What is a staff accountant? That’s a good question considering the many titles given to accounting professionals. With all of the different positions out there, it can be difficult for individuals who are not in the field to understand their technical names. Many people who are interested in an accounting career often ask about the definition of a staff accountant, and while the answer sits in plain sight, it’s really not that apparent.

Definition of a Staff Accountant

According to The Houston Chronicle, a staff accountant is a member of the staff of a particular organization. The term simply specifies that an accountant works for the company he or she is employed by, as opposed to being contracted from a third-party accounting firm. Staff accountants perform many of the same duties as all other accountants, and they are highlighted below.

General Duties of a Staff Accountant

Staff accountants deal with many financial aspects of an organization. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, their duties may include: reviewing financial records to check for accuracy and compliance with regulations and laws, keeping track of company earnings and spending, preparing company taxes and ensuring that they are submitted before deadlines, organizing financial records, assisting management with improving financial policies, making recommendations for cutting costs and boosting profits, investigating for financial fraud within the organization, and more.

Types of Staff Accountants

In most cases, staff accountants specialize in a specific area such as taxes or costs. Tax accountants specialize in corporate tax preparation. Cost accountants usually deal with budgeting and bookkeeping. They may be required to develop strategies for reducing company spending. In smaller organizations that only have one staff accountant on hand, the generalist may have to perform all of the specialized duties in addition to the more basic stuff.

Work Environment of a Staff Accountant

The work environment of a staff accountant will vary depending on what type of organization he or she works for. Most staff accountants spend their days in clean, well-lit, and well-ventilated office buildings. Others may be employed in noisy department stores and restaurants, dark and dingy bars or nightclubs, or wherever else a dedicated “bean-counter” is needed. Accountants typically do their work from a personal workstation that includes a computer and a desk. Some staff accountants have their own offices, but others must share a room with one or more co-workers. Staff accountants do collaborate with each other and company execs from time to time, but most of the work can be done independently.

Related Resource: Accounting Manager

Earnings of Staff Accountants

Every company knows the value of a good staff accountant. That’s why they pay accordingly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average annual salary for an accountant in 2012 as $63,530. Entry-level staff accountants will bring home closer to $40,000 per year, while senior accountants and accountant managers are able to rake in more than $100,000 per year. Experience and work location are responsible for the huge variation in earnings.

As you now know, staff accountants are internal employees of their organizations. They are not contracted from other companies. The duties of staff accountants vary depending on their specialties, but all are responsible for reviewing and submitting financial records.