Hedge fund accountants may appear to have glamorous, behind-the-scenes positions in glittering skyscrapers in New York. Though it's important to make sure hedge funds stay on track with earnings reports, investor relations and profitability, accountants at these firms may not make as much money as people perceive.
Beecher Tuttle, in his piece for efinancialcareers, explains that hedge fund accountants have highs and lows just like any other professional. One of the lows revolves around salary. Hedge fund accountants with three to five years of experience made between $62,000 and $81,000 in 2014, an increase of 3 percent from the previous year. This compares to $370,000 in average salaries for hedge fund employees across the sector. One of the high points includes the less stressful nature of accounting at these firms because accounting is a fairly regular process with few surprises.
Mutual fund accountants earn even less, as they top out at $71,000 annually. However, corporate accountants earn more money, while tax accountants make the most in the accounting sector. The difficulty with lower earnings at hedge funds relates to the enormous cost of living in New York City.
The upside for hedge fund accountants includes regular, year-round employment with even-keeled hours. Tax accountants work long days from January to April 15 because of income tax filing season. Hedge fund personnel usually work when financial trading markets are active. Not only do hedge fund employees communicate with buyers and sellers of stocks, bonds and commodities, but they also talk to clients about their needs. When markets are closed, which includes nights and weekends, hedge fund accountants have time off to spend with their families.
CPAs at hedge fund offices typically get more hands-on with other employees within the corporation. Instead of a back-office job where accounting happens behind a large desk with three computer monitors, hedge funds tend to have a greater sense of purpose. Large transactions occur every day, and accountants ensure that everything gets credited properly, sits in the right account and goes into exposure reports for investors. On the other hand, tax accounting may only seem relevant for four months out of the year.
Accounting in general has endured fundamental changes thanks to technology and government regulations. Cloud computing and mobile apps make the accounting process more automated, which makes a CPA's job easier. The financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 led to crucial changes in the accounting industry that made CPAs take a hard look at how profits, losses and risks show up on balance sheets.
Hedge fund accountants may start at hedge funds and then move elsewhere in New York once they become more established, simply because accountants go where the money leads them. Although somewhat less prestigious, accountants seem to value regular, steady work and an environment that rewards dedication and hard work at hedge funds.
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