An Overview of the Accounting Industry in Los Angeles

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Any small business owner who has ever tried to manage their financials themselves can tell you exactly how important accounting professionals truly are.

Not only can an accountant help you manage your larger corporate strategy, but they also provide expert advice, they help reduce costs, they improve revenue and can even mitigate risk from a lot of the common traps that SMBs tend to fall into. All told, they represent the best interests of the owners of that organization and they complete a wide range of different important tasks to that end on a daily basis.

If you were to take a look on social media for accountants, you would see that the Los Angeles area is particularly concentrated. They work for a host of different industries, including but not limited to the aforementioned small businesses, local governments and even major corporations. In addition to public accountants, you’re also talking about management accountants and even tax auditors.

Los Angeles Accounting: Breaking Things Down

According to one recent study, the average base salary for an accountant in Los Angeles, California is $62,826 per year. This is actually about 13% higher than the national average – no doubt to reflect the higher cost of living in Los Angeles, among other factors. 

As is true with most other jobs, this will vary depending on the amount of time that someone has been in the profession. The same study as outlined above indicated that a CPA with between one to two years of experience can expect to earn $58,253 on average. On the other side of that spectrum, someone with more than 10 years of experience can expect to earn approximately $72,334 per year.

Based on the diverse nature of Los Angeles in general, it should come as no surprise that the top employers are equally varied. Just a few of the top hirers for accountants in Los Angeles include but are certainly not limited to ones like:

The Department of Homeland Security, which pays an average of approximately $102,000 per year.

Southern California Edison, a leading utilities provider, pays its accountants approximately $97,000 per year.

The United States Department of the Navy also has a strong presence in LA, and it pays its accountants approximately $97,000 per year.

The United States Department of Defense pays its LA-based accountants roughly $95,000 per year.

But simply being an accounting professional isn’t necessarily enough to secure a high-paying position. There are a few certifications that can not only help an accountant secure a niche, but also that higher-paying salary as outlined above. These include ones like:

Certified internal auditors.

Certified government financial managers.

Certified fraud examiners.

Certified defense financial managers.

Regulatory reporters.

All of these certifications are an efficient way to take a base salary and increase it accordingly.

Additional Considerations About Accounting in Los Angeles

Even going beyond salary considerations, there are certain expectations in terms of benefits that most accountants in the Los Angeles area can expect.

Whenever a situation arises when an accountant needs to work on-site with a business or other client, for example, food is traditionally provided. Depending on the client that someone is working for, other benefits include things like:

Professional development assistance.

Relocation assistance, should an accountant need to move to Los Angeles to fulfill  their duties.

Disability insurance.

Life insurance.

Vision and dental insurance.

401(k) matching for the purposes of retirement.

All told, accounting professionals have access to a plethora of different benefits that simply cannot be ignored. Chief among these is remote work, which in and of itself gives way to a more flexible schedule than most professions get to enjoy.

It’s no secret that traffic in a city as large as Los Angeles leaves a lot to be desired, to put it mildly. According to another recent study, drivers spent an average of 128 hours stuck in traffic in 2018 alone. Numbers like those contributed to the fact that LA is the fifth most congested city in the United States – an unfortunate record that it has held for several years in a row. To put that into perspective, it is also the 47th most congested city in the world. It’s not too terribly far behind Moscow, where drivers spent an average of 210 hours per year sitting in traffic during the same period of time.

But one of the great things about being an accountant is that there is a significant amount of work that can be performed remotely – meaning that you simply don’t have to worry about issues like these. The ability to work from home became especially important in 2020 as the still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was quickly making its way across the world.

Tax assessments, business management, standard accounting – you name it, it can likely be performed remotely with the right software and a little bit of ingenuity. This made Los Angeles-based accountants particularly adept at facing some of the challenges that a lot of other industries struggled with.

In the end, the health of the accounting industry in Los Angeles is strong, indeed. With a diverse array of employment options, high salaries and an especially strong need to help businesses improve their bottom line during uncertain times, accountants fared particularly well-given everything going on in the world. Thankfully, that is one trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.