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How Much Do Entry Level Accountants Make an Hour?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Were you one of those kids who liked doing math homework? Did you get a sense of satisfaction from verifying your answers by cross-checking your work? If so, there could be a steady career for you in accounting. The average entry-level accountant hourly rate is $20.74.

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The average entry-level accountant hourly rate is $20.74.

Job Description

Accuracy and a thorough understanding of the job are critical in accounting. Your first job is likely to be an entry-level position, also called a junior accountant. In this role, you learn the specifics of the job with your company and prove your abilities to management.

Initially, you assist staff and senior accountants with the preparation of financial statements and reports, billing and budgeting. You learn any preferences the company has in making ledger entries, preparing budgets and writing reports Sometimes, you may present reports or financial data to management or to a specific department.

When internal audits are being done, you help check finances for the period covered by the audit, looking for discrepancies and errors. Senior accountants check your work while you're in the junior accountant role.

Education Requirements

A bachelor's degree in accounting or finance is required for entry-level accounting jobs. Most job postings prefer candidates with two years of experience, but some consider recent graduates.

Your chances of being hired are better if you have proficiency in general ledgers and accounting software including QuickBooks and Microsoft Office, have good communication skills and can work independently.

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Industry Information

As an entry-level accountant, you may find work at an accounting firm that provides accounting services for outside clients or as a junior accountant working on a company's own finances. These may be large or small businesses with experienced staff accountants who can supervise your work and provide training. Most accountants work full time with extended hours during busy times such as tax season.

Years of Experience and Salary

The average annual salary for entry-level or junior accountants is $43,141 with a salary range of $29,710 to $62,646. Assuming annual work hours of 2,080 (40 hours per week x 52 weeks per year), this translates to an accountant salary per hour of $20.74 with a range of $14.28 to $30.12 per hour.

You can expect to spend several years as an entry-level accountant because it takes time to learn enough to work without supervision. That's one reason the salary for a junior accountant has such a wide range. A new graduate without work experience can expect to earn a salary close to the lower accountant hourly rate of $14.28. With a year or two of experience, you could earn more. Only a few junior accountants are paid at the high hourly rate of $30.12. They are typically those with several years of experience who are close to moving up to staff accountant.

After you become an experienced accountant and have earned or are close to earning the designation of certified public accountant (CPA), you are likely to earn closer to the median salary for an accountant as of May 2017, which was $33.34 per hour. A median salary is the midpoint in a list of salaries, where half earn more and half earn less.

Job Growth Trend

The need for accountants is expected to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is a bit faster than most jobs. This is due to the complex nature of taxes and regulations as well as the globalization of the economy. The need also depends on the strength of the economy. If the economy grows and businesses prosper, more accountants will be needed.

About the Author

Barbara Bean-Mellinger is a freelance writer who lives in the Washington, D.C. area who has written about careers and education for work.chron.com, workingmother.com, classroom.synonym.com and more. Barbara holds a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and has won numerous awards for her writing.

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