How to Grow Your Income as an Accountant

A base-level accountant isn’t going to become wealthy overnight. But if you’re strategic with how you supplement your income and bolster your resume, there are plenty of opportunities for growth. 

It’s up to you to go out and seize them.

4 Ways You Can Increase Your Income

You can make a decent income as an accountant working a basic 9-to-5 job. However, you aren’t going to haul in a hefty six-figure salary or enjoy the sort of wealthy lifestyle that you have your eyes set on – unless you proactively scale up your income. 

Not sure where to begin growing your income? Don’t worry, though. We’ve got you covered. Here are some tried and true methods:

    1. Get Your CPA Designation

Did you know that CPAs earn 15 percent more than traditional accountants and are able to amass significantly better benefits throughout their careers? And while that number might seem insignificant in a single calendar year, it can add up to a rather staggering amount over the course of a career.

Consider, for example, that the median salary for an accountant is $73,560, CPAs, on the other hand, earn a median salary of $84,594. But that’s not considering experience. Once you’ve been a CPA for 20 years, the average bumps up to $119,000 per year. (And the top 10 percent of CPAs earn well over $150,000.) 

When you run the calculations out over a 30-year career, the average CPA is going to earn more than $565,000 more than an accountant. And for CPAs that are able to secure a position with a larger firm, a seven-figure difference isn’t crazyf. That’s a pretty big bump just for becoming a CPA!

Now, don’t get us wrong, obtaining your CPA designation takes a lot of hard work. Studying for the exam is enough to make most people reconsider. However, if you select the right CPA review course, it’s pretty manageable. And the sooner in your career that you obtain your CPA license, the more lucrative it’ll be.

    2. Launch a Side Hustle

We’re living in the midst of one of the largest shifts the marketplace has ever seen. The internet has democratized industries that were once dominated by large corporations and faceless organizations. Thanks to social media and freelance marketplaces like Fiverr and Upwork, it’s now possible to sell your talent as a service and generate income via a side hustle.

As an accountant, you have skills. So why not start your own side hustle? For example, while your primary job might be doing accounting for small businesses, you could set up a side hustle preparing individual tax returns for six to eight weeks in the spring. 

It’ll be exhausting, but you could potentially make a few thousand dollars on the side. (And if you get enough business, you could eventually bring on other accountants to work for you. This allows you to scale without investing more of your own time.)

    3. Leverage Other Skills

Do you have other skills that you can combine with your accounting skills to increase your income? For example, if you’re a good writer and are comfortable speaking in front of others, you could make a name for yourself as a keynote speaker in the industry. If you become known for giving good presentations, you could potentially charge thousands of dollars for a single speech at an industry conference. 

    4. Increase Your Rates

Sometimes it’s not as much about making more money as it is about having freedom. And what better way to free up time than by raising your rates?

Let’s say, for example, that you have 10 clients who each pay you $500 per month. Each of these clients requires roughly four hours of your time each week (40 hours). What if you started charging $1,000 per month? Some clients would leave, but others would stay. 

And at this rate, you only need five clients. Assuming you’re offering roughly the same services, this cuts your weekly time commitment down to 20 hours. This frees up room in your schedule to pursue a side hustle, start a hobby, or focus on other ways to grow.

Maximize Your Income

There’s no reason why you can’t steadily grow your income by five to 10 percent every year. As long as you continually invest in yourself and put yourself out there, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to find new income. Use this article as a launching pad to do bigger and better things!

Rylie Holt