Accounting & Audit: How Much Can You Expect to Earn?
Accounting and Audit remains a strong candidate as an alternative to investment banking. Even if it does not pay as well, it might open doors to a number of wide-ranging opportunities worldwide. So, is the pay cut worth it?
It is worth sticking it out long term - trust the curve
In terms of salaries, the early years can be financially disappointing, but a look ahead at senior executives might just help you hold on for later rewards. The base salary curve is effectively flat at junior levels but at Director and Partner levels (a minimum of 12 years' experience), salaries increase dramatically with a x2 jump to USD 154,000 for Directors.
As Partner, expect yet another substantial step up to USD 216,000, close to 5x the average starting salary.
As expected, the differential with Investment Banking is substantial with a 40% pay gap at Director level, and a 82% gap between Accounting and Audit partners and Investment Banking Managing Directors.
Should I pack my bags?
Not when you start off. Junior accountants earn USD 45,000 across all key locations, with the exception of Luxembourg which makes a push for talent at a USD 55,000 starting salary.
Directors working in Accounting and Audit in London are paid a fraction more than their Paris counterparts (USD 146,000 vs USD 133,000), but quite a bit less than those in New York and Zurich who come in at USD 185,000 and USD 213,000 respectively.
When reaching senior executive levels, moving to Zurich might be a good idea when it comes to combining high salaries and quality of life!
With much of the professional services sector, Accounting and Audit careers require a fairly long period of training and qualifications. During these years salaries tend to rise steadily but not in a dramatic way as experience and expertise grow. The financial rewards appear however at the most senior levels when a significant jump in income can be seen as the rewards for many years of hard work.
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