Actuarial Outpost
 
Go Back   Actuarial Outpost > Actuarial Discussion Forum > Careers - Employment
FlashChat Actuarial Discussion Preliminary Exams CAS/SOA Exams Cyberchat Around the World Suggestions

Berlin - Madrid - Rome - Paris - Hamburg - Warsaw
Barcelona - Vienna - Milan - Munich - Prague - Cologne
Actuarial Jobs in Europe
Athens - Amsterdam - Frankfurt - Copenhagen
Hannover - Dublin - Brussels - Lyon - Zurich


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-08-2006, 03:01 PM
texaslonghorns texaslonghorns is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2
Default College student deciding between accounting or actuarial science

Hello. I'm a college student deciding between Accounting and Actuarial Science. My school has a very good accouting program and all graduates are guaranteed positions for Big 4 firms. Our actuarial science program is also good but very small. I have passed 2 exams and I'm not sure if I want to take any more. I get advice from my brother who is a newly minted FSA grinding the winters in Chicago because he can't find a job in Texas. With all the trouble and scarifice he made with the exams and 8 years later receiving a decent paycheck of about 80k in the end, I'm not sure if I want to deal with it. Granted, my bro said he has no ability to manage people and let alone be in senior management. Another thing, the recruiter from KPMG who knew a bit about actuaries said that Manager CPA with 8 years experience makes more $$ with more opportunities than a comparable actuary. To all the posters in this forum, what advice would you give a college student with all being said? Why would anyone be actuaries when there are jobs that don't require so much exams and compensation is comparable if not better? I also question the top percentiles in the DW Simpson salary survey given the inputs I've collected. I appreciate everyones input.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 10-08-2006, 03:23 PM
GosuJohn's Avatar
GosuJohn GosuJohn is offline
Member
CAS
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Studying for CAS 7
Favorite beer: Wachusett Blueberry
Posts: 4,257
Default

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics

Actuaries
Median salary = $81,460
Average salary = $90,760
75th percentile = $112,360
90th percentile = over 145k


http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes152011.htm

Accountants
Median salary = $52,210
Average salary = $58,020
75th percentile = $68,430
90th percentile = $89,550

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm

Don't bring up the argument about not all accountants in survey are CPA, cuz not all actuaries in survey are FSA/FCAS.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 10-08-2006, 03:34 PM
Buru Buru's Avatar
Buru Buru Buru Buru is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: hating the ao
Posts: 35,295
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by texaslonghorns View Post
Hello. I'm a college student deciding between Accounting and Actuarial Science. My school has a very good accouting program and all graduates are guaranteed positions for Big 4 firms. Our actuarial science program is also good but very small. I have passed 2 exams and I'm not sure if I want to take any more. I get advice from my brother who is a newly minted FSA grinding the winters in Chicago because he can't find a job in Texas. With all the trouble and scarifice he made with the exams and 8 years later receiving a decent paycheck of about 80k in the end, I'm not sure if I want to deal with it. Granted, my bro said he has no ability to manage people and let alone be in senior management. Another thing, the recruiter from KPMG who knew a bit about actuaries said that Manager CPA with 8 years experience makes more $$ with more opportunities than a comparable actuary. To all the posters in this forum, what advice would you give a college student with all being said? Why would anyone be actuaries when there are jobs that don't require so much exams and compensation is comparable if not better? I also question the top percentiles in the DW Simpson salary survey given the inputs I've collected. I appreciate everyones input.
In my experience accountants make more than actuaries with far less effort. I knew an accountant who started her career with KPMG and now makes almost twice my salary with less experience. I did not know this when I decided what my major should be in college.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 10-08-2006, 03:49 PM
Buru Buru's Avatar
Buru Buru Buru Buru is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: hating the ao
Posts: 35,295
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GosuJohn View Post
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics

Actuaries
Median salary = $81,460
Average salary = $90,760
75th percentile = $112,360
90th percentile = over 145k


http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes152011.htm

Accountants
Median salary = $52,210
Average salary = $58,020
75th percentile = $68,430
90th percentile = $89,550

http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm

Don't bring up the argument about not all accountants in survey are CPA, cuz not all actuaries in survey are FSA/FCAS.

I think this is very misleading. There are a lot more accountants in the country than actuaries. I think that your average actuary would wind up at the top end of the salary range for accountants if they had decided to pursue that career path. The average accountant just isn't as intelligent as the average actuary. Those who are or are even close, make more money than an actuary. Also, is this salary range for the average CPA or just the average person working as an accountant? I'm sure there is a huge difference in salary between the two. All of the CPA's I know who came from one of the big 4 make more than actuaries.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 10-08-2006, 03:52 PM
GosuJohn's Avatar
GosuJohn GosuJohn is offline
Member
CAS
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Studying for CAS 7
Favorite beer: Wachusett Blueberry
Posts: 4,257
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buru Buru View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by GosuJohn View Post

Don't bring up the argument about not all accountants in survey are CPA, cuz not all actuaries in survey are FSA/FCAS.
Also, is this salary range for the average CPA or just the average person working as an accountant? I'm sure there is a huge difference in salary between the two.
Are you blind?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 10-08-2006, 03:52 PM
Buru Buru's Avatar
Buru Buru Buru Buru is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: hating the ao
Posts: 35,295
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GosuJohn View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buru Buru View Post

Also, is this salary range for the average CPA or just the average person working as an accountant? I'm sure there is a huge difference in salary between the two.
Are you blind?
Sorry, apparently I am. It's much easier to become a CPA than an ASA/FSA though. Okay, I will say that the average CPA makes more than the average ASA/FSA if you take only those people from each survey.

Last edited by Buru Buru; 10-08-2006 at 03:57 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 10-08-2006, 03:55 PM
MyKenk's Avatar
MyKenk MyKenk is offline
Note Contributor
CAS
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: twitter.com/mykenk
College: Drake '06
Posts: 8,533
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buru Buru View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by GosuJohn View Post

Are you blind?
Sorry, apparently I am. It's much easier to become a CPA than an ASA/FSA though. Okay, I will say that the average CPA makes more than the average ASA/FSA if you take only those people from each survey though.
Chiming in with some angry words for Buru x 2... although, I'm coming up short right now.
__________________
Twitter!

Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 10-08-2006, 04:00 PM
Kenny's Avatar
Kenny Kenny is offline
Member
AktŁerler Derneği
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,461
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Buru Buru View Post
In my experience accountants make more than actuaries with far less effort. I knew an accountant who started her career with KPMG and now makes almost twice my salary with less experience. I did not know this when I decided what my major should be in college.
I don't think your experience is the norm.

As an intern with one of the big 5 (it was a couple of years ago) I made more than the accounting interns in my department. As an entry-level (at the same firm), including my studying, I worked less than most of my fellow graduates who worked in public accounting and had 10x more felxibility with the when and how I worked my hours since 75% of my "over-time" was personal study time. When I am credentialled I will be making more than the average accountant I graduated with (see GosuJohn's stats for a little reference) and will be making as much as many of the public accountants I know who were in the top 25th percentile of my graduating class. My data comes from graduating from a heavily recruited accounting program (with access to somewhat current salary stats for this program) and having a brother and a SIL who both became managers at one of the large accounting firms.

The biggest difference I have noticed is the diverse opportunities availbale to CPAs. At the moment an actuarial designation tends to pigeon-hole you into more specific job roles. A CPA is seen as a more general business designation, it by itself does absolutely nothing for you (as opposed to the relative security surrounding actuarial designations) but with the right experience and drive can probably take you farther.

For one data point for accountant success, I have a family friend who was an auditor at Arthur Andersen 30 years ago. One of his clients was a small gas and energy firm. He used his experience as their auditor to become their lead accountant, then the CEO of Valero energy as it became one of the major players in the market during the late 80s and early 90s.
__________________
I am a scientist. I am sorry to disappoint you but I have never seen an elf or a troll. But who am I to exclude their existence? - Arni Bjoernsson
You are stupid and evil and do not know you are stupid and evil. ... Dumb students are educated stupid. - timecube.com
Usually while I'm reading, I'm actually thinking about...midgets riding toy horses - Roto


Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10-08-2006, 04:00 PM
DW Simpson DW Simpson is offline
Site Sponsor
Site Sponsor
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
College: Yes
Posts: 18,631
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by texaslonghorns View Post
I also question the top percentiles in the DW Simpson salary survey given the inputs I've collected.
See this thread. According to that, our 90th percentile is dead-on.

Kid, take that garbage somewhere else. Become an accountant.

Last edited by DW Simpson; 10-08-2006 at 04:04 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10-08-2006, 04:04 PM
Kenny's Avatar
Kenny Kenny is offline
Member
AktŁerler Derneği
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,461
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by D.W. Simpson Webmaster View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by texaslonghorns View Post
I also question the top percentiles in the DW Simpson salary survey given the inputs I've collected.
Kid, take that garbage somewhere else. Become an accountant.
Give him a little slack, he probably hasn't taken enough stats to actually understand credibility.
__________________
I am a scientist. I am sorry to disappoint you but I have never seen an elf or a troll. But who am I to exclude their existence? - Arni Bjoernsson
You are stupid and evil and do not know you are stupid and evil. ... Dumb students are educated stupid. - timecube.com
Usually while I'm reading, I'm actually thinking about...midgets riding toy horses - Roto


Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 06:54 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
*PLEASE NOTE: Posts are not checked for accuracy, and do not
represent the views of the Actuarial Outpost or its sponsors.
Page generated in 0.27184 seconds with 7 queries