The highest-paying business careers are the ones businesses rely upon to keep things operational at all levels. Whether the business is small, mid-size or large, these roles are needed to ensure things are efficient and effective at a global level. As business continues to become tech-oriented, being able to infuse new knowledge into these business careers could create new opportunities.
Most, if not all of these roles can be found within large organizations. Some of these are also roles that can be done if the individual wants to work within their own company. Marketing analysts, tax accountants, internal auditors, and financial advisors are just a few roles that may be contracted in both large and small companies.
Some of these roles may sound new, but they have always been part of the backbone of any organization. They may also have a different name but same functions based on the requirements. Taking the time to really look at the roles and figure things out is the first step on the road to making a decision. The rest is all about getting the education and experience to start making a salary comparable to the ones listed.
Ranking the Highest-Paying Careers in Business
We’ve listed some of the highest paying careers in business to provide a general idea of what to expect when pursuing this type of degree. Being able to compare careers in business that make the most money can help reshape the perception of the career and understand what it takes to get there. Here are some of the best paid jobs in business, in order of average salary (according to Payscale).
1. Vice President (VP), Finance
The Vice President of Finance is one of the top paid business careers. They have a major role in managing the finances of an organization and are usually CPAs who have additional experience as a Controller. They work with the board of directors and oversee all financial matters such as forecasting, strategy, analysis and budget management from a high level.
Average Salary: $152,000
2. Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
A Chief Financial Officer is the person involved in the strategic components of the company’s finances. They are the brains that advise on what it takes to get the business to the next level. This is also one of the highest paying business careers. They work with the board of directors and vice president of finance to get things done.
Average Salary: $140,000
3. Finance Director
The finance director is part of the senior management team that assists the CFO and VP in merging the operational and strategic aspects of the company’s finances. They help establish the long-term growth financial strategy. A finance director sits with the team to make recommendations on what the next steps for the coming year should be. A finance director knows all the internal and external barriers that could pose a problem for the company and alerts the senior management team on how it can be resolved.
Average Salary: $115,000
4. Corporate Controller
The corporate controller is the person overseeing all the accounting and financial functions of the company. The accounts payable, receivable, billing, budgets and other day-to-day financial functions keeping the company organized fall under their jurisdiction. This is the person the payroll or accounting departments call when there are issues to resolve. This role handles them before they are escalated.
Average Salary: $102,000
5. Portfolio Manager
The portfolio manager’s role ensures the company’s finances are being invested properly. This is one of the high paying business careers, as they are responsible for keeping the company’s finances safe while continuously building capital. Most people don’t realize most big companies have portfolios. Even if a company isn’t public, they usually have portfolios that help keep the company balanced and things afloat.
Average Salary: $101,000
6. Tax Manager
A tax manager is responsible for the development of tax strategies and policies for internal compliance. They are also responsible for preparing or overseeing the preparation of state and federal tax documents for the organization. Many tax managers hold a CPA license. Tax managers are the go-to people most consumers and businesses call when they foresee tax issues. This is the person they may want to consult before going to see their accountant.
7. Finance Manager
A finance manager is responsible for maintaining the health of the organization. They produce the financial reports, develop strategies, plans and direction for the long-term goals of the organization in a financial capacity. They are also responsible for handling direct investment activities. They work with the portfolio manager to ensure the initiatives are carried out.
Average Salary: $98,700
8. Financial Controller
A financial controller helps ensure the business is operating effectively from a financial standpoint. They monitor all internal controls and accounting procedures. This position reports to the executive team and usually works directly under the corporate controller. The financial controller works with a number of divisions and reports the information to the corporate controller to ensure the senior management team is aware of what is going on.
Average Salary: $89,400
9. Financial Advisor
A financial advisor usually works within the company’s benefits department to assess the needs of employees. They assist with investments, insurance decisions and tax laws to plan for short and long-term goals. They help come up with a strategy to meet client goals that can help them in the future. Larger companies have in-house financial advisors where employees can meet with them at their discretion.
Average Salary: $88,000
10. Business Technology Manager
A business technology manager is someone who helps develop, coordinate and supervise the IT department and their operations. They are responsible for ensuring all systems are working correctly, create manuals and training components for employees, and monitoring the internal functions of the system infrastructure. Companies need this role to make sure they are being compliant, all patches, software and hardware upgrades are taken care of, and employees have the equipment they need to handle the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Average Salary: $84,200
11. Financial / Securities / Investments Analyst
A financial securities analyst gathers data about securities, corporate strategies, financial markets, the economy and companies for interpretation. In many cases they are known as financial analysts, investment analysts, or securities analysts. Although people use the terms interchangeable, there is a distinction among the three.
Average Salary: $80,800
12. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
A certified public accountant is a financial advisor that helps businesses and individuals plan and reach financial goals. They differ between accountants because they have the education, experience and certification backing them. They are trusted members of the team, advising on major decisions. Most CFOs and many vice presidents of finance are CPAs.
Average Salary: $77,300
13. Payroll Manager
A payroll manager is responsible for updating the payroll records of the organization; reviewing and approving any employee exemption changes; deductions; insurance coverage; job titles and transfers within the organization. They are responsible for the coordination of payroll, issuing paychecks and electronic transfers. The payroll manager is responsible for all employees working in the department and usually reports to the CFO.
Average Salary: $72,700
14. Accounting Supervisor
The accounting supervisor coordinates and oversees the accounting department within the organization. They handle accounts payable, receivable, invoices, cash receipts and any transfers within the department. They lead the department, keeping abreast of all accounting and fiscal procedures. They are responsible for knowing if there are any upcoming changes and usually interview, hire, train and discharge employees in the department.
Average Salary: $69,200
15. Supply Chain Analyst
This role is responsible for the collection of data to analyze and determine where improvement can be made in the supply chain operations of the company. They report their findings to the management team to ensure the company is in a good position to meet the demands of the company while streamlining processes.
Average Salary: $67,100
16. Internal Auditor
An internal auditor review the business processes of the company and determines if there is any risk present. They also evaluate the current risk management procedures, making changes or strengthening the policies to prevent fraud or theft of the company’s assets. Internal auditors know every cent going in and out of the company and why. They are ultimately responsible for reporting the information to the senior team to ensure they are in compliance with the law.
Average Salary: $65,300
17. Marketing Analyst
This role is also known as a market research analyst. They assist companies and organizations in making effective decisions on which products and services are best to sell, the target customer base, and pricing. They study market conditions, how the competitor operates, and consumer behavior to drive their recommendations. Companies need marketing analysts to work within the team. This role is a major part of the marketing department, using data to back up their decisions.
Average Salary: $65,000
18. Procurement Agent
This role is responsible for establishing and maintaining solid relationships with suppliers and clients. They also ensure all goods and services are up to quality standards, and the terms of the contractual agreements are met. When companies put out requests for proposals (RFPs) or need to set up vendor profiles, the procurement department and agent is responsible for handling all aspects of the process.
Average Salary: $63,900
If you’ve ever seen people in a company scramble because the auditor was coming, it’s because they are responsible for examining the financial records of an organization to make sure there are no inconsistencies, all taxes are being paid with the right amounts, all financial records are correct and the financial operations are in compliance with local, state and federal regulations.
Average Salary: $63,400
20. Tax Accountant
A tax accountant makes sure the organization and individuals comply with current tax laws. Tax accounts ensure the federal and state income tax returns are compliant. Tax accountants also offer tax planning advice to help businesses save money. This is a challenging role that determines tax strategies to either defer, minimize or eliminate tax payments. They also arrange audits when needed.
Average Salary: $63,300
21. Accounts Payable Manager
This person manages all accounts payable functions. They are responsible for paying invoices and expenses on time, maintaining expense vouchers, ensuring records and reports are accurate. This role is also responsible for reviewing reports when run, and reviewing the accounts payable register. A company cannot function correctly without the accounting department.
Average Salary: $63,000
22. Project Accountant
A project account is responsible for specific projects. They monitor their progress, approve all expenses related to the project and investigate any inconsistencies. They also work to ensure all billings related to the project are issued in a timely manner, and all payments associated with the project are collected. If time sheets are required, they are responsible for gathering time sheets and input to ensure workers are paid.
Average Salary: $61,500
23. Credit Analyst
Credit analysts are responsible for the evaluation of client data and their financial statements to determine whether they would be a good risk for loans and other financial incentives. You’ll find credit analysts at banks, car dealerships and loan companies. These may or may not be front-facing positions where they directly work with customers. A credit analyst also prepares reports about the degree of risk the company will incur when lending money to clients. They analyze the data of current clients to recommend payment plans.
Average Salary: $61,400
24. Cost Accountant
This is a financial specialist. They determine all costs associated with manufacturing a product or providing services. They look at all associated expenses to determine these figures. This role is mostly geared toward profitability analysis and preparation of budgets for the management team to create their strategies.
Average Salary: $61,400
25. Accounting Specialist
This role works with receipts and other documents for verification of transactions to be processed. They also record and analyze financial information of the company. This position works with clients, lenders, suppliers and internal accounting stakeholders to ensure all elements are working together. They assist with accounting activities and projects on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis.
Average Salary: $61,400
Why are These the Top Business Careers?
These top paying business careers are top choices when pursuing a degree. Most of these roles require bachelor’s degrees or higher. Most of these are finance-based careers, which involved taking classes like Accounting, Statistics, Economics and other areas to develop expertise in this area. Some of these roles have MBAs to further enhance their knowledge base. Vice president, CFO and a few other roles also require a CPA designation, which entails sitting for an exam through the AICPA. It is not uncommon for someone to have an MBA and also be a certified public accountant. These are usually the individuals who are in the top paying business careers and they have worked hard to reach their status.
If someone has accepted the challenge and is putting in the work to achieve one of these careers, speaking with a counselor, or even doing an internship in one of these chosen careers could be beneficial. It will provide an in-depth and personalized view of what’s expected, what’s needed and what’s to come. If already in college without a designated major, now is the time to consider one of these top-paying business careers that may prove to be very lucrative. Taking one or two classes before deciding will also help paint a picture of what pursuing one of these careers will entail educationally.
Do I Need a College Degree for the Highest-Paying Business Careers?
Let’s face it – college can be quite expensive and knowing there will be a rainbow at the end that will help pay off any loans or financial obligations is a sweet trade off. If that’s the incentive, researching high paying careers in business is important. It wouldn’t make sense to pursue a career that won’t be interesting in the end. It is not unheard-of to switch majors in the middle of a field of study. If considering making the switch, it is also a good idea to see what can transfer over into the major. An advisor can assist with making the best decisions to move forward.
When in school, figuring out a major can pose a number of challenges. While there are a number of reasons why it’s always good to follow your passion, there’s also an innate sense of wanting to do something that will position someone for future success. While there are a number of top paid business careers, it’s difficult knowing how someone got into their current position. Finding the right way to determine a career choice can be tricky. For many, it’s all about having a lucrative return on the investment of going to college.
Many college students pursue the best paid business careers because of the compensation, but it’s always a good thing to make sure it’s something that will be beneficial in the end. The best jobs and careers are in areas people love and can thrive. Taking charge by figuring out the areas where skills are the strongest is always the best way to begin. By doing this, it won’t be too hard to figure out whether any of the careers listed are on the radar. Nothing comes easy, and having a high paying job has its pros and cons. In addition to getting the education needed, there’s also the time invested to climb the corporate ladder.