Plant accountants work as in-house accountants and bookkeepers to manufacturing plants. Their job responsibilities do not differ significantly from general accountants, although previous experience with a plant is often sought by employers. Positions in this field are nationwide but are more plentiful in midwest states like Indiana and Michigan because those areas have a disproportionate number of plants.
Education and Qualifications
Plant accountants must have a bachelor's degree in accounting. Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certifications are required. A master's degree in accounting, which can take the form of either a Master's in Public Accounting (MPA) or a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis in accounting is sometimes preferred.
Plant accountants balance the finances of manufacturing plants. The job includes keeping track of revenue and expenses, balancing bank accounts at the end of the month and the year, preparing budgets, reporting finances to a parent company and preparing tax returns.
They may also be responsible for processing invoices from contractors and working with the payroll and human resources departments to configure and maintain employee and new hire payroll. They may submit invoices to other companies for services rendered by the plant.
Because the financial practices of a plant can be specific to the industry, previous plant-related experience is often desired. No experience can be replaced with plant accounting training, which is available at select universities, including Duke University (see Reference). The training courses are continuing education, so individuals do not have to be enrolled in a degree program to attend.
Plant accountants draw a yearly salary of about $70,000. The salary can vary depending on the size of the company and previous experience. Fluctuations in salary start at around $53,000 and go all the way up to nearly $110,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the accounting industry to grow faster than average at a speed of 22 percent through 2018.
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