What is the difference between a senior accountant and a staff accountant?
February 21, 2022

Senior Accountant vs. Staff Accountant: What’s the Difference?

When first entering the accounting industry, you may be unclear about the differences between various accountancy roles. You might hear the term ‘staff accountant’ frequently and wonder what that job actually entails. There are different levels of accounting and key differences between a staff accountant and a senior accountant although these jobs may be similar in nature. If you are looking to gain insight into the world of accounting or finance, read below to learn more about these popular accounting roles and what they consist of.

What is a staff accountant? 

A staff accountant is someone who holds a mid-level position in between the junior and senior accountants. They are not as advanced in their career as a senior accountant, yet they are further along than a junior accountant. They are usually certified and have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a similar field. Staff accountants usually have more credentials and knowledge/experience than someone just beginning in the field. They command a higher salary than entry-level professionals as well. 

What is a senior accountant? 

In comparison to a junior accountant or a staff accountant, a senior accountant has more experience and may be taking on management or leadership roles. Senior accountants can expect to receive a higher salary than mid-level professionals and often take on more tasks due to their experience and knowledge level. Senior accountants typically have an advanced career and have spent many years in the industry building themselves up. 


The golden standard when it comes to accounting is the CPA (Chartered Professional Accountant) credential. Most accountants also hold a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in accounting, finance or mathematics. There are various other certifications that an accountant can gain over the course of their career such as CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner) or CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). Regardless, employers are always looking for a qualified candidate who understands the importance of higher education and continuous learning. Keep in mind that you will also need to be familiar with various software and technology in order to maintain any role in accounting. 

Duties and Responsibilities 

A staff accountant and senior accountant will have similar and overlapping job requirements, although senior accountants will usually be expected to operate at a higher level and to manage or oversee teams. Duties may include overseeing payroll, preparing financial or tax documents and presenting reports to stakeholders. You may also be required to create reports and review or check the work done by junior accountants. 

As a senior professional, you can expect to be approached by those in lower-level accounting jobs for advice and expertise in the field. Senior accountants are often open to mentoring or coaching junior-level accountants and a lot can be gained from the relationship. 

Advancing Your Career

When first beginning your career in the accounting industry, keep in mind that there are many available pathways and options open to you. There’s more than just one way to advance your career. One of the key ways to take your career to the next level is to network with leaders and like-minded individuals in your community who can give you insight and potentially recruit you into future roles. 

Having a support system is a great way to achieve success in the accounting and financial industry. Finding a talent recruitment agency that focuses on your specific job market can do wonders for your career. Don’t hesitate to broaden your social network and reach out to an accounting staffing firm for help on your path to success.

Basically, senior accountants are similar to staff accountants in many ways although they typically have more experience in the industry. There are many different kinds of accounting roles and entry-level requirements vary greatly from senior-level requirements, as with any job. At AHK Accounting Recruiters, we understand your unique needs in the accounting industry and can help you gain insight into accounting recruitment in Toronto. We have helped countless accounting professionals find the perfect job and get on the right track to success in the financial sector. 

For more information about how we can shape your accountancy career, call AHK Accounting Recruiters at 833-399-1663 or contact us here.

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