were enrolled in undergraduate accounting programs in the United States, and the estimated revenue from accounting services in the United States reached $133.4 billion in 2021, up from $127.8 billion in 2020. There are over 1.51 million bookkeepers/accounting and auditing clerks and over 1.32 million accountants and auditors in the United States alone, further displaying the immense size of the industry.
What can you expect when working in the accounting industry?
Accountants tend to rank highly in the job satisfaction category. Most accountants rate their stress level as “average” and job flexibility as “above average.” Upward mobility for career advancement and salary rank as “high” in the accounting industry.
Earning a degree in accounting is the initial stage of entering a field where employees can expect salary raises and job promotions throughout their career, experience lower stress compared to other industries, and enjoy a quality work-life balance.
If you are considering a career in accounting, but wondering if it is the right industry for you, consider the following questions.
- Does working hard keep you fulfilled?
- Do you enjoy working with finances?
- Are you number-oriented?
If your response was a resounding yes, getting an accounting degree might make sense for you. To better understand the industry in the effort to make a well-informed decision, investing time to gather advice from those who work in accounting is a good starting point to understanding the industry better in the effort to make a well-informed decision.
The list of possible jobs in the accounting field is vast. Some of the more common jobs those with an accounting degree pursue include:
- Tax consultant
- Accounting director
- Accounting manager
- Certified public accountant (CPA)
- Senior financial analyst
- Certified financial planner
Work-life balance in accounting
The pandemic drastically increased the prospect of working remotely, and employees in various industries found this option greatly improved their work-life balance. But what are the best jobs in accounting for work-life balance?
Accounting jobs that can be performed remotely, and are high-paying, are not hard to come by. Some of these possibilities include:
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
The CFO of a company manages all finances and takes charge of creating an action plan that addresses any deficits. CFOs are also responsible for checking to ensure companies meet their tax obligations.
Vice President of Finance
The VP of finance’s responsibilities are similar to those of a CFO. However, VPs often focus more on assessing whether the company’s financials are managed correctly and ensuring a company’s long-term financial goals coincide with the financial strategies set by the CFO.
International Tax Manager
Tax managers form and enact taxation strategies for clients. They assist in ensuring clients do not overpay on taxes and that tax strategies used by the client are legal concerning the country of operation.
Director of Finance
A financial director reports to either the CFO or VP of finance. Their responsibilities do not include coming up with overall financial strategies for the company but rather focusing on analyzing the company cash flow and budgets to help the CFO strategize. The focus of this position is to analyze company performance and minimize financial risk.
Is finance a growing field?
The finance sector is dynamic and one of the most forward-thinking industries globally. The global financial services industry will grow at a 6% CAGR by 2027. In the United States alone, nearly 30 financial services companies from Fortune’s Global 500 listing have located their headquarters to participate in the thriving industry.
What can you expect when working in the finance industry?
By working in the finance industry, you can expect to hone the necessary skills to operate at any level of a financial career.
- Communication: Finance heavily focuses on analyzing numbers and extracting meaningful information from those not trained in the industry may not have the training for. Financial professionals should be able to communicate their inferences to executives and those outside the industry quickly.
- Analysis: The foundation of a career in finance is the ability to analyze provided information and conclude accurately on your findings carefully. You can certainly expect to think analytically and process information in the industry.
- Decision-making: Your organization’s leaders expect those working in finance to give input and make recommendations on operational changes and other investment ideas. This process involves developing a course of action and presenting it to the company's leaders.
- Problem-solving: Some may view the finance industry as solely crunching numbers. However, it actually heavily coordinates with business strategy and requires proficiency in making actionable decisions on how to best address organizational problems. Having the ability to identify problems, find evidence that the problems exist, analyze possible solutions, and decide how to best approach the situation is critical in the finance industry.
There are many reasons why working in the finance industry is beneficial. Four of these reasons include:
- Pay packages: Those working in the financial industry may be paid by salary and expect other forms of payment such as bonuses, commissions, and draws - ensuring employees receive regular paychecks regardless of individual sales performance.
- Promotions: Companies in the financial industry often promote employees based on performance, meaning new employees in the industry may be able to advance their careers by performing well quickly.
- Entry-level positions: Companies will often offer aspiring finance professionals different avenues to begin their careers. You can see this through the frequency of internships transitioning into permanent roles and using one’s professional network to learn how to enter a company of interest.
- Opportunities for a variety of skills: Whether you are strong in technology skills, analytical skills, communication, or customer relationship management, there is likely a good fit for you within the vast career opportunities the finance industry holds.
Finance work-life balance
Improved work-life balance is not specific to the accounting industry alone. The finance sector also saw increased work-life balance associated with remote work. Some of these possibilities include:
- Independent Financial Planner: Independent Financial Planners use their industry knowledge to assist others looking to open a new business or make improvements to an existing one. This career does not require working for a company directly, making it easy to facilitate from home.
- Outsourced Financial Careers: It has become increasingly common for companies to outsource jobs in the financial sector. Financial analysts, tax researchers, and others can easily work from home. To secure one of these positions, there are several options available. Recruiting companies specialize in outsourced labor, and information on remote positions is readily available.
- Day Trader: Day trading may be a good option if you enjoy involvement in the stock market. This position involves making numerous trades each day and capturing opportunities as they come. Some traders can post returns of 300% or more annually.
- Financial Writer: If you have a degree in finance and a passion for writing, becoming a financial writer may be a good career choice. This position involves synthesizing the latest financial sector information into an easily understood language. This position is easily facilitated from home.
Choosing a career in finance and accounting is a beneficial option when considering the variety of career paths available, stability, the possibility of work-life balance, and compensation. As outlined above, there are positions involving different responsibilities in these industries. Both fields are rapidly growing, with no signs of stopping.
Written by Lauren Kemp
Lauren Kemp, Communications and Marketing Specialist at J2T, earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Management with a minor in Latin American studies and a Master of Science in Innovation and Management from Montana State University. Lauren hails from Montana and enjoys reading about the history of her home state. Her bucket-list items include touring the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and taking an immersion trip to Chile to experience Latin American culture first-hand.
J2T is a recruiting and staffing firm that solely focuses on accounting and finance roles. J2T Flex facilitates all operational accounting needs including all contract or contract-to-hire needs. On the direct hire side, J2T Recruiting specializes in Sr. Accountants/Analysts through CFO and touches everything in the corporate accounting and finance organizational chart. J2T is a women-owned business exclusively serving the Colorado and Montana markets with the overarching goal to serve you in all areas of the hiring experience.