Breaking Down the Top Finance Jobs of 2016: Part 1

Posted: Jan 28  |  By: Kara Bosworth

In any given year, some job positions fare better than others. In this two-part series, we’ll break down the finance and accounting jobs that are projected to see both job and salary growth in 2016.

1. Senior Accountant

Senior Accountants are generally those who have been in the accounting industry for about half a decade. They have plenty of experience digging into the details and are at a point in their career path where they’re beginning to move from focusing on the trees and seeing the forest. Their day-to-day involves preparing and maintaining financial and business transactions and applying higher-level accounting principles—as opposed to simply entering transactions or journal entries or ticking and tying workpapers. Their work is analytical, evaluative, and advisory in nature as superiors begin leaning on them to assist in higher-level decision-making. The average Senior Accountant earns $66,466.

2. Financial Analyst

The Financial Analyst position is an entry-level finance position. They evaluate past and present financial data of organizations in order to produce reports used by management for decision-making purposes as well as stock buy and sell suggestions. Their position involves researching economic conditions in order to juxtapose company data against the larger economy and make appropriate recommendations. They may assist management in some capacity, especially as they move closer to promotion after about two years. On average, Financial Analysts earn $51,204.

3. Controller

Controllers are generally very experienced having usually no less than 15 years of experience in their field. They generally oversee the accounting and finance operations of an organization, ensuring that proper internal controls are present, policies and procedures are in place to protect assets, and that the organization complies with regulatory requirements. They also work directly with senior management, providing financial reporting and identifying areas of risk. Controllers earn an average of $180,466 annually.

4. Compliance Manager

Generally reporting to Controllers and other more senior-level staff and having at least seven years of experience, Compliance Managers oversee and coordinate the development, maintenance, implementation, and revision of policies and procedures. They will usually conduct periodic internal audits or reviews to test existing compliance policies. They will identify and investigate (or, in larger organizations, oversee the investigation of) any deficiencies identified. They are also responsible for providing written policies and procedures pertaining to compliance to staff and providing guidance where necessary. Compliance Managers can expect to earn an average of $81,727 per year.

5. Chief Financial Officer

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) represent the top of the accounting and finance industry. These C-Suite members direct and coordinate the financial affairs for their entire organization. Depending on the size of the organization, they may also take on the functions of a Controller. Ultimately, a CFO is responsible for all accounting, financial, and risk management (internal control) functions within an organization. Their role is to know and be able to report on the organization’s financial position; direct the company’s short-, medium-, and long-term strategies and trajectory; manage budgeting; assist, support, and provide financial information to the other chief officers of the company; personally review corporate financial filings; interact with the organization’s board of directors; and more. In short, it takes a lot of experience and knowledge to be an effective CFO, with generally no less than 15 years of experience in accounting, finance, and often other areas as well. Of course, CFOs are generally well-compensated to cover such a diverse skillset requirement: the average CFO annually earns $344,783.

To learn about more accounting and finance positions slated to grow during 2016, check out our Top 10 Finance, Accounting and Legal Jobs infographic and keep an eye out for Part 2 of our Job Breakdown.