How much does a CPA make?

This topic contains 41 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  weed74 5 years, 3 months ago.

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  • #158131

    Desh2
    Participant

    Can someone tell me whats the minimum that the CPA can get. I know its based on the experience and everything. But assume that with a CPA license and very less experience..whats the minimum that a CPA makes?

    #282339

    italianCPA
    Participant

    I can speak for the private industry.

    A CPA license itself won’t increase your salary.

    However, having a CPA license gives the candidate a competitive advantage in getting a job.

    And usually managerial positions (fin controller, dir of finance, cfo) in the finance dept of small/medium sized companies pay in the 6-figure range.

    #282340

    Desh2
    Participant

    Well I have completed by CPA recently ..i work as a Manager, Fin for a small co. and what i get paid if FAR behind from 6 fig. the job i perform was done by a CPA earlier….he quit and i think its time for me too…

    #282341

    italianCPA
    Participant

    I agree with him.

    Indutries are also different.

    There are “rich” industries and “poor” industries.

    Also, the smaller the company, the smaller the salary, usually.

    #282342

    italianCPA
    Participant

    Also, location is a factor.

    The same position in NYC will pay far more than the same position in El Paso, TX, for example.

    #282343

    Desh2
    Participant

    yea rite… but still the question is how less can that be?

    #282344

    financeguy
    Participant

    You are going into unprecedented times with the way the economy is. The minimum of what you will make is what a company decides you are worth.

    You are going to experience big wage deflation in the USA, so I wouldn’t exactly compare to wages of the past 10 years. Even w/ a CPA license, there is far more supply of labor then there is demand, and so you are going to have to be competetive w/ your salary.

    I would keep in mind that a possible reason why you are getting a lower salary than you expect is because the company you work for is not making enough profits to pay any higher at the moment. It may be a smart move by that company in order to weather out this recession. Meanwhile you may have another company paying a lot more salary for the position, and you could very well see that company out of business in the near future.

    #282345

    Ness
    Participant

    What about on the public side? What can one expect from the big 4s to the medium to the small firms? Just in general for a new CPA with no experience?

    #282346

    potatogun
    Participant

    For Big4 you basically need the CPA (or whatever your area’s license would be) to be a manager (or even senior now). Having the CPA doesn’t really bump your salary inherently as you have to be worthy of promotion still. You do get the bonus if you complete the test parts within the time frames ($5k in 1yr, $3k? in 2yrs, etc).

    Also if you have no experience you wouldn’t be licensed anyways, but I think having passed the parts is something to land you a job over someone else. You really need to specify location too.

    In CA, $50k starting is a normal range for new audit associates out of college. Seniors don’t really make that much more, especially with bonuses not being so great for the past couple years. Big4 isn’t about big pay since you want to use it to get you into industry afterwards for a salary bump.

    #282347

    GSU Josh
    Participant

    I don’t see any reason why a licensed CPA (1 year experience), which will be my situation in about 2 months, should make any less than $45-50,000. I worked with no experience and no CPA during 2009 for $40,800 plus bonuses. Got laid off and have been working through the CPA exam, and I’m finally almost done. Only BEC left (certain I just passed AUD as it was my second time taking it). When I get done, I will be able to get my license. I would work for $45,000 just because of the horrid job market, but I would expect to get raises/promotions after proving myself.

    #282348

    IWantThisOver
    Participant

    What is the salary progression for CPA’s in a CPA practice? In other words, how soon and how much are the pay raises?

    #282349

    msm3579
    Participant

    Or you could just start in industry and forgot about the long hours and low pay for the Big 4! I work in nonprofit I have my MBA I started at $52k I work 40 hrs a week and get a raise once I pass the CPA. I been here less than 6 months and have already recieved a bonus.

    Got to love it!

    #282350

    BShep
    Participant

    msm3579,

    what state?

    #282351

    NJCPA2B
    Participant

    The job market looks real good for accountants and auditors and jobs are expected to grow faster than most occupations.

    The link below is from the bureau of labor statistics.

    http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos001.htm

    but I’m sure some in this forum will disagree with the figures and government economists…..

    #282352

    DocHalladay
    Participant

    In a small(er) town in PA, I was making salary of $41,000 right out of college. Plus, we were compensated for overtime per hour, so you were looking at $45,000-$46,000.

    #282353

    italianCPA
    Participant

    NJCPA2B,

    I would pick the World Cup octopus over any government economist. At least you know the octopus isn’t biased.

    Private industry, which is most of us aim for (since it pays more than public) definitely doesn’t look great.

    #282354

    DocHalladay
    Participant

    And I’m with msm– I just went private. Took a bit of a pay cut, but a ton less hours, no travel, etc. make the cut worthwhile. Plus, I’ll get to do internal audit to get my hours/other work under a CPA.

    #282355

    NJCPA2B
    Participant

    When the US/World recession is over in the next 12 months, this forum/site will become obsolete as all CPAs will find jobs so fast that there will be a shortage of CPAs and the starting salaries and demand for CPAs will be exceptonal = 100% employment for CPA……..hopefully you’ll think back and say….”boy that NJCPA2B really new something…..”

    #282356

    italianCPA
    Participant

    NJCPA2B,

    Believe me, I wish you are right, but unfortunately I doubt it….

    #282357

    CPA Someday
    Participant

    I don’t think this answer can be answered. It depends on who you go after for a career.. big company vs. small company, if you know how to bargain after getting the job, experience vs. no experience, location ,etc. I have quite a bit of experience, MBA and completing the CPA, but do not make what others are speaking of… I can’t bargain! I’m afraid of this economy. I like my job so I won’t complain 🙂

    #282358

    75 CPA
    Participant

    Deloitte paid a friend of mine $55,000 coming out of college with a MS. They also paid for Becker and a $5,000 bonus for passing the CPA exams. He has been with the company for 9 months.

    #282359

    financeguy
    Participant

    what would you say is the avg weekly hours for working in public accounting? I know I hear 60 hours a week during busy season (maybe more) so what is the annual weekly average?

    #282360

    italianCPA
    Participant

    Financeguy:

    when you work as a financial controller or director of finance in industry the hours could be brutal too. And there’s weekend, and there could be travel.

    During quarterly closing I always worked at least 60 hours a week.

    Obviously the pay is much higher though.

    #282361

    big shot cpa
    Participant

    Big 4 in DC area out of college w 150 undergrad credits w no experience is about 55k base salary +1-2k starting bonus +5k passing cpa in first year bonus +10-15% salary increase yearly in ok economy (no increase last year). Base salary varies on location so Baltimore is about 5k less than DC because cost of living is less.

    #282362

    msm3579
    Participant

    BShep,

    I am in Florida!

    #282363

    airhol2
    Participant

    I work in one of the larger midsize public acc firms in NYC and im pretty sure the starting salary out of school is $52k-$55k range. What I cant get a handle on is how much an Audit Manager will make. Im hoping to have that answered in a month or so when my firm does promotions….

    #282364

    financeguy
    Participant

    There is a new report out. I will summarize the big take away from it:

    In order to reach December 2007 pre-recession unemployment levels, the USA will need to add 166,000 jobs per month for the next 11 years.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/CEPR.pdf

    I have explained this before on here, and I will explain it again. Accountants/Auditors/CPA’s are like derivatives. Without underlying businesses, there is no need for an accountant/auditor/cpa. The only possible way for CPA jobs to expand is if businesses are created, and other businesses expand.

    If businesses shrink, the demand for CPA jobs will shrink. When the demand for CPA’s shrink, and there is far more supply of CPA’s than demand, you will see the wages shrink.

    So if you believe that businesses in America are going to grow in the near future, then by all means, hold off for that great paying job.

    On the other hand, if you have done your homework, you will know that there is no evidence of business expansion in the near future, and jobs are going to be even tougher to come by.

    I don’t give a sh*t what kind of education/work experience/license you have…in the near future $45K/year is going to be a salary most people will beg for.

    #282365

    msm3579
    Participant

    One thing about reports they are always skewed to what the author wants to say!

    Bottom line, if you are an average worker you will get average pay. If you bring something special to the company you will get paid more.

    I am over the doom and gloom message.

    Right out of college with my BA in 2008 I was making $42k, in January 2010 with an MBA I moved to a different industry, I jumped to $52k plus a raise when I pass the CPA. I am good at what I do! I have been here less than 7 months and getting a $2,500 bonus.I also have great benefits, work 40 hours a week and get some study time in at work.

    Yes there might be more applicants in the job market but make yourself stick out! Talk to a Accounting recruiter in your area they should be able to tell you what you should be making.

    #282366

    NJCPA2B
    Participant

    I would not pay any attention to anything from that website zerohedge.com. It’s a far right wing blog for nuts! The producer of the website is an x-criminal from Europe who lost his trading license for fraud and theft at a wall street firm……That site has already been exposed by mainstream media, Newseek, Wall Street Journal ect…

    #282367

    financeguy
    Participant

    John Schmitt is a Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington,

    D.C. Tessa Conroy is a graduate student in economics at Colorado State University and a research

    intern at CEPR.

    Data is based on the Congressional Budget Office projections.

    If you didn’t simply make assumptions you would know that the blog publishes reports and articles from other authors. It also adds its own comments to some of the reports. I gave the link to the full report published by Center for Economic and Policy Research. There is zero comments by the ZH authors.

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