According to the 2003 SmartPros Salary Survey, of the 48% of licensed CPAs responding to the survey, 65% pulled in the $60,000 salary while just over a quarter (27%) of non-CPA respondents could boast of that earning level.
Not surprisingly, the more years of work experience the respondent had, the higher his or her salary range was. Based solely on years of experience:
- Of the 164 entry-level professionals (less than one year of experience) who responded to the survey, 12% made between $20,000 and $29,999; 32% between $30,000 and $39,000; 37% between $40,000 and $49,999; and 13% between $50,000 and $59,999.
- The majority of respondents with three years or less of experience (68%) earned between $30,000 and $59,999.
- Of those with four to nine years of experience, most (60%) earned between $40,000 and $69,999.
- About half (54%) of respondents with 10 to 15 years of experience earned between $60,000 and $99,000, with 16% earning $100,000 or more.
- Finally, the majority (64%) of respondents with 16+ years of experience earned $70,000 or more in 2003.
Hanging out your own accounting shingle made a big difference for many respondents with half (50%) of the 276 sole practitioners in public practice making $100,000 or more – regardless of how many years they had been in the business. Twenty-eight percent of respondents’ highest academic credential is a master’s degree, while 61% said a bachelor’s degree is their highest level of education completed.
Overall, by title/job category, the majority of respondents fell within a broad salary range:
- Staff Accountant: 24% fell in the $30,000 to $39,999 range; 38% in the $40,000 to $49,999 range; and 19% in the $50,000 to $59,999 range. About 11% made more than $60,000.
- Bookkeeper/Clerk/Admin: 64% made between $20,000-$39,000.
- Director/Manager: 54% made between $50,000 and $99,999.
- CFO/Controller: 53.8% made between $60,000 and $99,999; 29.3% made more than $100,000.
- Managing/General Partner: 53% made more than $100,000; 36% made between $60,000 and $99,999.
Approximately 2,100 respondents answered the eight-question survey that was conducted from October through December at www.smartpros.com . Respondents included a wide-range of accounting professionals, including bookkeepers, chief financial officers, controllers, managing partners, and staff accountants.