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Accounting Schools in Arkansas

This overview of graduate-level accounting schools in Arkansas will equip you with information on all of the schools for accounting study in the state, as well as school profiles and top programs. Arkansas has several colleges and universities serving accounting students from the undergraduate to the graduate levels through which students can access high-quality education in accounting. Keep reading to find out more about what accounting schools in Arkansas have to offer, how to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the state, and about Arkansas career opportunities for accounting graduates.

Quick Facts

  • There are 31 colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Arkansas.1
  • 5 schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.1
  • No schools were ranked in Forbes’ Best Business Schools 2019.2
  • No schools were ranked in the Princeton Review’s Great Schools for Accounting Majors 2020.3
  • No schools were ranked in Public Accounting Report’s Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs 2019.4
  • No schools were ranked in US News & World Report’s Best MBA Accounting Programs 2021.5
  • 4 schools had a 2018 CPA exam pass rate at or above the national average of 51.9%.6
  • 4 universities and business schools are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International.7
  • No schools are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).8
  • No schools are accredited by the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE).9

For not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs.

Table of Contents
Steps to Become a CPA in Arkansas
Arkansas CPA Salary and Job Outlook
Arkansas Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison
Select Schools in Arkansas with Master’s in Accounting Programs
Additional Resources
Frequently Asked Questions

Steps to Become a CPA in Arkansas

CPAs in Arkansas are licensed and regulated by the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy (the Board). There are six main steps to complete in order to earn a first-time CPA license in Arkansas.

  1. Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.
  2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.
  3. Apply for approval to take the Uniform CPA Examination.
  4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.
  5. Apply for a license.
  6. Receive a CPA license from the Board.

1.Complete 150 semester hours of college-level education in accounting.

Candidates for an Arkansas CPA license must hold a four-year degree from a college or university accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the Board and have completed a total of 150 semester hours of college-level education. The degree must include 30 upper-level credit hours of coursework in accounting and 30 credit hours of business coursework (other than accounting). The accounting courses must cover these topics:

  • Accounting information systems
  • Auditing and attestation
  • Federal taxation (advanced income tax or fundamentals of taxation)
  • Financial accounting (intermediate)
  • Governmental or not-for-profit accounting (institutional accounting)
  • Management accounting (cost accounting)

2. Accumulate the required hours of experience.

CPA license applicants must have at least one year of experience (2,000 clock hours) completed in not more than three calendar years, working in accounting, attest, management advisory, financial advisory, tax, or consulting. This experience must be supervised and verified by an individual holding current CPA licensure. Employment in government, industry, academia, or public practice is accepted as meeting the experience requirement.

3. Apply for approval to take the Uniform CPA exam.

CPA candidates in Arkansas must have the approval of the Board to sit for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Uniform CPA Exam, which is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). The application must be completed online on the Board’s website. Candidates may apply to take the exam once 120 of the 150 required credit hours of education have been completed, provided that the remaining required hours are completed within three years from the date the exam is passed.

4. Pass the Uniform CPA Examination.

Candidates are eligible to schedule and take the Uniform CPA Exam once they have received a Notice to Schedule. All four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam must be taken and passed with a score of 75 or higher within an 18-month period in order to qualify for a license. Candidates who must retake any section(s) of the exam to achieve a passing score must apply for re-examination through the Board.

5. Apply for a license.

Once all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam have been passed, candidates will receive a “Final Successful” letter from the Board and will be emailed an application for CPA licensure. This may take one to two weeks after scores have been posted. The application must be completed and accepted within three years of passing the exam or the application will be voided.

6. Receive a CPA license from the Board.

After their application is accepted and approved by the Board, applicants will receive their license by mail. This process usually takes less than 30 days.

CPA License Renewal and Continuing Education Information

Arkansas CPA licenses expire on December 31 of each calendar year. To renew an issued CPA license, applicants must complete 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) during the 12 months preceding the renewal or 120 hours of CPE during the 36 months preceding the renewal. Note that new licensees must accumulate prorated CPE hours based on the date of their initial licensure and are exempt from the ethics requirement until their first full year of licensure. Licensees who perform attest services are required to undergo a peer review every three years. You can find additional information on the Board’s website. The CPE hours must include a minimum of:

  • 16 hours (40-hour rule) or 48 hours (120-hour rule) of group study
  • 20 hours (40-hour rule) or 60 hours (120-hour rule) in accounting/attest, accounting ethics, or taxation
  • 8 hours (40-hour rule) or 24 hours (120-hour rule)in accounting/attest if the licensee is engaged in these functions
  • 4 hours of accounting ethics in any 36-month reporting cycle. One of these hours must be the Arkansas State Board of Accountancy Laws and Rules course.

Arkansas CPA Salary and Job Outlook

There are relatively few accountants practicing in rural Arkansas and the salary for accountants in Arkansas is a bit lower than neighboring states at an average of $66,450 per year.10,11 Most accountants in Arkansas are located in the Little Rock metro area and the northwest area of the state.10 Roughly 7,440 accountants and auditors are employed in Arkansas according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the number of positions is projected to grow by 12.6% through 2028, which is nearly twice as fast as that of the national average (6.4%).10,12

Arkansas CPA Salary by Metro Area

Metro AreaNumber Employed10Average Annual Salary10
Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO1,920$69,140
Fort Smith, AR-OK480$60,460
Jonesboro210$62,660
Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway3,140$67,500
Memphis, TN-MS-AR2,990$74,330
North Arkansas nonmetropolitan area430$62,850
South Arkansas nonmetropolitan area410$61,520

Arkansas Master’s in Accounting Program Comparison

Below we have compiled a table including information about all not-for-profit Arkansas colleges and universities offering a master’s degree in accounting. The graduation rate is for first-time undergraduates seeking a bachelor’s degree, but since it is widely considered to be an indicator of a school’s overall success, we have included it for comparison. Also please note that tuition per credit is based on in-state, on-campus tuition; per-credit rates may vary for out-of-state and online students.

School NameAccreditationCPA Exam Pass Rate6Master’s in Accounting Degree(s)Acceptance Rate13Grad Rate1Online Options?Tuition per Credit
Arkansas State UniversityAACSB71.4%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)N.Av.53%$277
Hendrix College50%Master of Arts in AccountingN.Av.71%$1,536
University of ArkansasAACSB56.3%Integrated Master of Accountancy (IMAcc)*;
Master of Accountancy (MAcc);
Master of Professional Accounting (MPA)
64.2%66%$658
University of Arkansas at Little RockAACSB66.7%MBA-Financial Accounting AnalysisN.Av.43%Yes$320
University of Central ArkansasAACSB68.8%Master of Accountancy (MAcc)98.1%43%$483

  • * indicates combined program.
  • — indicates none.
  • N.Av. indicates no data available.

Select Schools in Arkansas with Master’s in Accounting Programs

Traditional Programs

Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University (ASU) in Jonesboro offers an AACSB-accredited Master of Accountancy program (MAcc) that can qualify students for the Uniform CPA Examination or doctoral-level work. This professional program typically requires 30 credit hours to complete; students with non-business undergraduate degrees can complete the program in 42 credit hours and must complete accounting prerequisites. Through courses in intermediate and advanced accounting, information systems, auditing, and management, students are prepared to compete in the global economy. The MAcc curriculum includes a capstone experience in Applied Professional Research taken during the final semester of the program. An accelerated degree option is also offered to ASU undergraduate accounting majors, who may begin taking MAcc courses during their senior year and complete the MAcc degree with only six courses in addition to their bachelor’s degree.

University of Arkansas

The Department of Accounting at the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business offers two options for students seeking advanced degrees in accounting: a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) and a Master of Professional Accounting (MPA). Furthermore, undergraduate students majoring in accounting may select to apply for admission into the Integrated MAcc Program (IMAcc) to complete their bachelor’s in A=accounting and MAcc in just five years. The 30-hour MAcc program is designed to be completed in one year for students with undergraduate degrees in accounting or backgrounds in business administration or economics. Admission is dependent on undergraduate performance, work experience, and extracurricular projects; GMAT or GRE scores are optional. The 30-hour MPA offers core classes in accounting and business with an area of concentration of their choice: Assurance and Analytics; Taxation; and Corporate Accounting. All concentrations provide opportunities for internship credit which can be counted toward experience required for the CPA exam. The University of Arkansas also offers an accounting Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program for students who wish to focus their studies on research.

Hendrix College

Hendrix College offers a Master of Arts (MA) in Accounting to prepare students for successful careers in industry, public accounting, nonprofits, government organizations, consulting, and more. Located in Conway, Hendrix College’s Master of Arts in Accounting alumni have gone on to secure jobs at major companies and institutions across the United States such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The program offers its students practical skills training with an emphasis on Arkansas CPA examination preparation. Students enhance their technical and interpersonal skills by analyzing real-world data and navigating business simulations to prepare them for the dynamic demands of the business world. The MA in Accounting program provides 32 semester hours toward the required 150 semester hours for licensure and students can select from a variety of business and economics courses including Accounting Information Systems and Database Management; Economic Research; Advanced Auditing; Business Law; and Taxation for Business Ethics. Hendrix College boasts small class sizes and a low student-to-faculty ratio.

Online and Hybrid Programs

University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) offers a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) in a hybrid format, suitable for students who wish to complete assignments virtually. This program provides students with comprehensive, in-depth training in accounting, leadership, and business with in-person classes meeting only one or two days a week. The MAcc program consists of 10 courses (30 hours) and can be completed in one year. Classes meet on only two nights of each week for 75 minutes each, while the remainder of coursework can be completed online. Six courses are required: Tax Research and Planning; Advanced Accounting Theory; Seminar in Accounting Leadership; Seminar in Auditing; Seminar in Case Studies in Accounting; and Seminar in Accounting Information Systems. Students must complete three additional courses if they did not complete their equivalent during undergraduate studies: Governmental/Non-Profit Organizations; Advanced Accounting; and Advanced Income Tax. One to four additional elective courses are required. Students who obtain a MAcc from UCA complete the mandatory 150 hours for the CPA license and are well-prepared for careers in accounting or to continue to a PhD program. A bachelor’s degree in accounting or with required prerequisite accounting coursework is required for admission, as well as an accounting GPA of 2.7, a 3.0 undergraduate cumulative GPA in the last 60 hours of coursework, and minimum GMAT scores.

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

At the University of Arkansas (UA) at Little Rock, students can earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Financial Accounting Analysis either entirely or partially online. The Flex MBA program is designed for students who cannot attend classes on campus and instead allows them to join classes by video conference whenever they want from wherever they are. This program may be a good fit for working professionals and its duration is 18 months to six years. UA Little Rock also offers a 28-month Weekend Program that is delivered in a blended format with students meeting once a month in person while the majority of coursework is completed online. For both programs, students can choose from a variety of courses such as Marketing for Profit and Growth; Managerial Economics; Applied Corporate Finance; and Cloud-Based Business Intelligence. Admission requirements include official transcripts, GMAT or GRE scores, a current resume, and proof of two MMR vaccines required by the state; GMAT/GRE waivers may be granted in certain circumstances.

Additional Resources

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Arkansas

  • S.F. Fiser & Company: One of the best-known firms in the region, with locations in Springdale and Batesville to serve clients throughout Arkansas and the US.
  • LandmarkCPAs: Full-service accountancy firm with a proactive approach that also provides non-traditional services such as bond arbitrage, with offices in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Rogers, and Russellville.
  • BKD: A national firm whose office in Little Rock is the largest CPA firm in Arkansas with additional offices in Fort Smith and Rogers.

Arkansas Accounting Associations

  • Arkansas Society of Certified Public Accountants (ARCPA): With over 100 years of service protecting the interests of accounts in Arkansas, the ARCPA provides support to its members and seeks to promote the integrity of the profession.
  • Arkansas Society of Accountants: This organization provides continuing education opportunities and seminars to accountants to ensure a high standard of proficiency and cultivate a spirit of professionalism.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become an accountant in Arkansas?

Becoming a certified public accountant in Arkansas requires a bachelor’s degree, which typically takes four years and consists of 120 credit hours. In order to meet Arkansas’s 150-hour requirement, you need to complete another 30 hours in accounting-specific study. Depending on the method you choose, you could complete an advanced degree in as little as one year. You will also need to accumulate a year of supervised experience and pass the CPA exam. From the start of your undergraduate studies, becoming a CPA will probably take at least six years.

How much does an accountant make in Arkansas?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accountants and auditors in Arkansas earn approximately $66,450 yearly.10 This is slightly under the national average of $79,520.11

What do I need to do before I take the CPA exam in Arkansas?

Before you can apply to take the CPA exam, you must meet certain conditions. You must have completed 150 educational hours which include six subject areas: financial accounting; management accounting; non-profit or governmental accounting; federal taxation; accounting information systems; and attestation and auditing. Next, you need to complete the comprehensive application and send sealed transcripts from the educational institutions you attended. After approximately a month, you will receive notification that you may schedule your 4-part exam.

References:
1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Forbes Best Business Schools 2019: https://www.forbes.com/business-schools/list/2/
3. The Princeton Review. The Best 385 Colleges, 2020 Edition. The Princeton Review, 2019.
4. Public Accounting Report 2019 Top 50 Master’s Accounting Programs: https://wpcarey.asu.edu/sites/default/files/par-grad-2019.pdf
5. US News & World Report Best MBA Accounting Programs 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools/accounting-rankings
6. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. The NASBA Report on the CPA Exam: Candidate Performance on the Uniform CPA Examination, 2018 Edition. National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, Inc., 2019.
7. Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International: https://www.aacsb.edu/
8. Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP): https://acbsp.org/
9. International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE): https://iacbe.org/
10. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Arkansas: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ar.htm
11. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2019 Occupational Employment and Wages, Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm
12. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
13. US News & World Report Best Business Schools 2021: https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-business-schools