Is an Associates Degree in Accounting Worth It? [2020 Guide]


Accounting is a field that offers numerous opportunities for growth and financial stability. If you are considering a career as an accounting associate, you might be wondering about the earning potential in this profession. In this article, we will explore the average salary range for accounting associates and factors that can influence their earnings.

1. Education and Experience

Education and experience play a significant role in determining the salary of an accounting associate. Generally, individuals with a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance tend to earn higher salaries compared to those without a degree. Additionally, the number of years of experience in the field can also impact earning potential. As an accounting associate gains more experience and expertise, their value in the job market increases, leading to higher salaries.

2. Industry and Company Size

The industry in which an accounting associate works can also influence their salary. Certain industries, such as finance and insurance, tend to offer higher salaries compared to others. Moreover, the size of the company can also impact earnings. Larger organizations often have more financial resources, allowing them to offer higher salaries to their accounting associates.

3. Geographic Location

The geographic location of the job can significantly affect an accounting associate’s salary. Areas with a high cost of living, such as major cities, generally offer higher salaries to compensate for the higher living expenses. On the other hand, rural areas or regions with a lower cost of living may offer lower salaries. It is essential to consider the cost of living and salary expectations when evaluating job opportunities in different locations.

4. Certifications and Specializations

Obtaining additional certifications, such as becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA), can significantly increase an accounting associate’s earning potential. These certifications indicate a higher level of expertise and can open doors to higher-paying positions. Additionally, specializing in a specific area of accounting, such as tax or forensic accounting, can also lead to higher salaries.

5. Job Responsibilities

The specific job responsibilities of an accounting associate can influence their salary. Associates who take on more complex tasks, such as financial analysis, budgeting, or auditing, may be eligible for higher salaries compared to those who primarily handle data entry or bookkeeping. Taking on additional responsibilities and demonstrating strong skills can lead to promotions and salary increases within the organization.

6. Career Advancement Opportunities

Accounting offers various career advancement opportunities, which can lead to higher salaries. As an accounting associate gains experience and enhances their skill set, they can progress to higher-level positions such as senior accountant, accounting manager, or even chief financial officer (CFO). Each promotion comes with increased responsibilities and higher earning potential.

7. Industry Demand

The demand for accounting professionals can also impact their salaries. Industries that are experiencing rapid growth or facing a shortage of qualified accountants may offer higher salaries to attract and retain talent. Staying updated with industry trends and choosing to work in high-demand sectors can be advantageous for accounting associates in terms of salary negotiation and career growth.

8. Networking and Professional Development

Networking and continuous professional development can also contribute to an accounting associate’s earning potential. Building a strong professional network and staying connected with industry experts can provide access to job opportunities with higher salaries. Additionally, attending workshops, seminars, and pursuing additional certifications can demonstrate a commitment to professional growth, making the individual more valuable in the job market.

9. Economic Factors

Economic factors, such as inflation and the overall financial health of the country, can influence salary levels across industries, including accounting. During periods of economic growth, companies may offer higher salaries to attract top talent. Conversely, during economic downturns, salary growth may be slower. It is essential to be aware of these economic factors and their potential impact on salary expectations.

10. Negotiation Skills

Finally, an individual’s negotiation skills can affect their earning potential as an accounting associate. Being able to effectively negotiate salary offers and benefits can lead to higher initial salaries and future salary increases. It is important to research industry standards, understand one’s worth, and confidently communicate and negotiate during the hiring process.

In conclusion, the salary range for accounting associates can vary based on factors such as education, experience, industry, location, certifications, job responsibilities, career advancement opportunities, demand, networking, economic factors, and negotiation skills. By considering these factors and strategically planning their career path, accounting associates can maximize their earning potential and achieve financial success in their profession.