A career in accounting has numerous benefits outside actually understanding your own taxes (although, that is a big one). Accountants enjoy good job security, the flexibility to find work pretty much anywhere in the U.S., and accountant salaries are substantial enough to offer a comfortable lifestyle for most families. That’s why it’s no surprise that interest in accounting careers is on the rise.
According to a 2017 report from the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the number of bachelor’s degrees in accounting reached a record high for 2015-16 graduates. And it’s easy to understand why: the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows job growth for accountants accelerating at a faster pace than the national average.
But where in the U.S. are accountant salaries highest? Let’s take a look:
*Note: salaries shown here may have updated from the time of publication.
Average Accountant Salary Nationwide
Before diving into specific locations, it’s helpful to know the national average accountant salary so that you have a benchmark to measure against. According to Paysa data, the average salary for an accountant across the U.S. is $65,000 per year.
But, if you pick the right spots around the country, you can actually earn $10,000 more per year than that national average. Not bad, right?
Here are ten places you should consider living if you’re working as an accountant (or graduating with an accounting degree soon):
#1. Northern California – $73,000 to $75,000 per year
We know what you’re thinking: Northern California is a pretty broad area for kicking off a top 10 list. But the truth is, the top 9 accountant salaries are all cities in NorCal, so you really can’t go wrong living in this part of the country as an accountant. You can earn well above the national average in a number of Northern California cities, including:
- San Francisco
- Santa Clara
- San Jose
- Palo Alto
If you’re looking for who has the top spot, technically it’s San Francisco. Accountants in the Bay area can expect to earn $75,000 per year on average:
Of course, keep in mind that the cost of living in San Francisco (and a number of other cities in Northern California) is dramatically higher than other parts of the country. If you want a city where accountant salaries are comparable to those in Northern California but the cost of living is lower, hop on the I-5 North and head on up to Seattle, Washington:
#2. Seattle – $73,000 per year
You might think of Seattle as a burgeoning tech hub with companies like Amazon and Microsoft building out their headquarters there. But it’s also a great city for accountants to earn significantly more than the national average. The average accountant’s salary in Seattle is $73,000 per year.
So, if you can deal with the rainy weather, Seattle is a great place to build a career as an accountant. But, if you want to trade in your fleece jacket for a pair of boardshorts, here’s some good news for you:
#3. Southern California – $70,000 to $74,000 per year
That’s right—building a career in beautiful, sunny Southern California can be just as profitable as Seattle. Depending on where you land, accountant salaries in Southern California range from $70,000 to $74,000 per year. The highest end of that can be found two hours north of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara, where the average accountant earns $74,000 per year.
But, you should also check out:
- Santa Monica
- Los Angeles
Or, if SoCal isn’t right for you, maybe try out the East Coast:
#4. Boston – $71,000 per year
Beantown accountants earn a great salary on average while also benefiting from living in a city with incredible history, sports, food, and easy access to other great cities across the East Coast. The average salary for an accountant in Boston is $71,000 per year.
Sticking with cities on the Atlantic Ocean, take a look at the next one on the list:
#5. Fort Lauderdale, FL – $70,000 per year
It may not be the biggest city in Florida, but Fort Lauderdale sure does know how to take care of its people. And accountants are no exception. You can earn $70,000 per year as an accountant in Fort Lauderdale.
But, let’s be honest: if you’re going to live on the East Coast, it’s worth at least exploring what accountant salaries look like in the New York City area, right?
#6. Jersey City, NJ – $70,000 per year
Sure, it’s not Manhattan, but living in Jersey City gives you the best of both worlds: easy access to the city without the exorbitant rents and a solid salary as an accountant. You can expect to earn $70,000 per year as an accountant in Jersey City.
If you want to ditch the cold for a dry, warm desert, you may want to consider this next city:
#7. Albuquerque, NM – $70,000 per year
When it comes to quality-of-life, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more of a hidden gem than Albuquerque. It’s not big city living by any means, but Albuquerque offers a great blend of food, nightlife, nature, great weather, and of course, above-average accountant salaries. The average Albuquerque accountant earns $70,000 per year.
#8. Washington, DC – $70,000 per year
Our nation’s capital always needs a few good people to help balance budgets. Pack your bags and head to DC—another city where accountant salaries average out to around $70,000 per year.
#9. New York City – $69,000 per year
If Jersey City isn’t close enough to the Big Apple for you, accountants living (or just working) in the city can earn an average of $69,000 per year. That might not be enough to cover the crazy-high rents in Manhattan, but Brooklyn is the cool spot nowadays anyway.
Finally, here’s the #10 best city for accountant salaries:
#10. Atlanta, GA – $69,000 per year
Let’s be honest: NYC isn’t for everyone. So, if you want to go to a city where you can earn the same accountant salary but won’t have to deal with the high cost of living, check out Atlanta. Atlanta Accountants earn an average of $69,000 per year.
Want to find additional salary data for other major cities?
Browse salaries by location on Paysa and explore what you can earn as an accountant across the country.