Public vs Private Accounting: What They Are & Key Differences Bay Atlantic University Washington, D.C.

If you’re considering a career in public or private accounting, our online Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting is a great first step. If you have a passion for business, consider merging your interests by pursuing a career in private or corporate accounting. Examples of corporate accounting roles include tax, management, or financial accountant; internal auditor; chief financial officer (CFO); or various management positions, such as tax manager. According to sources like Glassdoor, Indeed, and, the average salary for corporate accountants ranges from about $63,200 to $69,300. Like private accountants, public accountants use their expertise to provide financial guidance while simultaneously working to ensure that their clients are in compliance with various tax and financial regulations.

  1. According to EMSI, the median advertised salary for CPAs is $90,000 across all accounting functions.
  2. Looking for a career field that offers growth, stability, and above-average earning potential?
  3. Private accountants are not required to sit for the CPA exam, which is an optional exam for public accountants seeking CPA licensure.
  4. The location also impacts the earning potential for public and private accountants.

Regardless of whether you choose to enter public or private accounting, remember that lots of accounting professionals work in both sectors at some point during their careers. While the general consensus is that starting out in public accounting to gain a wide base of experience is a smart choice, many accountants begin in private accounting and enjoy long, successful careers. In private accounting, the midpoint salary for a general accountant with one to three years of experience is $62,000. The midpoint salary for public accountants in audit/assurance services is $52,000 with one to three years of experience, and for senior managers in tax services, it’s as high as $134,000 at the midpoint. Private accounting, also known as corporate or industry accounting, involves working for a single organization in their accounting or finance department. As a private accountant, you’ll be responsible for managing the company’s financial records, preparing financial statements, budgeting, and ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations.

Whether you are building a new career path or looking to make a change, accounting is a field that is always in need of professionals. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job rates for accountants and auditors are increasing at a faster than normal rate. By 2030, there should be almost 100,000 more jobs available in this vital field. This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen University to support its educational programs. Rasmussen University may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Rasmussen University does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

While one of the most significant differences between public and private accounting is the work environment, both have a period in the year that is their busiest. Public accountants are usually busiest during tax season, whereas private accountants are at the end of a fiscal quarter. A public accountant or accounting firm, on the other hand, provides services to a wide range of private clients and, in some cases, public or governmental agencies. However, because the public accountant is an “external” accountant, he or she is not susceptible to pressure to enhance the reputation of the client the way an employee would be. The welfare of the public accountant or accounting firm does not depend primarily on the welfare of the client.

Bachelor of Science in Accounting — This program teaches essential skills to better understand accounting, such as auditing, accounting, financial statements and bookkeeping principles. Salary ranges are not specific to students or graduates of University of Phoenix. Actual outcomes vary based on multiple factors, including prior work experience, geographic location and other factors specific to the individual. University of Phoenix does not guarantee employment, salary level or career advancement.

Individual accounting courses — If you need individual courses to pursue your career goals in accounting or to complete a degree program UOPX offers 23 accounting courses that can be earned completely online. Candidates with three or more years of experience are in demand, but companies are also hiring new graduates. If you’re currently studying to become an accountant, it’s extremely valuable to learn about the different branches of accounting you can enter.

For instance, you might focus on an industry of particular interest, such as fashion or shopping. Both of these financial roles involve working with financial statements and doing audits. If you are considering entering this field, then it’s essential to understand the difference. Private accountants may perform internal audits, verify billing, and set up internal accounting systems. They run accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), and general ledger (GL).

It won’t be wrong to say that no business can survive without maintaining the accounts. Living on campus is all about you getting the whole academic experience—from getting to class and extracurricular activities, late-night study sessions, creating new meaningful friendships, and learning more about yourself. While BAU does not offer its own on-campus housing, we have established relationships with apartments in the D.C. One thing is guaranteed, you will not miss a single thing on-campus housing offers. Rasmussen University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is authorized to operate as a postsecondary educational institution by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Rasmussen University has been approved by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA), through which it offers online programs in Texas.

Public Accounting vs Private Accounting (Infographics)

Often the work of private accountants is reviewed and audited by public accounting firms—this process leads to establishing the fact that the internal accounting practice of the organization meets the reporting standards. Private accountants typically set up an organization’s accounting systems, maintain day-to-day accounting ledgers, and ensure the accounting process is carried out systematically. Private accountants receive training in processing accounting transactions, such as billings, payments, accounts payable, and accounts receivables. Typically, Private entities, small-large medium-sized businesses, and government agencies hire private accountants on their payroll and designate them to carry out day-to-day accounting work.

The Difference Between Public And Private Accounting

Their daily job duties usually center on testing and analyzing the financial information their clients have prepared to make certain they’re error-free, according to Butts. When choosing between the two, it’s important to consider key factors such as working schedule, career advancement opportunities, and personality traits. While both receive promising compensation, public accountants are prone to make more. Payscale reports that, on average, public accountants make $76,165, with salaries ranging from $54,000 to $123,000 depending on experience, location, and industry influences. On the other hand, private accountants, on average, make $63,384, with salaries ranging from $49,000 to $81,000. Private accounting or corporate accounting is a type of accounting where the accountant exclusively works for a single company and works on the financial information of the said company.

For instance, typically 150 credit hours or education are required to meet state regulatory agency education requirements for CPA licensure. Public accountants are responsible for reviewing clients’ financial documents for accuracy, completeness and compliance with applicable regulations before they’re disclosed to the public or filed with the IRS or the SEC. If you want to advance in academia — for instance, if you want to teach accounting at a college or university — you’ll need to earn a master’s degree at minimum before you will qualify for most positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that postsecondary educators, like college professors, earn a median salary of over $79,000. The field is also expected to enjoy robust 12% growth through 2031, considered “much faster than average” by BLS standards.

Cons of Private Accounting

For additional information about Licensing and State Authorization, and State Contact Information for Student Complaints, please see those sections of our catalog. He researches and writes student-focused articles on a variety of topics for Rasmussen University. He is passionate about learning and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.

They act as a third party to review the financial documents of various clients for public disclosure and determine if their financial statements accurately represent cash flow and financial position. public vs private accounting Some accountants will appreciate this atmosphere, while others may look for faster-paced environments. These are some of the pros and cons to consider if you want to pursue private accounting.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the top three paying states for accountants and auditors are the District of Columbia, with a mean wage of $110,750, New York, with $110,320 and  New Jersey, $102,040. Private accountants are typically employed by a single employer and review internal business documents to plan budgets and evaluate fiscal performance. While working with solely one employer can feel more routine, it often leads to a healthier work-life balance.

Business Administration vs Accounting: What Degree Should I Get?

In terms of education, you should earn your bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or business to work in either public or private accounting. For CPA jobs, you need to pass one of the most rigorous professional credential examinations in the business. Their work plays a pivotal role in helping management make informed decisions by focusing on performing audits of financial documents, advising on financial and budgetary matters, and filing tax returns for their organization.

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