Best Jobs for CPAs

Updated on March 31, 2024

Embarking on a career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) opens up a myriad of rewarding pathways. With the evolution of the accounting field, CPAs are no longer confined to traditional roles but have a wide array of opportunities in various sectors. This blog delves into the top ten career options for CPAs, detailing job titles, average salaries, responsibilities, and the requisite education for each.

Public Accountant

Public accountants provide a comprehensive range of services including auditing, tax, and consulting for diverse clients. This role can lead from entry-level positions to senior partnership roles in firms.

  • Average Salary: Varies widely depending on position and firm size.
  • Job Description: Offering accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services to a variety of clients.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting audits, preparing taxes, providing financial advice, and consulting services.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field; CPA certification.

Financial Analyst

Financial analysts play a crucial role in businesses by analyzing financial data and helping to guide investment decisions.

  • Average Salary: $74,000
  • Job Description: Evaluating financial data and investment opportunities to provide recommendations for businesses and individuals.
  • Responsibilities: Analyzing financial statements, market trends, and investment opportunities; preparing reports.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, or related field; CPA or CFA certification can be advantageous.

Accounting Software Developer

In the intersection of accounting and technology, these professionals develop software solutions tailored for accounting processes.

  • Average Salary: $89,000
  • Job Description: Designing and developing software systems for accounting purposes.
  • Responsibilities: Working with developers, understanding accounting needs, designing user interfaces, and testing software.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field; knowledge of accounting principles is essential.

Risk and Compliance Professional

These experts ensure that organizations adhere to laws, regulations, and internal policies, managing risks effectively.

  • Average Salary: $99,000
  • Job Description: Developing and implementing compliance programs, and conducting risk assessments.
  • Responsibilities: Monitoring compliance with laws and regulations, advising on risk management, and developing policies.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, law, finance, or related field; CPA certification beneficial.

Personal Financial Advisor

Personal financial advisors provide individualized financial guidance, including investment, tax, and retirement planning.

  • Average Salary: Varies, potentially $100,000 or more based on client assets.
  • Job Description: Assisting individuals in managing their finances and planning for the future.
  • Responsibilities: Investment advice, tax planning, estate planning, and retirement planning.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, or related field; CPA or CFP certification is often required.

Finance Director

Finance directors oversee the financial operations of an organization, providing strategic financial guidance.

  • Average Salary: Variable, often in the six-figure range.
  • Job Description: Leading financial planning, budgeting, and reporting; strategic financial decision-making.
  • Responsibilities: Overseeing financial operations, developing financial strategies, and managing financial reporting.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance; CPA or MBA preferred.

Forensic Accountant

Forensic accountants investigate financial discrepancies and fraud, often working with law enforcement or legal entities.

  • Average Salary: Varies with experience and employer.
  • Job Description: Investigating financial fraud, conducting audits, and providing litigation support.
  • Responsibilities: Analyzing financial documents, identifying fraudulent activities, and testifying in court.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field; CPA certification; specialized training in forensic accounting is beneficial.

Environmental Accountant

Environmental accountants focus on the costs associated with environmental strategies for businesses, aiding in sustainable practices.

  • Average Salary: $67,000
  • Job Description: Analyzing environmental costs and investments, and reporting on financial impact and compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting cost-benefit analysis for environmental projects, reporting on sustainability efforts.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or environmental science; understanding of environmental laws and regulations.

Spectator Sports Accountant

Accountants in the sports industry manage finances for sports teams and related organizations, from payroll to revenue management.

  • Average Salary: $70,130
  • Job Description: Managing financial operations within the sports industry, including payroll, revenue, and financial reporting.
  • Responsibilities: Overseeing financial transactions, budgeting, and financial planning for sports teams.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field; experience in sports management beneficial.

Internal Auditor

Internal auditors assess the effectiveness of an organization’s internal controls, governance, and risk management processes.

  • Average Salary: Dependent on experience and sector.
  • Job Description: Evaluating and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes.
  • Responsibilities: Conducting audits, identifying areas of risk, recommending improvements, and ensuring compliance with regulations and standards.
  • Required Education: Bachelor’s degree in accounting or related field; CPA or CIA (Certified Internal Auditor) certification often required.

Final Thoughts

The landscape for CPAs is broad and varied, offering a wide range of career opportunities that cater to different interests, skills, and goals. Whether you are drawn to the traditional roles within public accounting or are intrigued by the prospects of specialized areas like forensic accounting or environmental accounting, the field of accounting offers substantial career potential. With the right education and certifications, CPAs can find themselves in high-demand, well-compensated positions that offer not just financial rewards but also the opportunity to make a significant impact in their chosen fields.


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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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