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Accounting Salaries in Washington DC: Should You Hold Out For More?

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You’re about to accept a job offer for a junior level accounting position in the Washington DC area. You’ve worked hard to earn your degree and pass your exams, and you’re ready for a position in which you’ll complete responsibilities like these:

  1. Preparing financial reports, including balance sheets and profit statements
  2. Predicting future financial commitments, costs, and revenues
  3. Making suggestions to management about resource allocation
  4. Preparing budget statements

You’ll be working under a direct supervisor, which means you may not bear heavy responsibilities and you may not be required to make judgment-based decisions in the absence of oversight. But you may be required to work long hours as a salaried employee with no access to overtime pay. So what should your base salary look like? Should you accept the offer on the table or hold out for more?

Without more information, we can’t tell you how to navigate your personal career decisions, but we can tell you this: In Washington DC, the median salary for an accounting professional at your level is about $52,000.00 per year, plus full health and standard retirement benefits. About half of all employees at your level make less and half make more.

The top earners in your category make about $63,000 per year, and those in the lowest ten percent make about $43,000. If your offer differs wildly from this pattern, bear this in mind as you make moves to accept, reject, or negotiate.

Keep in mind that the cost of living in Washington DC can be relatively high as compared with other metropolitan areas along the east coast. Before you commit to an offer, you’ll need to factor in your monthly expenses, including rent, loan payments, and other items that can’t be removed from your budget.

Accounting is an exciting field with plenty of room for growth—especially in the DC area, where graduates like you are in high demand. But keep in mind that before you can advance to the highest levels of this profession, you’ll need to master your own personal accounting strategy first. If your offer is too low, simply say no and keep looking; don’t settle.

For personal guidance as you make this important decision and step into your first professional accounting job, contact the career development experts at Cordia.