Salary and Demand

Every business, organization and overpaid celebrity needs a CPA.

From the smallest start-ups to the biggest government agencies to the Paris Hiltons of the world, every moneymaking body requires the skills of a CPA. The CPA credential is highly respected and internationally recognized. To a potential employer, it means high ethical standards, valuable experience, a superior education and crazy good skills. And employers are willing to pay for that.

The getting is good

Take a look at the average salaries for college graduates in public and private accounting. Keep in mind if you also have a CPA license, you’ll make 10-15% more when you start out.

Employer Jr. Level (0 - 3 yrs.) Sr. Level (4 - 6 yrs.)
Public Accounting (large firm) $63,250-$83,250 $78,500-$106,500
Public Accounting (medium firm) $56,500-$67,750 $70,500-$96,000
Public Accounting (small firm) $51,500-$60,500 $63,750-$81,500
Corporate Accounting (large co.) $53,750-$69,500 $68,750-$87,750
Corporate Accounting (medium co.) $49,250-$65,250 $61,250-$79,750
Corporate Accounting (small co.) $45,000-$59,000 $57,500-$70,000

Serious earning potential over time gives CPAs great job security. Here are some examples of upper-level salaries for managers in corporate accounting:

Position Large Co. Small to Medium Co.
Chief Financial Officer $207,000-$465,750 $105,250-$208,750
Corporate Controller $140,000-$224,750 $92,000-$161,250
Tax Manager $112,000-$158,250 $88,000-$124,750

(Geographic region, experience, education, CPA certification and company size each play a role in determining salary.)

You’re hired

CPAs are consistently well paid because they’re in high demand. And when you’re in high demand, you can count on career stability, a competitive salary and lots of chances to advance. Just how popular will CPAs be in the future? The Department of Labor and Statistics predicts employment of accountants and auditors will grow faster than average for all occupations through the year 2016, mainly because accounting and auditing regulations are getting stricter and the economy will continue to expand around the globe. The best job opportunities will be for accountants and auditors who have an accounting degree and CPA license.

CPAs are needed anywhere and everywhere. Here’s what you can expect to be paid starting out where you live:

Boston $41,758-$61,788
New York $45,590-$67,458
Miami $40,660-$60,163
Chicago $40,660-$60,163
Denver $39,078-$57,823
San Diego $41,135-$60,067
Dallas $38,885-$57,537


Wondering how much dough you could be rolling in as an accountant? Find out.