logo

Accountant Salary and CPA Outlook by State

The salary that you earn as an accountant is largely dependent on your geographic location and level of experience. Additional factors that may determine your compensation level include negotiating skills, the size of the company, and the industry you work in (e.g. insurance or healthcare). Accountants are well compensated compared to other professions with similar education requirements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median annual wage nationally was $67,190 as of May 2015.1 The top 10% of accountants and auditors earn more than $118,930.1 The projected job growth of 11% between 2014-2024 is higher than the average growth for all occupations.1

The following sortable table provides data on accounting salaries by state as well as the rate of job growth and the cost of living as it relates to the ratio of the average salary/median home list price (in other words, the percentage of the median home an average salary buys). The best states are determined by combining the average salary/median list price and job growth. This data can provide insight on whether accounting job growth and salary potential justify the costs of attending a master’s in accounting program.

RankState2013 Average Accountant Salary2013 Zillow Median Property List Price% of Median Home Average Salary BuysProjected Accountant Employment in 20202010 Total Accountants Employed10-year Growth Rate (2010-2020)Best States for Accountants (Avg=1)
Michigan$69,020$129,90053%340703096010%1.34
Iowa$62,180$139,50045%158201341018%1.32
Ohio$67,080$129,90052%463104185011%1.32
Indiana$64,880$134,90048%217601928013%1.29
Kansas$65,340$140,00047%131101153014%1.28
Missouri$65,140$140,00047%340502987014%1.28
Tennessee$63,880$167,00038%242502032019%1.22
Texas$73,600$209,50035%1109509048023%1.22
Oklahoma$60,780$148,49041%181501564016%1.21
Utah$68,830$244,90028%153401189029%1.21
Arkansas$62,560$139,90045%6970622012%1.20
Wisconsin$67,460$159,50042%222501943015%1.20
Georgia$73,910$179,90041%383803367014%1.17
Kentucky$61,810$148,50042%115801020014%1.17
Nebraska$65,110$147,50044%9870887011%1.17
Louisiana$63,090$168,50037%154001323016%1.14
Alabama$63,910$169,90038%171901498015%1.11
Illinois$72,640$179,90040%516104613012%1.11
Arizona$63,030$225,00028%294702414022%1.06
North Carolina$68,970$195,00035%357003130014%1.05
Florida$67,450$209,90032%939108020017%1.04
Idaho$63,570$187,90034%4270370015%1.04
North Dakota$56,320$210,00027%3540290022%1.03
Pennsylvania$70,380$179,00039%59060539809%1.03
South Dakota$58,620$172,90034%5390470015%1.03
Virginia$76,670$258,00030%470303954019%1.03
Massachusetts$77,630$349,90022%450403576026%1.02
South Carolina$58,970$185,00032%168901454016%1.02
Minnesota$66,900$194,90034%273102421013%1.00
Mississippi$58,890$154,90038%547050608%0.98
Oregon$64,110$260,00025%136701123022%0.98
West Virginia$57,890$149,00039%531049407%0.98
Nevada$62,180$198,00031%8200725013%0.94
Colorado$72,110$299,00024%379503167020%0.93
Washington$72,790$264,75027%299102580016%0.92
New Hampshire$68,260$235,00029%4600403014%0.91
Alaska$74,500$252,00030%2200195013%0.90
New Mexico$60,250$199,90030%6670594012%0.90
Wyoming$61,920$225,00028%1900166014%0.89
Montana$63,280$259,90024%3850328017%0.88
Rhode Island$75,120$258,00029%4200374012%0.88
Maine$61,910$199,00031%3900355010%0.87
New Jersey$83,930$290,00029%424403791012%0.87
Maryland$78,300$270,00029%279802506012%0.86
New York$87,260$328,00027%11843010530012%0.83
Connecticut$76,570$275,00028%183701668010%0.80
Vermont$68,950$234,50029%348032108%0.80
Delaware$73,750$254,90029%516047608%0.79
California$77,420$419,00018%15520013400016%0.73
Washington DC$88,200$465,00019%13250123008%0.56
Hawaii$60,560$515,00012%5660504012%0.51

CPA Salary

The BLS notes that candidates with a CPA or a master’s in accounting degree may have an advantage in the job market. A CPA certification can increase a candidate’s base salary and provide opportunities for promotion. According to the Vault College Career Bible, most public accounting firms will not promote an employee above a certain level until they pass the CPA exam. A CPA designation increases the earning potential of public accountants because they are seen as experts by potential clients.

Additional Compensation

If you able to ascend to senior accounting positions at an accounting firm, you may be eligible to earn bonuses based on personal performance and the performance of the firm. Furthermore, the Big Four and other accounting firms provide excellent perks to recruit top talent. Some examples of employee perks and benefits include 401(k), pension plan, paid holidays, gym membership subsidies, free financial planning, adoption reimbursement, paid parental leave, tuition reimbursement, mortgage assistance, wellness programs, and discounts at some hotels and retailers. The Big Four (‎KPMG, ‎Deloitte, ‎PricewaterhouseCoopers, ‎Ernst & Young) are frequently recognized among the top companies to work for by Forbes magazine.

Additional Resources

References:
1. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/accountants-and-auditors.htm
2. Vault Editors. The Vault College Career Bible. Vault Inc., 2006. Print.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcst.htm
4. Zillow.com: https://www.zillow.com/home-values/ (data from April 30, 2014)
5. Projections Central: http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm