10 Best Paying MBA in Accounting & Finance Careers

Choosing to complete an MBA degree requires a significant investment in terms of both time and money. However, it is known as a degree with a high return on investment, meaning that any money put into obtaining the degree will be earned back reasonably rapidly by higher earnings. While earnings are generally not the reason why people choose a certain career, they are incredibly important.

One of the best paying areas of MBA studies are in finance and accounting. When working in this particular field, it is not surprising that a lot of money can also be earned. However, at the same time, they are the areas of work with the highest pressures and the biggest chances of burnout due to high levels of responsibility and long working hours.

Indeed, the world as a whole seems to blame bankers and other financial managers for the recent financial crisis. In many countries, banks were bailed out by governments, angering the general public. In other countries, such as Iceland, bankers were actually jailed for their mismanagement of finance. Hence, while professional respect for someone with an MBA in Finance and Accounting is often still very high, public respect is still quite low and trust is even lower. These are all pressures that someone in this field has to deal with. As such, being compensated well on a financial basis seems to be something that they have earned.

So, if you have completed an MBA with a specialization in Accounting and Finance, what are some of the best careers to choose?

We have compiled a list of what we believe to be the 10 best paying MBA in Accounting & Finance careers.

1. Business Managers

According to Payscale.com, the average annual salary for a business manager is $57,135. However, this is because it is an entry level position and one that has significant growth potential. Those who hold an MBA in Accounting & Finance could grow through the ranks from business manager all the way up to positions such as chief financial officer (CFO), where salaries are naturally a lot higher as well. A CFO, according to Payscale.com earns an average salary of $120,387 per year.

2. Financial Managers

The U.S. News & World Report has stated that the average annual salary for a financial manager in 2013 was $112,700. The highest earners could enjoy salaries of as much as $187,199. They have also reported that the best places for a financial manager to work are Bridgeport, Connecticut, San Francisco, California and New York City, New York. According to the U.S. News & World Report, a financial manager position is one of the best jobs to have for someone with an MBA in Accounting & Finance, at least in terms of salary.

3. Tax Accountants

A tax accountant prepares tax returns, maintains tax records, runs reports and schedules and more. Interestingly, tax accountants are entry level positions that often do not require more than a bachelor’s degree. As such, the overall national average annual salary for these professionals is $51,035 according to Salary.com. However, it is known that holding a master’s degree can add as much as $20,000 per year onto an average salary. Furthermore, many of those who hold an MBA in Accounting & Finance and want to work as a tax accountant will often enter the field of consultancy, where salaries are often even higher.

4. Bankers

When people think of bankers, they often think of the top executives who run some of the largest banks in the world. These are, indeed, some of the highest paid professionals as well. However, a banker can be anyone from a branch manager to a teller. This means that salaries vary tremendously as well. According to CNN, the highest paid banker is Kenneth D. Lewis, who is Chairman and CEO of the Bank of America. His salary is $1.5 million per year, and his total compensation is $24.8 million. Meanwhile, according to Payscale.com, the average annual salary of personal bankers is between $25,236 and $43,493. This shows the huge disparities between the different jobs within the banking sector, but also the potential for larger earnings.

5. Budget Analysts

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a budget analyst earns an average annual salary of $69,280 at bachelor’s degree level. It is known that a master’s degree can add between $15,000 and $20,000 to an annual salary. However, growth in this area is just 6%, which is slower than average compared to other professions. This means that while the jobs may be there, they are relatively few. On the other hand, these positions do offer a lot of job security.

6. Cost Analysts

Learning Path reports that the highest earning cost analysts enjoy an annual salary of $99,000. Furthermore, job prospects are excellent, with 26% growth expected between now and 2022. Most cost analysts work in manufacturing and construction, two huge industries. This means that finding a job should not be difficult.

7. Personal Financial Advisor

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual salary for a personal financial advisor with a bachelor’s degree is $67,520 per year, implying that those with an MBA would earn significantly more. Additionally, job growth in this area is much faster than average, which is at 27%. Personal financial advisors are almost always self-employed. This means that those who find the right clients could earn significantly more as well.

8. Liquidity Manager

Simply Hired has stated that the average annual salary for a liquidity manager is $73,000. However, they also report that the difference between the bottom earners and top earners is very large in this industry. Actual salaries will depend mainly on where in the country someone is employed and the type of company that they work for. This has the potential to be a very interesting career choice.

9. Risk Managers

PayScale.com has found the average annual salary for a risk manager to be at $81,797. Most, however, also earn significant bonuses each year and can take part in profit sharing opportunities. As such, the actual average salary for a risk manager is $134,304. Risk managers earn as much as what they do due to the tremendous responsibility that is placed on their shoulders. Their role is to make sure the business they work for is prepared for any possible risks. As a result, if something does go wrong, the full responsibility of that is likely to be placed on the shoulders of the risk manager.

10. Investment Portfolio Manager

Determining the salary of an investment portfolio manager is incredibly difficult due to the fact that these professionals can work in so many different industries. Many businesses and individuals rely on investment portfolios to supplement their income and earnings. On the lower end of the scale, for instance, they can work in charitable organizations to help increase the available funds to deliver the services of the charity. At the higher end of the scale, they could work for one of the largest investment companies in the world on Wall Street. In between those two lies a wealth of opportunities, including being self-employed and managing the investment portfolio of individuals. That being said, PayScale reports that the average annual salary for a portfolio manager is $85,534, with the top 10% earning more than $140,000 per year.