The most sought-after remote job companies are hiring for isn't in tech, as you might expect. Accountant is the hottest work-from-home job on the market right now.
Accountants claimed the top spot in FlexJobs' annual ranking of the top remote jobs in the U.S., thanks to increasing demand for these skilled professionals across several industries, including finance, health care and government.
A shortage of accountants in the U.S. — driven by retiring Baby Boomers and a sharp decline in the number of students enrolling in accounting programs — has led companies to offer more remote or hybrid accounting roles as a way to bridge the gap.
"It's an industry that's under tremendous pressure to appeal to new generations of talent to modernize and re-envision roles, to improve work-life balance, and remote work is the number one way to assure people that you're giving them some degree of autonomy and flexibility," ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak tells CNBC Make It.
The demand for accountants has transcended the finance and consulting sectors in recent years in part due to rapidly evolving tax regulations and financial reporting standards. On ZipRecruiter, the share of open accountant roles that were remote jumped from about 8% in 2019 to nearly 20% in 2023, according to data shared with CNBC Make It.
Overall, the number of jobs for accountants is expected to grow at least 4% over the next decade, with more than 15,000 jobs added each year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
"Compliance and, by proxy, having good accountants is now more important than ever, because industry regulation touches nearly every area of business, which means organizations are exposed to more financial and reputational risks," Pollak explains. "There's a lot of oversight … you can't afford the legal liability of messing this up."
Many of the core job responsibilities for accountants — managing financial records, analyzing data, preparing tax returns — can easily be done remotely, says FlexJobs lead career expert Toni Frana.
Accounting has "long been considered" one of the strongest fields for a remote career, says Frana, adding that she anticipates seeing an imminent spike in remote accountant openings ahead of tax season.
On FlexJobs, some of the top companies hiring for remote accounting roles include Kforce, Supporting Strategies and Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH).
Most jobs require a bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, as well as a certification in a specific field of accounting, like becoming a licensed Certified Public Accountant, according to the BLS.
While the average mean salary for accountants in the U.S. is about $68,000, according to ZipRecruiter data, more experienced accountants stand to earn anywhere from $150,000 to upwards of $200,000 a year.
Although Bloomberg reports that the Big Four accounting firms — KPMG, PWC, EY and Deloitte — collectively shed thousands of jobs in 2023, such layoffs are rare, Pollak says.
"As an accountant, you are a highly valued employee, so the risk of getting laid off is pretty low," she notes. "You're a trusted member of the inner circle, you see all of the dirt and get the company out of trouble — it's a very important, stable job."
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