The worn-out, stereotypical image of the accountant as a “bean counter” is evolving to that of a strategic partner who provides advice and guidance on topics such as risk management, sourcing, project management and financial analytics.
As organizations continue to expand the roles and responsibilities of their accounting teams, the demand for professionals with advanced abilities to bridge gaps between organizational financial operations and overall high-level goals is on a steady upward trend.
As a valued asset, accountants strengthen connections between financial operations and business leadership, organizational behavior and corporate ethics. They are expected to ask challenging questions and develop unique, practical solutions that support business goals and objectives.
What Are High-Growth Executive and Senior Management Accounting Roles?
Those in senior-level accounting positions must have broad fundamental business knowledge coupled with specialized skills in managerial accounting and auditing. Some popular, senior-level roles for graduates of an advanced business degree in accounting are as follows:
- Accounting Director. Tasked with leading all financial operations, accounting directors’ responsibilities include managing the accounting staff, overseeing financial statement preparation and analysis, ensuring compliance with accounting regulations and implementing accounting policies. Annual compensation, including salary and benefits, averages $164,000, and the number of roles should grow by 16% through 2028. The S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the average job-growth rate for accounting careers is 6%.
- Although controllers may not be directly involved in accounting, they ensure all organizational financial data is accurate. For instance, an accounts-payable operation tracks liabilities in connection with invoices, and the controller is responsible for ensuring the overall accuracy and timeliness of processing and paying invoices. Otherwise, their purview includes instituting accounting procedures, overseeing internal controls, managing budgets and ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations. Annual compensation for controllers averages $156,000, and the growth rate for positions is 17% through 2031.
- Financial Reporting Manager. Ranked as the 2 Best Business Job, financial reporting managers ensure accurate and timely financial reporting that complies with accounting principles and regulatory requirements. Financial reporting managers may also develop financial policies and procedures, ensure compliance with financial regulations and communicate financial information to senior management. Annual compensation averages $129,000, and the number of roles is predicted to grow by 17% through 2031.
- Financial Reporting Analyst. Working under the direction of financial reporting managers, financial analysts crunch organizational financial data and prepare reports for leadership, investors and regulatory agencies. Financial reporting analysts may also identify and implement improvements to financial reporting processes and systems. Analysts earn an average of $96,000 annually, and the number of positions is expected to grow by 9% through 2031, according to the BLS.
- Accounting Manager. Accounting managers oversee the day-to-day accounting operations of an organization, including accounts payable and receivable, maintaining the general ledger and ensuring compliance with accounting policies and procedures. The average annual salary for accounting managers, according to Salary.com, is $119,339.
Given the lucrative salaries and promising job outlooks for the mentioned roles, professionals in the business and accounting space can be confident in their career prospects.
How Do Accounting Professionals Gain Advantage in the Competition?
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Accounting, such as the one offered online by Bowling Green State University (BGSU), equips graduates for leadership roles through an accredited curriculum that enriches their business and finance skills.
In addition to preparing students to sit for the Certified Professional Accountant exam (depending on home-state board of accountancy requirements), the BGSU program:
- Enriches understanding of audit and internal-control processes and how they support independent verification of financial records and operational reviews
- Explores the application of financial accounting tools for more effective decision-making
- Investigates ways financial and information analytics enable organizations to make decisions faster and with greater degrees of certainty
- Develops organizational, team and business unit leadership skills
With relevant courses like the Financial Accounting and Analysis course, Managerial Accounting course and Leading for Organizational Success course, graduates will gain the in-demand accounting, auditing, analysis and leadership skills for success in a number of roles.