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What Is a Senior Accountant? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.

A senior accountant handles a variety of tasks related to preparing, collecting, organizing and maintaining a company’s financial documentation. Here’s what to know about a senior accountant’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.


What Is a Senior Accountant?

A senior accountant is a financial professional who manages and analyzes a company’s financial records to ensure compliance. This position typically requires certifications along with multiple years of professional accounting experience.


What Do Senior Accountants Do?

Senior accountants manage several key financial duties, including recording expenses, reconciling accounts, reviewing financial statements and identifying discrepancies and non-compliance issues.

Senior Accountant Responsibilities

  • Analyze financial records.
  • Draft financial reports.
  • Mentor and train accounting staff.
  • Review the work of other accountants to ensure accuracy.
  • Identify and report financial discrepancies and non-compliance issues.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of Senior Accountants

  • Organize financial records.
  • Reconcile account balances.
  • Delegate accounting responsibilities.
  • Prepare tax documents.
  • Assist with internal audits.

Senior Accountants Within a Company

Senior accountants often work alongside junior and staff accountants and may decide how to distribute tasks across the accounting team. They usually answer to either the controller or the company’s chief financial officer.

Importance of Senior Accountants

Senior accountants bring a variety of skills, such as data analysis, that allow them to understand and identify patterns within financial documentation. Their years of experience have also prepared them to coach less experienced accountants and ensure accuracy in their work.

What does an accountant do and why is it so important? | Video: UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School


What Skills Are Needed to Be a Senior Accountant?

Qualifications to Be a Senior Accountant

  • Knowledge of accounting principles and best practices.
  • Management experience.
  • Understanding of how to draft financial statements and maintain organized documentation.
  • Strong analytical skills.
  • Familiarity with accounting tools and software.

Senior Accountant Prerequisites

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting or a similar concentration.
  • Many employers also prefer the person in this role to hold a master’s degree.
  • Likely need Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant credentials.

Senior Accountant Hard Skills

  • Drafting financial reports.
  • Bookkeeping.
  • Strong mathematical skills.
  • Financial analysis.
  • Identifying discrepancies and non-compliance issues.
  • Using accounting tools and software.

Senior Accountant Soft Skills

  • Analytical thinking.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Keeping records organized.
  • Delegating tasks.
  • Communicating about complex financial concepts.

Tools and Programs Senior Accountants Use

  • Xero
  • FreshBooks
  • Zoho Books
  • QuickBooks
  • Sage
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How to Become a Senior Accountant

Senior Accountant Education and Experience

A senior accountant needs a bachelor’s degree in accounting or another relevant field along with three to five years of experience. Some employers will also require applicants to have a master’s degree. They will likely have to have Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant credentials as well.

Senior Accountant Certificates and Courses

Senior Accountant Career Path

Accounting professionals can begin their careers as junior accountants and then move up to staff accountant to gain the skills and experience they need to become senior accountants. Their career path can include advancing into the positions of controller and chief financial officer.


Senior Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Employment for accountants and auditors is projected to grow by 6 percent from 2021 to 2031, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The full compensation package for a senior accountant depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average senior accountant salary.


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