Accounting is a solid career path for people who enjoy crunching numbers, and it can pay very well even right after graduation. Many accountants, however, find that their income plateaus after a while for a number of different reasons. With so many low-cost accounting options for consumers, it can be a little disheartening for those who want to boost their income.
The good news is that if you get a little creative or stretch yourself to enhance your skills and qualifications, there are lots of ways to make more money as an accountant. Consider these 7 options for improving your earning potential while enjoying a satisfying career.
1. Develop a Specialty Such as Forensic Accounting
CPAs don’t have to be limited to preparing tax returns. There are lots of promising specialty areas of accounting that you might want to consider if you’d like to make more money. One example is forensic accounting, which involves examining financial records for evidence in criminal cases.
Worldwide, trillions of dollars are lost every year to financial crimes, which include fraud, money laundering, cybercrime, insider trading, and more. Forensic accountants look for inconsistencies, red flags, and evidence of wrongdoing in financial accounts and records.
This specialty can pay a median salary of $104,500 per year for accountants who obtain the title of Certified Fraud Examiner. It can be a fascinating and rewarding career, in addition to the increased pay opportunities.
2. Beef Up Your Resume!
If you’re looking for a higher-paying accounting job, then you should take some time and consider how your resume looks to potential employers. Updating your resume seems simple, but it could help you stand out and make the difference between getting lots of interviews and sitting at home waiting for a call.
There are lots of ways to make your resume stand out. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, you can beef up your resume by adding relevant details and tailoring your resume for each job application. It’s also a good idea to look for keywords in the job posting and use them within your resume. Although modern resumes have changed a bit, the principles are the same: professionally summarize why you’re the best choice for the job.
3. Don’t Forget to Stay Updated in LinkedIn
These days, LinkedIn is like your online resume. If you’re looking for a new, higher-paying job, then you should expect potential employers to look over your profile. Stay updated, and make sure you’re active on the platform. Posting updates and writing articles are great ways to show engagement and your enthusiasm for your area of expertise. Plus, LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to show that you work well with others.
4. Earn Advanced Credentials to Land a High-Paying Accounting Job
Most accounting jobs are well-paid, but the highest-paying opportunities are often only available to those with advanced credentials. Becoming a CPA is a great first step, but if you really want to be in the running for better opportunities, then you may need to take your education a step farther.
In general, to land a position like Director of Accounting or Chief Financial Officer, you need to have a Master of Accountancy degree. This means several more years of study (and generally a few years of experience to prove yourself), but the increase in salary and responsibility can be well worth the investment of time and money needed to get a master’s degree.
5. Might be Worth Starting a Side Hustle!
The gig economy is booming, and lots of people are spending their free time moonlighting to bring in extra cash. A side hustle can be a great way to not only boost your income but to increase your visibility and experience.
Obviously, it’s not a good idea to create a business that competes with your employer. But why not start something in an adjacent niche, such as financial coaching or guest blogging for a financial website? There are thousands of ways to make money online these days, especially with strong accounting skills and certifications.
6. Market, Market, Market Yourself & Your Business
Whether you’re starting up a business or not, it’s important to know how to market yourself. Applying for jobs is its own type of marketing, and if you’re planning on starting up a side hustle or your own business, you’ll need to be committed to learning and implementing best practices for digital marketing. Don’t be shy—if you want to make more money as an accountant, you have to go all-in!
7. Believe in Yourself & Be Willing to Negotiate
If you’re looking for a larger salary, then you need to believe in yourself and your skills. If you can’t be confident and sell an employer on why you deserve a high salary, then you may be stuck at your current income level for a while. Be willing to get creative, get more education, and most importantly, advocate for yourself. Your skills are valuable!