You got into the accounting space to handle the money—it shouldn’t hurt to make a decent living doing so. From the staff accountant role to the controller to the CFO, everyone in the field plays a significant role for the company and most are compensated well for the work they do. But where can you get the most value? The answers are surprising, according to a recent analysis from Business.org.
High Salaries vs. High Value
As reported by Going Concern, the place you’re likely to receive the highest salary is the District of Columbia, whose average accountant sees a salary of $103,930. But that only tells half the story. Once you account for cost of living, taxes, comparable salaries, and the like, the answer is less sunny. In fact, accountants make only 15.7% above the average salary in DC, putting the capital at 51st on the list of locations.
The best? Mississippi, where the average dollar goes a lot further. Despite only having an average accountant salary of $65,420, this is putting you among the elites—63% better off than the average worker.
Top Ten States for Accountants
Using BLS occupational data, Business.org compared each state’s average accounting salary to the state’s overall salary. Though this may not be the best comparison—avoiding a white collar to white collar comparison while ignoring a true cost of living estimate and overall tax liability, it’s still a passable comparison for accountants looking to find a place where their dollar stretches further.
So without further ado, here are the top ten states for a career in accounting, at least according to the writers over at Business.org. To make this a bit more informative for those of you planning your move, we added Cost of Living data from World Population Review, tax burden information from WalletHub, and income tax bracket from the Tax Foundation.
- Mississippi: The average accountant makes $65,420, 63% more than the average worker. However, this salary is one of the lowest in the nation, better than only New Mexico and North Dakota. The best part? The lowest cost of living in the nation, according to cost of living index data.
- Oklahoma: Coming in at 21st in real salary, the average accountant makes $74,130, 62% more than the average worker.
- North Carolina: With an average salary of $78,500, accountants are getting a good deal in the Tarheel state, making 62% more than the average worker.
- Georgia: The thirteenth highest paying state for accountants at $79,690, you’re likely to make 61% more than an average worker.
- Alabama: Staying in the south, the average Alabama accounting professional is taking home $72,120, 60% more than others.
- South Dakota: Looking for cooler weather? Head out to this great plains state for great pay. Accountants see $67,470 annually, 57% more than the average. But with a 0% income tax burden and the seventh-lowest overall tax burden according to WalletHub, your dollar will go further.
- Texas: Another high paying state, Texas accountants are securing $79,360, a salary 57% higher than the average of all other occupations. Plus, with a booming economy and zero state income tax, you might see your dollar go further in the Lone Star state.
- Tennessee: A booming state, accountants in Tennessee are seeing $71,460, 56% better than the average worker. But with the second-lowest tax burden (the proportion of total personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes), you might find yourself with some good options in the state.
- Arkansas: At $66,450, this is another of these low-paying states, but when compared to the average cost of living, you’ll be living comfortably.
- West Virginia: Head for the hills. With low cost of living, the $67,340 will go a long way in this state. But beware, state income tax can stack up, hitting 6% at $40K and 6.5% on every dollar past $60K.
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