Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

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October 30, 2016

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Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Job Description

Certified Public Accountants mainly work in the public business sector providing Attestation and Financial Audit services. The purpose of an audit is to provide an opinion on the financial statements concerning their reliability, accuracy and adherence to applicable financial reporting laws. CPA’s obtain and verify documents, procedures and any other evidence concerning the financial statements.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Salary Statistics as of 2015

Average annual salary for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is $58454 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest salary recorded was $100258. The lowest salary reported was $40199. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Median hourly wage for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is $30.385 based on statistics in the U.S. as of 2015. The highest hourly rate recorded was $50.51. The lowest hourly rate recorded was $10.26. These figures will vary on a state to state basis as these are averages across all 50 states.

Bonuses for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) are based on the years of experience using statistics from the U.S. as of 2015. The average bonus recorded was $2429 from people with 15+ years of experience. The average bonus recorded was $1036 from people with under 1 year of experience.

These are the highest paying states for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). These numbers are based off the median annual salary as of 2015.
California – $45,467 – $101,078
Florida – $40,516 – $86,684
Illinois – $44,210 – $96,374
New York – $44,450 – $103,196
Ohio – $40,327 – $98,491
Pennsylvania – $40,090 – $110,536
Texas – $38,862 – $89,411

These are the highest paying cities for a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). These numbers are based off the median annual salary as of 2015.
New York, New York –
Chicago, Illinois –
Los Angeles, California –
Atlanta, Georgia –
Houston, Texas –
Seattle, Washington –
San Francisco, California –

This chart outlines the average annual salary of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) from the past 5 years. In 2015 the average annual salary was $58454 while in 2007 it was just $54209.21

Specialized Fields


There are many sub-fields and specialized positions in Accounting. While CPA’s primarily work in the auditing field they have the ability to work in almost all areas of finance. Here are some of the most common CPA professions:
* Financial Auditor: Many Auditors end up specializing in the auditing of specific industries. A firm typically audits many different types of businesses, it is beneficial for them to have an audit team that specializes in healthcare facilities, another team in manufacturing facilities, another in retail clothing and so on.
* CFO- Chief Financial Officer: A corporate officer for a private sector business. Responsibilities include financial planning and analysis, internal reporting and regulation and the management of financial risk.
* Taxation: There are several areas a CPA can choose when it comes to taxes. They can prepare taxes for individuals, public and private companies. They can also perform Tax Audits for the IRS.
* Financial Planner: A financial planner is a broad title given to many areas of financial planning, analyzing and consulting. These jobs typically entail helping either an individual or business entity with general or specific financial management.
* Forensic Accountant: A forensic accountant focuses on the detection of fraud. They often are used after a financial fraud has occurred to track down evidence in the financial records. They also use their expertise to help in the detection and prevention of financial fraud.

Work Environment


The work environment of a CPA will depend greatly on the career chosen. In general CPA’s work longer than the typical 40 hours a week. During tax season it is not uncommon for a CPA to work more than 80 hours a week. Many jobs also require some travel. Travel time also increases during tax season, which is the busiest time of year for nearly all accountants.
CPA’s and many other accountants often work in groups. Auditors work in teams to more efficiently audit a company and any form of financial planning requires group work and decision making.

Requirements to Become a CPA


Requirements vary by state, but in general:

  • 4 year Bachelor’s Degree
  • A Master’s Degree in Accounting or equivalent coursework in Advanced Accounting classes
  • Completion of all 4 parts of the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination
  • Continuing education and additional coursework to maintain an active CPA license

Job Outlook

The job outlook for accountants in general is very good. The hiring of accounting graduates has been increasing every year and is projected to continue doing so. A wave of retirements and the ever expanding market for accountants has largely increased demand for new hires. Currently the supply of new graduates is unable to meet the increasing demand. Many colleges are reporting that their current accounting programs do not have the capacity to support the number of applicants seeking an accounting degree. While the job market is very open, a CPA license can give applicants the advantage to start out with a higher paying position.

Gender Statistics

Related Jobs

52%

48%

Based on our stats gathered across the U.S. 52% of Certified Public Accountant (CPA)s were males while 48% were females. These numbers are based on averages across all states combined. Some individual states may have a much different ratio however.

Past Jobs

Staff Accountant
$31,566 – $55,704
Accountant
$29,964 – $59,913
Senior Accountant
$42,993 – $75,603

Future Jobs

Financial Controller
$47,234 – $121,325
Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
$61,650 – $233,877
Assistant Controller (Financial)
$38,165 – $98,851


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