The 13 Highest Paying Industries for Accountants

I get asked all the time why I became an accountant. For me, like most people, it boils down to money. Accounting is a simple way to an upper middle class, secure lifestyle.  Having said that, some industries within the field pay better than others. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the 13 highest paying industries in accounting.

13. Motion Picture and Video Industries 

Median Salary: $74,290

Tallying the Oscar totals is the most badass accounting job around (granted, that’s not saying much). Scoring a Hollywood accounting gig isn’t too shabby either.

Notable Companies: New Line Cinema, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel Studios

12. Other Financial Investment Activities

Median Salary $75,000

Ah, the rewarding world of Asset Managment. You’ll make decent money, and never have to do an inventory count. Nearly 20,000 accountants get paid from the insane cash cow that is two and twenty.

Notable Companies: BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group, PIMCO

11. Motor Vehicle Manufacturing

Median Salary: $75,310

No wonder these guys all went bankrupt. They were overpaying their CPAs.

Notable Companies: Ford, Toyota, Porsche

10. Deep Sea, Coastal, and Great Lakes Water Transportation

Median Salary: $75,560

Somewhat of a niche market, this industry employees roughly 630 accountants.

Notable Companies: Eagle Bulk Shipping, Safe Bulkers, Dryships

9. Other Information Services

Median Salary: $76,140

A horribly vague name, this industry includes everything from internet service providers to search engines.

Notable companies: Frontier, Google, AOL

8. Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers

Median Salary: $78,880

Let’s face it, artists are the complete opposite of accountants. For us, artistic license doesn’t go past formatting a spreadsheet. Regardless, CPAs can make a living serving the (non starving) artists.

Notable Artist: Kate Upton (alright, just thew this in for the sake of the picture), Jennifer Lawrence, Beyonce

7. Exterminating and Pest Control Services

Median Salary: $79,110


The most surprising industry on the list, who knew there was so much money in squashing bugs?

Notable Companies: Ecolab, Steritech, Plunkett’s Pest Control

6. Securities and Commodity Contracts Intermediation and Brokerage

Median Salary: $79,530

In case you hadn’t heard, investment banks make a shitton of money. Some of that cash ends up in the pockets of their accountants.

Notable Companies: Goldman Sachs, JP Mogan Chase, Deutsche Bank

5. Monetary Authorities-Central Bank

Median Salary: $80,620

The Fed might not get audited, but they do employee a few hundred well compensated accountants. Must be nice to have an employer that can print money.

4. Postal Service (federal government)

Median Salary: $81,320

They may loose 16 billion dollars annually, but that doesn’t stop this bureaucracy hooking up its accountants. Unlike public, no one works on Sunday.

3. Securities and Commodity Exchanges

Median Salary: $88,460

The smallest niche on the list, the 70ish accountants that work at exchanges have a pretty sweet gig.

Notable Companies: New York Stock Exchange, Chicago Mercantile Exchange

2. Federal government, including the US Postal Service

Median Salary: $89,030

Mitt Romney’s blood would boil. Turns out government CPAs really do make more than their private sector counterparts. I’m sure they justify it with the tremendous work ethic and productivity that people associate with government employees.

1. Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)

Median Salary: $89,040


Yep, more government. The bottom line: financial services and the feds compensate accountants well.


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