The number of jobs in the high paying field of accounting is growing 10% faster in Arizona than the national average. The Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics expects a growth rate of 23% in the number of accounting jobs in Arizona between 2012 and 2022. They project that this level of growth should generate 1,037 accounting jobs in the state on average each year during this time frame.
While most accounting is conducted with a high degree of confidentiality, the work of forensic accountants frequently ends up in the public eye. Such was the case for the $166 million Mathon Ponzi scheme run by two men from Arizona and one from Texas. These men preyed on members of their church—the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—between 2002 and 2005 defrauding them of millions of dollars under the guise of low risk, high return investments. The three defendants were sentenced to lengthy prison terms in 2013 thanks to the investigative skills of Arizona-based forensic accountants.
The Arizona Office of Employment and Population Statistics reported that the median salary for an accountant was $58,261 a year in 2014. Top earners in the 90th percentile of this occupational category earned an average salary of $98,176.
Accountants with five or more years of experience at financial services firms in Phoenix earned between $76,845 and $97,010 according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide. Controllers at large financial services firms in Phoenix earned salaries ranging between $165,135 and $210,375 in 2015. The salaries of forensic accountants in Phoenix ranged between $77,220 and $121,535.
CFOs are by far the highest paid accounting professionals, since they are typically licensed CPAs and have many years of managerial accounting experience to draw from. Corporate CFOs in Tucson earned the following as of 2015:
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that general accountants and auditors in the Phoenix area and the nonmetropolitan area of Southeast Arizona had a higher median salary than their colleagues in other parts of the state in 2014:
The salaries of tax preparers varied widely throughout Arizona with the average salary in the Phoenix area being by far the highest of those presented for 2014 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics):
Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2014. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of specialty within the field of accounting and auditing.