Staff Accountant Jobs & Career Guide

What is a staff accountant?

A staff accountant or junior accountant is an entry-level position typically held by individuals who have recently graduated from college with a degree in accounting or a related field. This role is foundational to a career in accounting and involves various responsibilities that support the financial operations of a company.

What are the responsibilities of a staff accountant?

  • Transaction Management: Handling daily transactions, which include logging, verifying, and recording financial data.
  • Reconciliation: Reconciling bank statements and ensuring records align with actual account balances. This also includes reconciling ledger balances with other financial statements.
  • Financial Reporting Support: Assisting in the preparation of monthly, quarterly, or annual financial reports by gathering and summarizing data.
  • Accounts Payable and Receivable: Managing invoices, ensuring that payments are made and received on time, and maintaining accurate records of these transactions.
  • Budget Assistance: Helping with budget preparation by collecting historical data and making basic forecasts. They might also track budget expenditures and analyze variances.
  • Audit Assistance: Preparing necessary documents and schedules for internal or external audits. They might also help resolve audit findings.
  • Compliance: Ensuring compliance with financial regulations and company policies. This involves keeping up with changes in financial laws and regulations that affect the company’s finance operations.
  • Tax Preparation: Assisting with tax preparations and filings by compiling necessary financial records and documents.

What is the typical day for a staff accountant?

Here is what a day in the life of a staff accountant at a large software company might look like:

  • 8:00 AM: Arrive at the office and start your day by checking emails. This early hour is often used to respond to any urgent requests and to plan your tasks for the day.
  • 8:30 AM: Review and reconcile transactions from the previous day. This involves ensuring that all financial activities are accurately recorded in the company’s accounting system and align with bank statements.
  • 9:00 AM: Attend a brief daily stand-up meeting with the corporate finance team. Here, you’ll discuss the priorities for the day, update the team on your current tasks, and highlight any issues you’re encountering that might need support or escalation.
  • 9:30 AM: Work on processing invoices and managing accounts payable. This might include preparing payment batches for approval, ensuring discounts are captured, and payments are timely to avoid penalties.
  • 11:00 AM: Assist with the preparation of financial reports or data analysis. This could involve pulling data for budget vs. actuals analysis, preparing schedules for monthly closing processes, or gathering supporting documents for upcoming financial reviews.
  • 12:00 PM: Lunch break.
  • 1:00 PM: Manage accounts receivable tasks post-lunch. This could include sending out billing inquiries, applying customer payments, and updating revenue forecasts based on recent receipts.
  • 2:00 PM: Participate in a workshop or training session. Many companies offer ongoing professional development in software tools, new accounting standards, or corporate policies.
  • 3:00 PM: Continue with the day’s accounting entries, including adjusting journal entries for accruals or prepayments, ensuring all financial transactions for the day are accurately captured.
  • 4:00 PM: Work on ad-hoc projects or requests. For example, you might assist with the integration of financial data into a new software system or support senior accountants in a specific analysis related to a new product the company is planning to launch.
  • 5:00 PM: Wrap up the day’s work. This is when you review your checklist, set reminders for pending tasks, and prepare any notes for meetings or activities scheduled for the next day.
  • 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM: Before heading out, you might have an end-of-day catch-up with your supervisor to review your progress and discuss any challenges you are facing or need help with.

How to become a staff accountant

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

Earn a bachelor’s degree in financeaccounting, or a related field. Your coursework should include subjects like financial accounting, managerial accounting, business law, and taxation. This provides the foundational knowledge necessary for a career in accounting and fulfills the educational requirement for most entry-level accounting positions.

Gain Practical Experience

While studying, apply for internships in accounting firms or finance departments of various companies. Internships offer hands-on experience, which is invaluable and can sometimes lead to permanent job offers. Working part-time in related roles, such as in bookkeeping or as an accounting assistant, can also provide practical experience.

Apply for Entry-Level Positions

Look for entry-level staff accountant positions in various sectors such as public accounting firms, private corporations, non-profits, or government agencies.

How much do staff accountants earn?

The average salary for a junior level accountant is $55,000. Please see our guide to accountant salaries for more detailed insights.

Position Company Location Posted
Senior Staff Accountant Ledgent Sebastian, Florida US 05/24/2024
More
Staff Accountant United Way of Metro Chicago Chicago, Illinois US 05/23/2024
More
Senior Accounting Analyst Sysco – Coastal Sunbelt Produce, LLC Laurel, Maryland US 05/23/2024
More
Staff Accountant Ledgent Tucker, Georgia US 05/23/2024
More
Staff Accountant Ledgent Sonoma, California US 05/23/2024
More
Staff Accountant Leon County Sheriff’s Office Tallahassee, Florida US 05/22/2024
More
Senior Accountant Nexstar Media Group Indianapolis, Indiana US 05/22/2024
More
Temporary Staff Accountant Ledgent Houston, Texas US 05/22/2024
More
Company
Ledgent
Location
Sebastian, Florida US
Posted
05/24/2024
Company
United Way of Metro Chicago
Location
Chicago, Illinois US
Posted
05/23/2024
Company
Sysco – Coastal Sunbelt Produce, LLC
Location
Laurel, Maryland US
Posted
05/23/2024
Company
Ledgent
Location
Tucker, Georgia US
Posted
05/23/2024
Company
Ledgent
Location
Sonoma, California US
Posted
05/23/2024
Company
Leon County Sheriff’s Office
Location
Tallahassee, Florida US
Posted
05/22/2024
Company
Nexstar Media Group
Location
Indianapolis, Indiana US
Posted
05/22/2024
Company
Ledgent
Location
Houston, Texas US
Posted
05/22/2024