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Finance Careers Index

Opportunities within finance across USA, from big banking bureaus to finance tech startups and beyond, but where in the country has the greatest career options?

The finance careers index highlights the top areas in the USA for the best schools to study finance and accounting, locations with the most job opportunities, salaries by state and profession, and the highest graduate salaries currently available in every region.

With businesses rapidly growing and new challenges facing workplaces, business heads are investing in new adaptive technologies to power their finance teams for more efficient processes and automation. More finance professionals are adopting AP automation software to rapidly scale and adapt to changing business needs, accelerate business visibility, and strengthen fraud, financial, cost, and cash controls. With more remote workforces and vendors across the world, using global payments to power finance operations is critical.

The Best States to Pursue a Career in Finance

The Finance Careers Index ranks the best states for pursuing a career in finance.

From accountant careers to financial analysts, we investigated the top-scoring states based on university rankings, job availability, and salaries.

Accounting Jobs Finance Jobs
Rank State Population Total Per 100,000 People Total Per 100,000 People Accounting and Finance Average Salary Average World University Rankings Accounting and Finance Score Finance Career Score /10
1 New York 20,448,194 10,213 50 9,244 45 $117,00 79.70 9.65
2 Minnesota 5,827,265 2997 51 2,130 37 $107,000 62.80 8.80
3 Illinois 12,807,072 6,719 52 5,240 41 $114,00 35.70 8.76
4 New Jersey 12,807,072 6,719 52 5,240 41 $114,000 35.70 8.76
5 Maryland 6298325 2997 48 2206 35 109000 54.5 8.2
6 Pennsylvania 13092796 6060 46 4368 33 106000 71.87 8.1
7 Virginia 8820504 4555 52 3185 36 104000 33.02 7.48
8 Florida 22359251 10265 46 6468 29 115000 34.74 7.14
9 Georgia 11019186 4963 45 3040 28 113000 35.99 6.94
10 Connecticut 3615499 2078 57 1532 42 101000 31.4 6.88

1. New York

Career Score: 9.65 out of 10

New York, home to the “The Big Apple” also welcomes a host of opportunities within the financial sector, and scored top place in our ranking with an impressive score of 9.65 out of 10. Research in 2022 found that New York led the way in its accounting and finance positions with a 7.7% growth rate, the highest projection for any US state or territory.

New York topped the list with 50 accounting positions and 45 finance jobs available on Indeed (per 100,000 people). The average salary in the accounting and finance sector in New York is an estimated $117,000 a year, the highest for any state. New York also had the highest score for its performance in the accounting and finance discipline at New York University, with an impressive overall score of 79.70 out of 100.

2. Minnesota

Career Score: 8.80 out of 10

Minnesota trailed behind New York with a score of 8.80 out of 10 in the running of the best states to pursue finance careers. In 2021, research found that in the years following the recession, the total number of finance and accounting employees in Minnesota increased by 6%.

Minnesota scored most notably for its university performance in the finance discipline, where the University of Minnesota had an overall score of 62.80 out of 100. The state also has good job prospects, with 51 accounting positions and 37 in finance (per 100,000 people).

3. Illinois

Career Score: 8.76 out of 10

The Midwestern state of Illinois came third in the ranking, following just behind Minnesota with a score of 8.76 out of 10. The state has an excellent average salary for accounting and finance jobs, at around $114,000 a year, the second highest behind New York.

Finance and accounting jobs are plenty in the state, with 41 in finance and 52 in accounting (per 100,000 people). The state did lose points for its university rankings within the finance discipline, and the average overall score fell to 35.70 out of 100.

New York ranks number one on The Finance Careers Index, making it the ideal state to pursue a career in finance.

The Regions with the Highest Finance Graduate Salaries

The Finance Careers Index ranks regions with the highest finance graduate salaries.

We looked at the average starting salary for finance or accounting majors in every US region to get an idea of the areas offering the highest starting salaries for graduates.

Average Salary
RankRegionAccountingFinance Mean Salary
1Rocky Mountain/Far West$61,920$64,777
2New England$61,500$64,050
5Great Lakes$60,009$60,509

1. Rocky Mountain/Far West Region

Accounting Graduate Salary: $61,920

Finance Graduate Salary: $64,777

The Rocky Mountain/Far West region in the US had the highest average salaries for both its accounting and finance graduates. Graduate starting salaries in accounting jobs averaged $61,920 a year, and in finance at $64,777 respectively.

The Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. spreads across national forests in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. States in the Far West include; Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

2. New England Region

Accounting Graduate Salary: $61,500

Finance Graduate Salary: $64,050

Graduate salaries in accounting start, on average, at $61,500 a year, and in finance, $64,050. New England is a northeastern region of the United States comprising the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.

3. Mideast Region

Accounting Graduate Salary: $60,183

Finance Graduate Salary: $63,100

Salaries for accounting graduates in the Mideast region range from $60,183 a year, and $63,100 in the finance sector. The Mideast region ​occupies the northern central part of the United States and includes ​​Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Best Paying Jobs for Finance Graduates

The Finance Careers Index ranks the top paying jobs for finance graduates.

Graduate jobs within the finance sector are not easy to come by and it can be tough to enter the industry, as people with all kinds of degrees and backgrounds apply to finance roles as a golden stepping stone. Because of this, the best-paid jobs for finance graduates were analyzed on a national scale.

RankJob TitleNumber of OpeningsAnnual Salary ($)
2Entry Level Tax Preparer76090,918
3Senior Accountant3578,704
4Financial Analyst7672,190
6Staff Accountant5760,264
7Accounting Clerk2950,206
8Tax Preparer3447,066
9Patient Access Manager5042,280

1. Controller

Annual Salary: $104,972

Out of all the finance graduate jobs in the United States, according to Indeed, controllers had the highest average salary of $104,972 per year in the United States, with 20,800 salaries reported in April 2023. Financial controllers are responsible for preparing a company’s financial reports, which include balance sheets and income statements.

Controllers with a finance degree tend to receive a higher salary of +6.53%, and those holding a FINRA license or financial acumen skills will also benefit from a higher wage.

2. Entry-Level Tax Preparer

Annual Salary: $90,918

Second in the ranking for the highest-paid graduate jobs are entry-level tax preparers, receiving an average salary of $90,918 per year in the US. There are 760 open vacancies for this role across the US. Some cities offered higher salary packages including Lynnwood in Washington which had an average salary of $96,796 per year and Portland, Oregon, with annual wages of $91,930 a year.

3. Senior Accountant

Annual Salary: $78,704

Finance graduates working at a senior level in accounting earn an average salary of $78,704 annually, with 29,500 salaries reported. Some of the highest-paying cities for this role included San Francisco in California at $97,264 per year and New York City at $88,286 a year. California offers a higher salary to senior accountants compared to the US average of between +15% and +24%. Benefits for this role include tuition reimbursement, employee discount, profit sharing, and opportunities for advancement.


The number of job listings in each state for ‘accounting’ and ‘finance’ was taken from Indeed on 28/03/23. The number of listings was compared to the population to get the number of jobs per 100,000 people.

The average salary for a person working in accounting and finance was taken from the Salary Comparison By State on Salary Explorer. This data is accurate as of 29/03/23.

The university rankings in each state were taken from The Times Higher Education World University Rankings using the filters to add the United States and the Accounting and Finance discipline, taking the average score of every university by state. Where there was more than one university offering the subject, an average of every overall score was taken.

For the graduate salaries, the NACE Salary Survey 2022 was used to find the starting salary for finance and accounting majors in every region.

The best-paying finance graduate jobs and salaries were taken from Indeed using the ‘accounting’ filter, which was collected on 04/04/2023.

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