Accounting Schools in Arkansas

The following page provides an overview to accounting schools in Arkansas for new and continuing students considering a career in accounting. With key information on the schools and accounting programs available at colleges and universities in Arkansas in hand, students can make an informed choice for their educational needs. As an alternative to traditional on-campus study, some students may find distance or online education in accounting to be a good fit. Continue reading to learn more about accounting programs and CPA licensing in Arkansas.

Quick Facts

  • There are 31 not-for-profit colleges and universities with accounting degree programs in Arkansas.
  • 4 not-for-profit schools offer a master’s or advanced degree in accounting.
  • Highest graduation rate*: Hendrix College, 75%1
  • Highest transfer-out rate*: Crowley’s Ridge College, 55%1
  • Highest net price per year*: John Brown University, $22,3381
  • Lowest net price per year*: University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, $8,1491
  • 1 school ranked in Businessweek’s Top Business Undergraduate Programs in 2017: University of Arkansas (74)
  • 1 school ranked in Kiplinger’s Best Values in Public Colleges in 2018: University of Arkansas (#59 in-state, #57 out-of-state)
  • No schools ranked in US News National Universities Rankings in 2019 (top 100).

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

Scroll further down this page to find more information about the top schools in Arkansas and what accounting graduates can do with their education in this state.

Schools with Highest 2015 First-Time CPA Exam Pass Rate with an Advanced Degree

  1. University of Arkansas (64.4%)
  2. University of Central Arkansas (60.0%)
  3. Hendrix College (45.5%)
  4. Arkansas State University (40.0%)
  5. Henderson State University (38.9%)

The range of CPA exam pass rates for all schools in Arkansas was 38.9% to 64.4% in 2015 (out of five schools that sent candidates with an advanced degree). Nationally, the first-time pass rate was 48.4% for all candidates in 2015. The first-time CPA exam pass rate at a school can provide a barometer for the quality of training at a school and these statistics can be found on the 2015 NASBA Uniform CPA Examination Candidate Performance report provided by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

Top Master’s in Accounting Programs in Arkansas

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Arkansas State University

Arkansas State University in Jonesboro offers a 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. 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 Financial Accounting Theory taken during the final semester of the program that covers modern accounting theory, culminating in a written paper and presentation. The Arkansas State MAcc program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB) and the school is ranked #95 (tie) in Regional Universities (South) by US News for its selectivity and other strong indications of student success.

Southern Arkansas University

Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia runs a well-regarded Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with potential focuses on accounting and finance. The 30-credit hour program can be completed through traditional on-campus courses, online courses, or a combination of both. The majority of on-campus courses required for the degree are held during the evening hours to accommodate working students. Accounting courses in the program include Accounting for Decision Making, Quantitative Methods, Special Topics in Accounting, and Special Topics in Finance. All courses emphasize higher knowledge and organizational management skills as well as the various perspectives of stakeholders on a variety of business issues. Students are not required to complete a formal thesis for graduation but must take the Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) for degree conferral. US News positions Southern Arkansas University as a selective school, with an acceptance rate of 69% for Fall 2017. The school has a student-faculty ratio of 18:1, with 43.6% of classes having fewer than 20 students.

University of Central Arkansas

University of Central Arkansas in Conway has a competitive Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program that endows students with a deep understanding of accounting, business, and leadership. Advanced training in professional accounting is a focus of the program, with conceptual and technical skills emphasized throughout the curriculum. Students enjoy hands-on experiences through business projects, internships, and other business and accounting opportunities. Courses in the program include Seminar in Accounting Information Systems, Seminar in Case Studies in Accounting, Advanced Business Law for Accountants, and Corporations & Shareholder Taxation. Students may choose an emphasis or concentration area by taking four elective courses in either Taxation or Industry. The University of Central Arkansas College of Business, through which the MAcc program is offered, is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). University of Central Arkansas is ranked in a tie for #71 in Regional Universities (South) by US News, with a student-faculty ratio of 16:1.

Top Accounting Firms for Graduates in Arkansas

Arkansas is home to many regional and national accounting firms servicing the needs of businesses within the state. S.F. Fiser & Company is one of the best-known firms in the region, with locations in Springdale and Batesville to serve clients throughout Arkansas and the US. With offices in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Rogers, and Russellville, Landmark CPAs is a full-service accountancy firm with a proactive approach that also provides non-traditional services such as bond arbitrage. BKD is a national firm whose office in Little Rock is the largest CPA firm in Arkansas. BKD has additional offices in Fort Smith and Rogers. The firm’s slogan is PRIDE – Passion, Respect, Integrity, Discipline, and Excellence, and each year one employee and one partner are recognized with the firm’s PRIDE award.

How to Become a CPA in Arkansas

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

  1. Complete a 150-semester hour education program at an accredited institution.
  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.

1. Complete a 150-semester hour education program at an accredited institution.

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 Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy and have completed a total of 150 semester hours of college education. The degree must include 30 credit hours of business coursework and 30 upper-level credit hours of coursework in 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 Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam. The application must be completed online through the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy 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 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 Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy.

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 Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy and will be emailed an application for CPA licensure. The application must be completed and accepted within three years of passing the exam or the application will be voided.

To renew an issued CPA license, applicants must complete 120 hours of continuing education within 36 months and 40 hours of continuing education within 12 months preceding the renewal year. You can find additional information at the Arkansas State Board of Public Accountancy website.

Arkansas Accountant Salary and Job Outlook

Projected Job Growth


Accountants and Auditors in Arkansas from 2016-20262

There are relatively few accountants practicing in rural Arkansas, which may be one reason that the salary for accountants in Arkansas is a bit lower than neighboring states, at an average of $66,260 per year.3 Most accountants in Arkansas are located in the Little Rock metro area and the northwest area of the state, areas where demand for financial services professionals remain relatively strong.3 Roughly 6,660 accountants and auditors are employed in Arkansas, and the number of positions is projected to grow by 13.7% through 2026.2,3

1. National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator: https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections (2016-2026): https://projectionscentral.com/projections/longterm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2017, 13-2011 Accountants and Auditors: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes132011.htm