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Account Manager vs. Accountant: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

If you’re interested in a career in finance, you may be wondering whether an account manager or accountant position is right for you. Both roles require excellent math skills and knowledge of financial regulations. However, there are several key differences between the two positions. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between account managers and accountants, and we provide information on the education and skills you’ll need for each role.

What is an Account Manager?

Account Managers are responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with a company’s existing clients. They work to ensure that clients are satisfied with the products or services they are receiving and that they continue to do business with the company. Account Managers work closely with clients to understand their needs and develop customized solutions. They also work with other members of their team to ensure that client needs are being met. In some cases, Account Managers may also be responsible for bringing in new business.

What is an Accountant?

Accountants are responsible for maintaining financial records, preparing and analyzing financial statements and ensuring that taxes are paid on time. They may work for a company in an accounting department or they may be self-employed. Accountants typically have a degree in accounting or a related field. Some Accountants are certified public accountants (CPAs), which requires passing an exam. Accountants use accounting software to track financial transactions and prepare reports. They also use spreadsheets to analyze data and look for trends.

Account Manager vs. Accountant

Here are the main differences between an account manager and an accountant.

Job Duties

Accountants perform a variety of tasks, depending on their experience level and the type of firm they work for. Entry-level accountants may take care of bookkeeping, which involves recording financial transactions, calculating them and entering the data into databases. Other typical duties include taking financial statements, preparing tax returns and filing them, managing financial records and advising clients on financial matters.

In contrast, account managers may take on different responsibilities at each stage in their careers. Entry-level account managers may conduct research and provide recommendations to clients. More experienced account managers may manage entire accounts, overseeing client relationships and providing guidance on more complex projects. They may also guide teams of employees in different departments to create quality products and services.

Job Requirements

To become an accountant or account manager, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business administration or a related field. For consideration in more advanced positions, it may help to pursue a master’s degree, but it is not a prerequisite for either position.

In addition to college, both professions may continue education through additional certifications. A CPA license, which teaches accountants how to file taxes, is accredited through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and offered as a national exam. A Certified Management Accountant (CMA) license allows account managers to advise clients on financial decision-making. Certifications are not mandatory in either position but allow for more growth opportunities and can be an outlet for gaining more experience in the financial field through extensive training hours.

Work Environment

Accountants work in a variety of environments, including offices and other professional settings. They may also travel to clients’ locations or attend conferences to learn about new accounting practices. Accountants often spend long hours at their desks working on complex projects.

Account managers typically work in an office environment with colleagues who support them in achieving their goals for the company. They may also travel to meet with clients and attend meetings. Account managers usually have more interaction with people than accountants do.


The specific skills used on the job by an account manager and an accountant can differ depending on the company they work for and the products or services they sell. However, both roles typically require excellent communication skills, as they need to be able to explain financial concepts to clients and colleagues who may not have a background in finance. They also both need strong organizational skills to keep track of multiple clients’ finances and deadlines.

An account manager may need more sales skills than an accountant, as they may be responsible for bringing in new business. They may also need to have a deep understanding of the products or services their company offers and how those can benefit potential clients. An accountant needs analytical skills to perform their job duties, such as reviewing financial statements and identifying trends. They also use mathematical skills to calculate things like taxes owed and interest rates.


Account managers can earn an average salary of $75,495 per year, while accountants can earn an average salary of $68,239 per year. Both of these average salaries may vary depending on the size of the company at which you work, location of your job and the level of experience you have prior to pursuing either position.


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