What is a Staff Accountant? Job Description, Salary, and More

If you’re interested in accounting, you may be considering a position as a staff accountant—and for good reason. A staff accountant is an integral part of any company because they play a crucial role in maintaining the financial health and stability of an organization.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the role, including the salary, job description, required skills, and more!

What is a Staff Accountant?

A staff accountant is a trained professional who is responsible for performing a variety of accounting tasks within an organization. Some of their general responsibilities include:

  • Preparing financial statements
  • Maintaining and reconciling accounts
  • Preparing and filing tax returns
  • Assisting with budgeting and forecasting
  • Ensuring all accounting tasks and financial records comply with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

These professionals may work in a variety of industries, including public accounting firms, private businesses, and non-profit organizations. They may also have the opportunity to specialize in a particular area, such as taxation or auditing.

Responsibilities of a Staff Accountant

The responsibilities of a staff accountant can vary depending on the company or the accounting firms they are in. But their general day-to-day duties often include tasks like bookkeeping, preparing financial reports, filing tax returns, and providing consulting services. They may also be responsible for overseeing the work of junior accountants. A general job description for a staff accountant may include duties like:

  • Record both purchase and sale transactions in an accounting system
  • Create regular balance sheets, income statements, and profit and loss statements
  • Verify deposits and withdrawals
  • Oversee payroll
  • Address inquiries from banks

Staff Accountant Skills

Staff accountants typically need a mix of both hard and soft skills to be successful in their career. Strong analytical, organizational, and communication skills are helpful soft skills. They should also be detail-oriented, able to work independently and as part of a team, and able to multitask. Necessary hard skills include proficiency in computer software, particularly accounting-specific programs such as QuickBooks and Excel.

Qualifications Needed to be a Staff Accountant

Staff accountants typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business administration, or another related field. While a four year program at a reputable university is usually preferred by employers, there are online courses that can teach job seekers the basics of accounting to help launch their career in the right direction.

Some employers may also require staff accountants to earn certifications. As a result, accountants with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation often make more money than those without one. Also, if you want to move up in your career and become a controller or CFO, then you will likely need to have your CPA certification.

Staff Accountant Salaries

According to the latest data from Glassdoor, staff accountants can expect to make an average of $60,021 per year. It’s important to note, however, that the average salary for a staff accountant can vary depending on location, level of experience, and the size of the company.

Staff Accountant vs. Controller

While staff accountants are important, they aren’t the only accounting professionals charged with maintaining a company’s financial health. Controllers (sometimes referred to as comptrollers) play a similar role.

Both staff accountants and controllers are accounting professionals, but controllers possess a higher level of authority over a company’s accounting processes and procedures. While an accountant analyzes financial data and completes other accounting-related tasks, a controller is responsible for the development and implementation of financial policies and procedures. Simply put, controllers ensure that the organization’s financial resources are used efficiently and effectively.

In general, an accountant is focused on the day-to-day tasks of recording and analyzing financial transactions, while a controller is responsible for the overall financial management of an organization. If both positions interest you, then you’re in luck! Many staff accountants become controllers after years of experience in the field, making it the perfect role for ambitious accounting professionals looking to advance their careers.

Commonly Asked Interview Questions for a Staff Accountant

Here are some sample interview questions you might be asked when applying for a staff accounting position:

  • What are your experiences in bookkeeping and accounting?
  • What is your understanding of double-entry bookkeeping?
  • What accounting software are you familiar with?
  • What is your understanding of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)?
  • Tell me about a time when you had to manage a budget.
  • What is your experience with Excel?
  • How would you handle an invoice dispute?
  • What is your understanding of business law?
  • Have you ever prepared financial statements? If so, please describe.
  • Do you have any experience auditing or reviewing accounts?
  • If you could change one thing about the accounting profession, what would it be?
  • Do you prefer working independently or in a team environment?

All of these are meant to gauge your abilities to work with a team and handle the role’s duties.

Staff Accountants Are Vital

Staff accountants are an essential part of any organization. They keep track of a company’s financial health and make sure that all bills are paid on time. As the job market becomes competitive, these accounting professionals need to have a strong understanding of their role and demonstrate their skills to potential employers.

Head over to the Insight Global job board when you’re ready to launch your accounting career or seek an opportunity with a new company!