Accounting is a broad field and one in which the right person can have genuine success. When trying to determine which field of accounting is the best fit, potential salary is one of the biggest considerations most students of accounting will have. Tax accounting can be a lucrative career path for many accountants and promises a steady and solid salary.
What Does a Tax Accountant Do?
Tax accountants work with audits, file company taxes, work with tax returns, and perform myriad duties related to keeping accurate records of tax information. Most tax accountants are certified.
How To Become a Tax Accountant
In order to become a tax accountant, you’ll have to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, business administration, or a related field. Some employers, however, will require a Master’s degree. In addition to educational requirements, experience is almost always needed to get a job and can typically be gained through college internships.
In many cases, you’ll also need to obtain your CPA certification. CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and all accountants that file a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission are legally required to be a Certified Public Accountant. The CPA is granted by the state in which you intend to practic and there is generally a 150-hour education requirement in effect. The most common method of meeting this 150-hour requirement is by enrolling in a post-graduate accounting or business administration degree program. You do not need to finish a master’s degree in order to qualify to sit for the CPA certification exam but you must have obtained 150 semester hours of accounting education, which is about 30 semester hours beyond a typical bachelor’s degree. Some colleges offer a special 5-year program to help students meet the 150-hour requirement.
As of 2013, 40 of the 50 states have the 150-hour rule in effect. For more information on the CPA, visit the official American Institute of CPAs website here.
Other Certifications include:
Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors.
Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), offered by the ISACA.
Certified Management Accountant, offered by the Institute of Management Accountants.
Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV), Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) certifications, offered through the American Institute of CPAs to accountants with a CPA.
Becoming a CPA or getting a professional certification is a great way to set yourself apart in the job market because it shows prospective employers that you have knowledge and experience in a specialized field of accounting. Certifications can also help attract clients for accountants who choose to become self-employed.
How much do Tax Accountants Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, tax accountants earn a median salary of $61,690 a year. The top 10% earn more than $106,880 while the bottom 10% earn less than $38,940.
Most tax accountants work full-time and 1 in 5 work more than 40 hours per week. Additionally, tax accountants are generally expected to work longer hours during tax season.
The most common industries to be employed in as a tax accountant include: the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry; the finance and insurance industry; state and local government; and manufacturing. Job prospects are expected to grow at a rate of 16% per year, which is about average.