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 June 2013, CPA salary varies by experience as follows.
- New professionals earn $34,963 to $60,466 annually.
- At one to four years of work, they make $38,487 to $64,564.
- Five to nine years grants $45,123 to $85,472.
- At 10 to 19 years, they earn $49,025 – $114,452.
- And at 20 years or more, CPAs receive $49,087 – $147,163.
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||$64,564||$57,355|
|5 to 9 years||$85,472||$64,083|
|19 to 19 years||$114,452||$69,836|
The mean CPA salary differs by location as follows:
- For states, CPAs earn $45,863 to $103,552 in California;$44,291 to $102,803 in New York; and $39,734 to $91,130 in Texas.
- For cities, CPA salary runs $44,631 to $117,446 in New York City; $44,652 to $94,307 in Chicago; and $47,566 to $127,745 in Los Angeles. New York and Los Angeles are the two largest