Accounting professionals, especially those who specialize in accounting, are the most sought-after positions in corporate America, according to an analysis by the firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
They are among the most coveted employees in the accounting profession and, by far, have the most hours in the field, according for the firm’s new annual survey of corporate accounting professionals.
The survey of more than 3,200 people, released Wednesday, found that accounting professionals with accounting degrees and degrees in finance, finance accounting, accounting management, and accounting technology earn more than twice as much as those with other credentials.
The median salary of the top accounting jobs is $120,000 a year, up from $83,000 in 2015, according the survey.
The average pay for a full-time accounting associate in the firm, a senior accounting position, is $94,000, up 12% from 2015.
The firm’s annual survey also found that people with accounting experience and degrees make more than double what their counterparts in other fields earn.
The report also showed that people who have spent time with accounting firms or those who are actively working in the industry earn more in salary than those with no formal education in accounting.
For example, people who had a college degree or associate degree earned more than $60,000 last year, compared to $30,000 for people with no such degree.
Pay in the finance and accounting fields rose even more.
Those with a bachelor’s degree or more in finance earned $73,000 and those with less than a bachelor degree earned $61,000.
Pay for a manager with a master’s degree rose 20% over 2015, and for a vice president, 16%.
Pay for those with a doctoral degree or higher increased from $51,000 to $68,000 over the same period.
The finance, accounting, and finance-related fields also saw increases in their median salaries.
In 2015, the median salary for a finance associate was $90,000; the median for a chief accounting officer was $98,000 on average.
The accounting and finance areas saw salaries increase at different rates for the top earners, but the top five earners in finance received the highest pay, while those with more than a master of science degree received the lowest.
The biggest pay increases in finance and management jobs came in the financial sector, where the median compensation rose 20%.
Those earning more than 200 times the federal poverty level or about $118,000 earned $158,000 more in 2015.
For financial management, the highest increase was in accounting and accounting management; accounting and financial accounting, which includes auditing and other types of accounting services, saw an increase of 30%.
For the next two highest paychecks, accounting and senior accounting, those earning over $110,000 saw an 11% increase in their pay.
The highest increase for finance and finance accounting came in 2015 when the median pay for an associate with accounting and professional services was $114,000 at $117,000 (or $160,000 if the average salary is adjusted for inflation).
For senior accounting and the finance-specific field, the top two earners were $126,000 ($178,000) and $128,000 with an average of $122,000 annually.
In the finance, financial, and financial-related areas, people with a Master of Science in accounting received a pay increase of 19% in 2015 and 21% for those earning a PhD in financial accounting.
In both of those categories, people earning more were more likely to earn more.
For the finance industry, the average median pay of a manager was $91,000 while the average pay of an associate was at $84,000 — $26,000 above the federal minimum wage.
For all the changes in the economy over the past decade, pay growth in the public sector has been very steady.
In 2014, the federal government had the lowest pay growth for more than 15 years, but that rate started to increase in 2015 because of the Great Recession.
The Federal Reserve has kept the inflation rate near zero for the last seven years.
Inflation in the federal public sector, which pays workers a range of salaries, has been lower than that in the private sector.
Pay growth has been slower in the government than in the other two categories, according in part to the fact that many public employees work outside the United States.
A higher share of government employees earn their salaries overseas.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report also shows that the average annual pay for employees working in non-government jobs has decreased by 4% over the last year.
In some sectors, pay has increased faster than in other sectors, such as health care, construction, and manufacturing.