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What Is the Difference Between a Senior Accountant & an Accounting Manager?

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Accounting positions can range across firms and may change based on the market and technology shifts. This quickly leads to high differentiation in the types of accounting positions available within companies, making it easy for accountants to find a particular niche. Sometimes only the focus of the job makes it different from another position, but other times, such as when comparing a senior accountant and accounting manager position, the scope and location of the job also become important considerations.

Senior Accountant

A senior accountant tends to work for an accounting firm that specializes in offering accounting services to other companies. This means that senior accountants rarely work for a single business, but rather move between many different clients offering similar services. A senior position can be attained after years of experience in this field and may be accompanied by a partnership in the firm. The senior accountant also may have expertise in a specialty, such as a certain type of taxation or auditing regulations.

Accounting Manager

An accounting manager tends to work for a non-accounting business, a firm that keeps an accountant in-house to manage company financial practices. This means that the manager does not move around from client to client, but rather keeps focus on the business and its continuous financial condition. This position requires an in-depth knowledge of business needs and management of the accounting system that the business uses each day.

Direct Reports

One of the key differences between the two positions is the presence of direct reports. A senior accountant rarely has direct reports, since supervision of other employees does not fall under the necessary tasks of the position unless some sort of training program is included. For an accounting manager, however, direct reports are usually recorded for management of the accounting department. Delegation and specialization are common for this in-house position.


The scope between the two jobs can also differ. For senior accountants scope tends to stay narrow, bound in the same types of financial data and financial concerns while only the clients and the regulations change. For an accounting manager, however, scope is broad and contains not only financial practices but security, accuracy of data, software management and ethical considerations.


Tyler Lacoma has worked as a writer and editor for several years after graduating from George Fox University with a degree in business management and writing/literature. He works on business and technology topics for clients such as Obsessable, EBSCO,, The TAC Group, Anaxos, Dynamic Page Solutions and others, specializing in ecology, marketing and modern trends.

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