Accountant Salary

If you’re considering a career in accounting in South Africa, salary will likely be a factor in your decision-making process. Understanding the different factors that influence accountant salaries, as well as the types of accountants and their salary ranges, can help you make an informed decision. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at accountant salaries in South Africa, including entry-level salaries and salary progression.

Overview of Accountant Salaries in South Africa

As of 2021, the average annual salary for an accountant in South Africa is around R353,498 per year, or R29,458 per month. This figure is based on data collected from various sources, including job advertisements, recruitment agencies, and salary surveys. However, it’s important to note that salaries can vary based on a number of factors, including experience level, industry, and location.

Factors Influencing Accountant Salaries

Experience and qualifications are two of the most significant factors that influence accountant salaries in South Africa. Generally speaking, the more experience and qualifications an accountant has, the higher their salary will be. For example, a newly qualified accountant with less than a year of experience might earn around R180,000 per year, while a senior accountant with over 10 years of experience could earn upwards of R800,000 per year.

However, other factors can also impact salaries. For instance, accountants working in specialized industries, such as healthcare or finance, may earn higher salaries than those working in more general industries. Similarly, accountants working for large multinational companies may earn more than those working for small businesses or non-profit organizations.

Regional Salary Differences

Salary levels can also vary based on location within South Africa. For example, accountants working in Johannesburg or Cape Town may earn higher salaries than those working in smaller cities or towns. This is partly due to the higher cost of living in these areas, as well as the greater demand for skilled professionals.

However, it’s important to consider the cost of living in different regions when comparing salaries. For instance, while accountants in Johannesburg may earn more on average than those in Durban, the higher cost of living in Johannesburg could mean that their standard of living is actually lower.

Comparing Salaries with Other Countries

When compared to other countries, South Africa’s average accountant salaries are somewhat lower. According to data from the International Federation of Accountants, the average salary for a qualified accountant in the United States is around $80,000 per year, while in the United Kingdom it is around £50,000 per year.

However, it’s important to consider the cost of living in South Africa, which can be significantly lower than in other countries. For example, while the average salary for an accountant in Australia may be higher than in South Africa, the cost of living in Australia is also much higher, particularly in major cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

Additionally, salaries can vary widely based on industry, location, and specialization. For example, an accountant working in the mining industry may earn a higher salary than one working in the retail industry, while an accountant with expertise in tax law may earn more than one with a general accounting background.

Understanding the earning potential of various professions is crucial for financial planning. Discover which roles, including accounting, are among the highest paying jobs in South Africa here.

Types of Accountants and Their Salaries

Accounting is an essential aspect of any business, and there are several different types of accountants in South Africa, each with their own specific roles and responsibilities. In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the most common types of accountants and their salaries.

Chartered Accountants (CAs)

Chartered Accountants (CAs) are highly qualified and specialized accountants who have completed a rigorous training program and passed a series of exams. They are experts in financial reporting, tax planning, and auditing, and are highly sought after in the business world. As of 2021, the average salary for a CA in South Africa is around R618,000 per year, or R51,500 per month.

Becoming a CA is a long and challenging process, requiring several years of study and practical experience. However, the rewards are significant, with CAs earning some of the highest salaries in the accounting profession.

Management Accountants (CMAs)

Management Accountants (CMAs) are responsible for helping organizations make informed financial decisions. They use their expertise in accounting, finance, and business analysis to provide insights and recommendations to senior management. As of 2021, the average salary for a CMA in South Africa is around R493,000 per year, or R41,000 per month.

CMAs play a critical role in the success of any organization, as they help to ensure that financial resources are allocated effectively and efficiently. They work closely with other departments, such as marketing, operations, and human resources, to develop and implement strategies that drive growth and profitability.

Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs)

Certified Internal Auditors (CIAs) are responsible for auditing internal financial controls and ensuring that organizations comply with financial regulations. They work independently to assess the effectiveness of an organization’s internal controls, identify areas of risk, and make recommendations for improvement. As of 2021, the average salary for a CIA in South Africa is around R425,000 per year, or R35,400 per month.

CIA is a highly respected certification in the accounting profession, demonstrating a high level of expertise in internal auditing. CIAs work in a variety of industries, including finance, healthcare, and government, and are in high demand due to their specialized skills and knowledge.

Tax Accountants

Tax accountants are responsible for assisting individuals and businesses with their tax obligations. They help clients to understand and comply with tax laws, prepare tax returns, and provide advice on tax planning and optimization. As of 2021, the average salary for a tax accountant in South Africa is around R297,000 per year, or R24,750 per month.

Tax law is complex and constantly changing, and tax accountants must keep up to date with the latest developments to provide accurate and effective advice to their clients. They work closely with other professionals, such as lawyers and financial advisors, to ensure that their clients’ tax obligations are met in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.

In conclusion, there are several different types of accountants in South Africa, each with their own unique roles and responsibilities. Whether you are interested in financial reporting, management accounting, internal auditing, or tax planning, there is a career path in accounting that can suit your interests and skills. With competitive salaries and opportunities for growth and advancement, accounting is a rewarding and fulfilling profession that can offer a bright future for those who pursue it.

Entry-Level Accountant Salaries

If you’re just starting out in your accounting career, you can expect to earn a lower salary than someone with more experience and qualifications. However, there are several factors that can impact your entry-level salary.

Accounting is a highly respected profession that requires a great deal of skill and knowledge. It is a profession that is in high demand, and as such, there are many opportunities available for those who are just starting out. As an entry-level accountant, you will be responsible for a wide range of tasks, including bookkeeping, financial reporting, and tax preparation.

Education and Qualifications

Generally speaking, the higher your level of education and the more qualifications you have, the higher your entry-level salary will be. For example, someone with a degree in accounting and a professional certification may earn a higher starting salary than someone with just a degree. It is important to note that obtaining a professional certification, such as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), can significantly increase your earning potential.

Additionally, some employers may offer tuition reimbursement programs to help you further your education and obtain additional qualifications. Taking advantage of these programs can help you increase your earning potential and advance your career.

Internships and Trainee Programmes

Many accounting firms offer internships and trainee programmes to help new graduates gain experience and develop their skills. These programmes typically pay lower salaries than full-time roles, but they can lead to higher salaries and career advancement in the long run.

Internships and trainee programmes can also provide you with valuable networking opportunities, allowing you to meet other professionals in the industry and potentially land a full-time role with the company.

Starting Salaries for Different Accountant Roles

The starting salary for an entry-level accountant can vary based on the specific role. For example, a tax accountant may earn a lower starting salary than a chartered accountant. It’s important to research average starting salaries for your chosen role and factor this into your decision-making process.

It is also important to consider the location of the job when researching starting salaries. Salaries can vary greatly depending on the cost of living in the area. For example, an entry-level accountant in London may earn a higher salary than someone in a smaller city due to the higher cost of living in London.

Overall, while entry-level accountant salaries may be lower than those of more experienced professionals, there are many opportunities for growth and advancement in the field. By obtaining additional qualifications and gaining experience through internships and trainee programmes, you can increase your earning potential and advance your career in accounting.

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Accountant Salary Progression

If you’re already working as an accountant, salary progression will likely be an important consideration. There are several factors that can impact salary progression in the accounting field.

Experience and Skill Development

The more experience you have and the more skills you develop, the higher your salary potential will be. It’s important to take advantage of training and development opportunities to continue growing your skills and knowledge.

For example, attending seminars and workshops can help you stay up-to-date with the latest accounting software and technologies. This will not only help you work more efficiently but also demonstrate to your employer that you are committed to your job and willing to learn and grow.

You can also consider pursuing additional qualifications such as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) or CMA (Certified Management Accountant) which can significantly boost your salary potential.

Promotions and Job Titles

Promotions and job titles can also impact salary progression. Moving up the ladder and taking on more responsibility can lead to higher salaries and more career advancement opportunities.

For example, if you start as a junior accountant, you can aim to become a senior accountant, then a manager, and eventually a director or partner. Each promotion will come with its own set of responsibilities, challenges, and rewards.

It’s important to communicate your career goals to your employer and seek out opportunities for growth and advancement. This can include taking on additional projects, volunteering for leadership roles, and seeking feedback and mentorship from more experienced colleagues.

Industry and Company Size

The industry you work in and the size of your company can also impact salary progression. Generally speaking, accountants working in larger companies and industries with higher salaries will have more opportunities for salary progression.

For example, if you work for a large accounting firm or a multinational corporation, you may have access to more clients and higher-profile projects which can lead to higher salaries and bonuses. On the other hand, if you work for a smaller company or a non-profit organization, your salary may be more limited but you may have more opportunities to take on a variety of roles and responsibilities.

It’s important to research the industry and company you work for and understand the salary ranges and opportunities available. You can also consider networking with other accountants in your field to learn about their experiences and strategies for salary progression.


Accountant salaries in South Africa can vary significantly based on a number of factors, including experience level, industry, and location. Understanding these factors and the different types of accountants and their salary ranges can help you make an informed decision about your career in accounting. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to progress in your career, taking advantage of training and development opportunities can help you reach your career goals and earn a higher salary over time.

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