Director of Accounting: Salary, Education Requirements, and Job Duties

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A director of accounting reviews company financial information.

Large businesses and organizations tend to have fairly complicated financial needs. Even a smaller company may have complex requirements for financial analysis, budgeting, internal control, bookkeeping, tax preparation, and financial forecasting. As such, it’s not unusual for enterprises of all kinds to hire full accounting teams, staffed with professionals who closely monitor and manage monetary assets.

Those who pursue an advanced degree in accounting, such as an Online Master of Accountancy, will be better positioned not only to join these teams but potentially to lead them. With the right educational background and work experience, financial professionals may ascend to a high-level role such as director of accounting, controller or chief financial officer, allowing them to contribute great value to the organization.

Read on for details about the duties associated with a director of accounting position, as well as the anticipated salary.

What Does a Director of Accounting Do?

The director of accounting is concerned with an organization’s financial big picture and analyzing its overall financial climate. This entails continuous appraisal of both revenues and losses, as well as the ability to identify financial errors while offering prompt, decisive information for decision-making.

The director of accounting may see some overlap with the roles and responsibilities of the chief financial officer (CFO), but one of the main distinctions between the two positions relates to reporting structure. Unlike the CFO, the director of accounting does not serve on the executive team. In many organizations, the director of accounting reports directly to the CFO and works with them to achieve the enterprise’s financial goals.

A director of accounting might carry out the following specific tasks, among others:

  • Planning and analyzing budgets for each department or division in the company
  • Verifying that all of the company’s financial activities comply with the law
  • Monitoring financial transactions and keeping an eye on cash flow
  • Establishing and leading teams of accountants and other financial professionals
  • Presenting financial reports to executives, investors, and other stakeholders
  • Evaluating the company’s spending and implementing strategies to reduce expenditures
  • Using data and analytics to make financial predictions
  • Overseeing internal auditing activity as necessary

The Director of Accounting Salary

The director of accounting is key to an organization’s overall financial state. Those interested in this position should be aware of the high level of responsibility and the typical director of accounting salary.

According to 2019 PayScale data, the median annual salary associated with the director of accounting position is around $119,400. However, a number of factors can impact base pay. One is experience level, as those who have spent more time working in an accounting or finance role will likely command higher salaries. Location can be another factor, with larger metropolitan markets generally offering higher salaries. A third factor to consider is education. Those who pursue an advanced accounting degree, such as an Online Master of Accountancy, may be more likely to command competitive salaries and secure prestigious positions.

Education for Advanced Accounting Skills

Education is fundamental for anyone who wishes to pursue a career as a director of accounting. While some companies may hire a director of accounting with only a bachelor’s degree, most likely prefer candidates with an advanced degree in accountancy or a related field.

By pursuing an Online Master of Accountancy, individuals can hone the skills needed for success in the director of accounting role, from financial acumen to leadership and communication abilities. Some other examples of key skills include:

  • Use of data analytics to create actionable information out of raw financial data
  • Knowledge of state and federal tax laws
  • Business-to-business selling ability
  • Familiarity with accounting software programs
  • Project management skills
  • Attention to detail, even in a high-pressure environment

A great way to cultivate these and other critical skills is by enrolling in a program such as Ohio University’s Online Master of Accountancy. In this program, students have the chance to master accounting and data analytics skills, as well as the leadership and management competencies needed to thrive as a director of accounting.

The Ohio University MAcc offers three paths to meet the needs of potential students from different educational backgrounds, as long as the individual holds a bachelor’s degree. The accounting path is for students with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and experienced accounting professionals, while the business background path is geared toward students with an undergraduate degree in business looking to focus their graduate studies in accounting. The non-business background path allows students with liberal arts, engineering, or other non-business bachelor’s degrees to expand their knowledge and skills in business principles and accountancy.

Take the First Step Toward Becoming a Director of Accounting

If you have an interest in finance and a desire to contribute leadership and value to an organization, the director of accounting role may be a good career path to consider. Take the first step by learning more about Ohio University’s Online Master of Accountancy.


Recommended Readings

Xero vs. Quickbooks: Which Accounting Software Is Right for You?

Advanced Accounting Careers: How to Become a CPA

How to Effectively Handle Cost Accounting Standards


Association for Financial Professionals, Corporate Finance Job Descriptions

BizFluent, The Difference Between a CFO & Finance Director

Houston Chronicle, Accounting Hierarchy in the Workplace

Houston Chronicle, Qualifications of a Finance Director

PayScale, Average Director of Accounting & Financial Reporting Salary