Career Outlook: How to Become an Accounting Manager

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Becoming an accounting manager allows a person to assume a leadership position in one of the most essential fields in the business world. The ability to play a significant role in shaping a corporation’s financial endeavors can be a thrilling opportunity for those looking to pursue a high-level, lucrative accounting position. While attaining a degree is a crucial step in how to become an accounting manager, there is much more to finding success in the profession than completing the educational requirements.

The Position at a Glance

The duties of an accounting manager tend to combine the fundamentals of accounting with specific leadership principles. Those in this role typically oversee a team of accountants, the number of which depends on the size of the company. Because of this, they’re commonly involved in hiring and training the accounting staff. An accounting manager is also responsible for handling various personnel issues related to his or her staff, such as absenteeism and substandard performance.

Accounting managers are typically charged with preparing and reviewing various ledger entries and reconciliations, as well as performing general ledger system maintenance. They usually prepare monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements. They can also help with regulatory reporting and budget coordination. Accounting managers typically aren’t the final corporate accounting authority, as they commonly report to a senior-level position, such as a chief financial officer or a controller.

Accounting Manager Educational Requirements

The first step to becoming an accounting manager is to earn a bachelor’s degree in a field related to accounting, finance, or business. Attaining an advanced degree, such as a master’s in accountancy, can equip students with a thorough understanding of the fundamental concepts within the accounting field. This knowledge translates into the cultivation of the type of analytical insight that transcends merely working with raw numbers, supporting students to confidently pursue a wide array of professional opportunities.

Accounting manager positions may require applicants to have the title of Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Attaining this certification entails passing a national exam in addition to meeting state-specific requirements. Most states require students to complete 150 semester hours of coursework prior to licensing.

This can present a conundrum for aspiring accounting managers since the required semester hours usually exceed the hours needed to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Skills Needed for Accounting Managers

The completion of a master’s in accountancy can help future accounting managers sharpen several fundamental skills needed to excel in the profession.

  • Math. Accounting is a data-driven field, so accounting managers must be adept at analyzing, comparing, and interpreting figures efficiently. While fundamental math competencies are essential, accounting managers don’t necessarily need complex math skills, such as geometry and calculus.
  • Analytics. Accounting managers must have the capacity to spot issues in various accounting processes to ensure maximum financial efficiency.
  • Organization. Because accounting managers may be working on several different projects at the same time, it’s important that they have a heightened capacity to keep everything systematically arranged.
  • Communication. Accounting managers must be able to clearly communicate facts and figures both to their reporting staff members and to executive-level management.
  • Leadership. It’s important that accounting managers have the ability to motivate and encourage staff members in a positive manner that makes them feel valued. This feeling can make it easier for groups to strive toward achieving corporate goals.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to PayScale, the median salary for accounting managers is roughly $68,400, which can be driven by several factors, such as job location.

Those looking to become an accounting manager are entering a steadily growing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job market for accountants is projected to grow by 10 percent from 2016 to 2026. The BLS also projects that those who have earned professional recognition, such as the title of CPA, should be in the best position to take advantage of this job growth.

A Rewarding Career

Accounting managers marry the fundamental competencies that drive the accounting field with the essential leadership skills that help propel an organization forward. This combination can lead to one of the most satisfying professions in the realm of accounting — one that can help shape the direction of an organization in a very tangible manner. Ohio University’s Online Master of Accountancy program can help you cultivate these fundamental skills completely online, giving you the freedom to learn and grow around your busy schedule. The MACC program doesn’t require a GRE or a GMAT, enabling students to graduate in as few as five semesters, allowing for quick application of new skills and knowledge.

Learn More:

Find out more about how Ohio University’s online Master of Accountancy program strives to prepare students for success as financial professionals in today’s competitive landscape.


Recommended Reading:

Ohio University Blog, “4 Career Opportunities with an Accounting Degree”
Ohio University Blog, “Understanding Accounting Position Titles and Department Hierarchies”
Ohio University Blog, “The Differences Between a Master of Accountancy and an MBA”


Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Occupational Handbook: Accountants and Auditors”
PayScale, “Average Accounting Manager Salary”
Robert Half, “So You Want to Become an Accounting Manager?”