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Tax Manager vs. Accountant: What Are the Differences?

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

A tax manager and an accountant are both important financial positions within a company. They are responsible for different aspects of the financial health of the business and must work together to ensure accuracy and compliance. In this article, we compare and contrast the job duties, education requirements and salary expectations for tax managers and accountants.

What is a Tax Manager?

A Tax Manager is responsible for the tax compliance and tax planning of an organization. They work with the accounting department to ensure that all taxes are paid on time and that the organization is taking advantage of all relevant tax laws and regulations. The Tax Manager is also responsible for preparing tax reports and filings, as well as representing the organization in audits with tax authorities. In some cases, the Tax Manager may also be responsible for training and supervising junior tax staff.

What is an Accountant?

Accountants are responsible for preparing and maintaining financial records. They may work for a single company or client, or they may be employed by an accounting firm that provides services to multiple clients. Accountants typically use accounting software to track and manage financial data. They may also be responsible for preparing financial reports, conducting audits, and providing tax planning and advice. Accountants may specialize in a particular area, such as auditing, tax accounting, or management accounting.

Tax Manager vs. Accountant

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

Job Duties

Tax managers and accountants share some job duties, such as researching tax laws and regulations. They also both prepare tax returns for clients and manage the internal processes of a firm related to taxation. However, their job duties differ in significant ways. Accountants focus on the technical aspects of accounting, including bookkeeping and financial reporting. Tax managers oversee all aspects of a firm’s tax preparation process.

Accountants typically perform detailed, meticulous work that requires precision. The work they do is largely technical in nature. Tax managers often work on broader projects that require an understanding of taxation principles. Their work usually involves interpreting complex legislation rather than performing detailed calculations.

Job Requirements

To become a tax manager or accountant, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, statistics, economics, 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 CFA license allows financial analysts to advise clients through decision-making in investment opportunities. 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

Tax managers typically work in an office environment, but they may also travel to meet with clients and other professionals. They often work full time during tax season, which can be a busy period for accountants as well. Accountants who own their own businesses may work more hours than those employed by companies or firms.

Accountants usually work in an office setting, although some may work from home. They may spend most of their days sitting at a desk, using computers and filing systems to complete their work. Some accountants may have physical requirements related to the job, such as lifting boxes or climbing ladders to access records.


Both tax managers and accountants use analytical skills to examine financial data and identify trends. They also both need to be detail-oriented to ensure accuracy in their work. However, tax managers typically need to have stronger research skills than accountants as they are often responsible for finding creative solutions to complex tax issues.

Tax managers also need to have excellent communication skills as they often interact with clients to discuss their tax situation and provide advice on how to minimize their tax liability. They may also need to present their findings to upper management or a board of directors. Accountants typically do not need to have the same level of communication skills as they typically work with numbers and data rather than people.

Both tax managers and accountants need to be able to use accounting software programs, but tax managers may need to use more specialized tax software programs to prepare and file taxes.


Tax managers earn an average salary of $112,101 per year, while accountants earn an average salary of $68,239 per year. The average salary for both positions may 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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