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Senior Accountant vs. Accounting Manager: What Are the Differences?

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

A career in accounting can be both challenging and rewarding. Two common positions in this field are that of a senior accountant and an accounting manager. Though both roles are important in an organization, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between a senior accountant and an accounting manager, and we provide additional information on other accounting positions you may be interested in pursuing.

What is a Senior Accountant?

Senior Accountants are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of an organization’s financial statements. They may oversee a team of accountants and provide guidance on best practices. They may also be responsible for preparing tax returns, analyzing financial data and identifying trends. Senior Accountants typically work in accounting firms, government agencies or large corporations. They often have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some Senior Accountants may be certified public accountants (CPAs).

What is an Accounting Manager?

Accounting Managers are responsible for overseeing the financial activities of their company, including preparing financial reports, managing budgets, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations. They work closely with other managers to ensure that the company’s financial goals are met. Accounting Managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, and they may be certified public accountants (CPAs).

Senior Accountant vs. Accounting Manager

Here are the main differences between a senior accountant and an accounting manager.

Job Duties

Accounting managers have a wider variety of job duties than senior accountants. Accounting managers oversee the entire accounting department, so they manage employees as well as take part in the daily activities themselves. They develop and implement accounting policies for the company and make sure those policies are followed. Accounting managers also supervise bookkeeping and other financial activities.

In contrast, senior accountants focus on the accounting functions within their departments. They may perform some managerial tasks, such as creating spreadsheets for accounting reports and approving credit card purchases. However, they usually leave the management responsibilities to other members of the team, like junior accountants.

Job Requirements

Senior accountants and accounting managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many senior accountants and accounting managers pursue certifications through the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use accounting software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

Senior accountants typically work in an office environment, but they may also travel to meet with clients or attend conferences. Accounting managers usually work in an office setting and rarely travel for work purposes. They may occasionally visit a client’s location to ensure that the accounting department is running smoothly.

Senior accountants often work long hours during tax season, which can be stressful. However, because of their experience, senior accountants are able to manage stress well and complete tasks efficiently. Accounting managers typically have more predictable schedules and don’t work as many overtime hours.


The specific skills used on the job by a senior accountant and an accounting manager can differ depending on the size of the company and the specific duties of the position. However, both roles typically require excellent analytical and mathematical skills to perform tasks such as reviewing financial statements and identifying errors or discrepancies. They also need to be able to use accounting software programs to input data and generate reports.

Senior accountants may have more responsibilities related to preparing tax documents and ensuring compliance with tax regulations, so they may benefit from having strong research skills. Accounting managers may have more supervisory duties, so they may need to have strong leadership and management skills to motivate and oversee the work of their team. Both roles may require excellent communication skills to interact with colleagues, clients and upper management.


The average salary for a senior accountant is $81,599 per year, while the average salary for an accounting manager is $89,252 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has.


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