January 12, 2022

$58,508: The Average Starting Salary for New Accounting Grads

Accounting students who are graduating in 2021 are the beneficiaries of an average starting salary that has increased by nearly 11% over last year, according to the most recent salary survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

The average starting salary for accounting undergrads this year is projected to be $58,508, up from $52,734 in 2020. That 10.9% increase is quite the jump over last year, when the average starting salary was expected to increase by only 0.4% for the class of 2020.

And here’s some more good news for accounting grads: Accounting is the major most in demand at the bachelor’s degree level among the 139 employers surveyed, according to the NACE:

And we’d be remiss not to mention the average starting salary for MBA grads since we wrote about MBA-holders’ estimated lifetime earnings yesterday. According to the NACE, class of 2021 master’s degree graduates in business have projected average salaries that will closely resemble those of their class of 2020 counterparts:

[T]heir average overall salary projection ($75,461) is approximately 1% higher than last year’s projection ($75,197). However, specific M.B.A. graduates will fare better, with an average salary projection of $87,966, which is up 11.3% from last year’s average of $79,043. This large bump in their average salary projection may be due to the reported salary projections by finance, insurance, and real estate employers that average $95,000. M.B.A. graduates are also second on the list of top majors in demand at the master’s degree level.

Accounting is also among the top 10 in-demand majors at the master’s degree level:

So … more than 58 grand a year after college. Even though it was a big increase over last year’s salary projection, it seems like it should be much more, given that seven years ago the NACE projected the annual starting salary for accounting grads to be $52,900. Hopefully accounting grads in the classes of 2022 or 2023 will be the beneficiaries of starting salaries that at least eclipse 60 grand.

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  1. Per the NACE report The starting salary for comp science majors is 72k. It’s not the average for all graduates.

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