Summary Guide for

Accountants and Auditors in California

May also be called: Staff Accountants; Certified Public Accountants (CPA); General Accountants; Accounting Managers; Business Analysts; Cost Accountants; Internal Auditors; Auditors-in-Charge; Assurance Managers; Assurance Seniors; Financial Auditors; and Revenue Tax Specialists

Specialties within this occupation include: Auditors

What Would I Do?

Accountants and Auditors help to ensure that the nation’s firms are run more efficiently, its public records are kept more accurately, and its taxes are paid properly and on time. They examine, analyze, and interpret accounting records for the purpose of giving advice or preparing financial statements. They use a variety of computer programs, such as accounting, compliance, financial analysis, and tax preparation software.

Most Accountants and Auditors work in a comfortable, well-lit office setting. Self-employed Accountants may work from home. Accountants and Auditors employed by public accounting firms and government agencies may travel frequently to perform audits at branches of their firm, in clients’ places of business, or in government facilities.

The work can be stressful, especially during tax season when the hours are long and the clients numerous.

Accountants and Auditors who work for government, health care, and service industries often belong to unions such as the Service Employees International Union.

Will This Job Fit Me?

People who like to work independently; who perform well under pressure, comprehend information quickly, and possess good analytical and communication skills would like this work.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

The variation in salaries for Accountants and Auditors reflects differences in size of firm, location, level of education, and professional credentials. Earnings often exceed $100,000 annually for CPAs who work in large, well-established firms, or who are partners in successful companies.

The median wage in 2018 for Accountants and Auditors in California is $76,678 annually, or $36.86 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2018Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2018 at Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Hourly Wages for 2018Low
(25th percentile)
(50th percentile)
(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2018 at Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Benefits generally include vacation, sick leave, group health insurance, and retirement plans. Some companies offer profit-sharing plans. Self-employed Accountants will need to pay for their own medical and dental insurance. CPA firms often pay for CPA exams, continuing education courses, and professional society membership dues.

What is the Job Outlook?

Growth in this occupation is driven by the increasing number of businesses and scrutiny of company finances, as well as the constant change of financial laws and regulations. In addition to openings resulting from growth, the need to replace Accountants and Auditors who retire or transfer to other occupations will produce numerous job openings in this large occupation.

How Do I Qualify?

There are several paths to qualify for the job of Accountant or Auditor in California. Employers almost always require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree with a major in accounting or a related field. Those who wish to be Certified Public Accountants must qualify for and successfully pass a multi-part exam given by the California Board of Accountancy.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Accountants often find jobs through listings posted on job sites or through newspaper advertisements. Some get leads through their associations, at campus career centers, or by attending job fairs. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Accountants and Auditors

The California Occupational Guides are a product of:
The California Employment Development Department
Labor Market Information Division

Printed on Friday, August 17, 2018