Individuals and companies that file taxes incorrectly or make other errors in financial bookkeeping are likely to be subject to an audit. An audit is an examination of financial records to combat wasteful spending, tax issues, fraud and other errors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics groups accountants and auditors together in its income data, since auditors are essentially accountants, often with special certifications, who deal specifically with audits.
Becoming an auditor typically requires a four-year degree in accounting or a similar field at a minimum, and workers that receive professional certifications may earn more than others. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the average annual income of auditors and accountants was $67,430 as of May 2009. This translates into an hourly wage of $32.42. The median income of auditors and accountants was $60,340.
The income of auditors and accountants vary based upon career level, experience, technical skills and other factors. The report by the bureau showed that the top 10 percent of income earners among auditors and accountants made $104,450 or more as of May 2009, while the bottom 10 percent earned $37,690 or less. The middle half of all workers in the field earned between $46,740 and $79,470.
Auditors work in a variety of industries that can affect income. Accounting, tax preparation and booking services, paid an annual average of $73,920, while auditors and accountants involved in management of companies and enterprises made an average of $66,330 per year. Local governments paid an average of $57,490, while the average for state governments was $54,040. The highest-paying industry for accountants and auditors was the federal executive branch of the government, where such workers had an average annual income of $88,190.
Income by Region
The bureau says that areas with high concentrations of auditors and accountants in May 2009 were the District of Columbia, at an average annual pay of $79,990, Colorado, at $68,910, Delaware, at $68,950, and New York, at $84,280. New York was the highest-paying state for auditors and accountants followed by the District of Columbia. Workers in the New York City metro area earned over $87,000 on average.
2016 Salary Information for Accountants and Auditors
Accountants and auditors earned a median annual salary of $68,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, accountants and auditors earned a 25th percentile salary of $53,240, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $90,670, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,397,700 people were employed in the U.S. as accountants and auditors.