Certified Public Accountants are accountants who have passed the Uniform CPA Examination and have also satisfied state requirements for education and experience. For more information, see CPA Requirements.
Though CPAs can perform all accounting functions, their primary expertise is in auditing finances to ensure that individuals and businesses meet business and legal standards. In addition, only CPAs can prepare certain reports such as those submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to the PayScale Report as of March 2012, CPA salary varies by experience as follows.
- New professionals earn $30,536 to $60,366 annually.
- At one to four years of work, they make $37,796 to $64,856.
- Five to nine years grants $43,963 to $83,135.
- At 10 to 19 years, they earn $48,215 to $110,229.
- And at 20 years or more, CPAs receive $48,613 to $148,131.
The following table compares the upper range of CPA salary with that of accountant salary to reveal how much the former is greater than the latter. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants asserts that the difference in pay averages from 10 to 15 percent. However, the table shows a far higher disparity especially with greater experience, when CPAs occupy upper management positions such as chief financial officer or treasurer.
|Experience||CPA Salary||Accountant Salary|
|Under one year
|1 to 4 years||$64,856||$56,214|
|5 to 9 years||$83,135||$64,241|
|19 to 19 years||$110,229||$66,326|
The mean CPA salary differs by location as follows:
- For states, CPAs earn $42,053 to $102,092 in New York; $41,549 to $99,549 in California and $37,757 to $93,923 in Texas.
- For cities, the highest CPA salary runs $45,174 to $154,637 in Providence, Rhode Island; $58,793 to $147,949 in Stamford, Connecticut; and $42,282 to $129,128 in Rockville, Maryland.
- Salaries in the largest cities are $45,511 to $118,519 in New York City; $40,828 to $101,372 in Los Angeles; and $45,926 to $99,682 in Chicago.