Introduction

Alabama’s nearly 5 million residents and businesses are served by more than 6,700 CPAs in public practice, private industry, higher education and government. The state’s largest employer is the United States military which collectively employs almost 40,000 Alabamians.

Private industry in the state is an eclectic mix of high tech, Marshall Space Flight Center and Boeing, manufacturing, Hyundai and Mercedes Benz as well as service, education and healthcare. Alabama’s five largest accounting firms employ more than 500 CPAs. Each of the Big Four international accounting firms maintain at least one office in the state.

Alabama at a glance

Population 4,849,377
Per Capita Income $35,625
Unemployment Rate 5.7%
Fortune 500 Companies 1
Licensed CPA Firms 766

Accounting Programs in Alabama

Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in Alabama, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The annual mean wage for accountants and auditors in Alabama is $66,000 which is 40% higher then the statewide annual mean income. The Department of Labor predicts an 11% increase in demand for CPAs through the year 2022. This equates to an net increase in the number of CPA positions of more than 735.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

15,970 Employees2012
17,670 Employees2022
Alabama 9.6% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Alabama Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$35,180
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

$36,840
$39,850

Credit Counselors

$44,730
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

$58,670
$63,660

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$53,390
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

$65,960
$72,500

Budget Analysts

$70,690
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

$109,190
$99,920

Actuaries

$89,820
$107,740

Financial Managers

$119,970
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Dothan
    $89,980
  2. Huntsville
    $71,840
  3. Decatur
    $67,770
  4. Birmingham-Hoover
    $67,150
  5. Tuscaloosa
    $66,990
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Alabama

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Carr, Riggs & IngramEnterprise, AL$161
2Warren AverettBirmingham, AL$123
3Jackson Thornton & Co.Montgomery, AL$26
4Barfield, Murphy, Shank & SmithBirmingham, AL$16

Accounting Today named these firms among the highest performing in a multi-state region. Rankings as based upon reported net revenues from 2014. Source: Accounting today "Top 100 Firms"

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Alabama

CPA who sat for and passed the CPA exam prior to 1994 are not required to meet the current higher standards for postsecondary education. Licensing is administered by the Alabama State Board of Accountancy.

In order to be eligible to sit for the CPA exam candidates’ postsecondary education credits must meet the requirements set out by the state board of accountancy. Education credit requirements can be found in the Alabama State Board of Public Accountancy Administrative Code chapter 30-X-4 page 4-4.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Alabama

In order to become a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Alabama candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • U.S. Citizen or legal resident
  • Completed 150 semester hours of college and earned at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Pass the state board of accountancy CPA exam

Alabama will grant reciprocal license certificates to individuals who have met the all of the requirements of another state including having passed the CPA exam. CPAs wishing to relocate to Alabama must also have within the past 10 years at least four years of out of state experience as a CPA.

Age Requirement19
Citizenship RequirementYes
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's degree)
Participates in International ProgramsNo
Hours in Accounting33 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting (excluding introductory hours) at the upper division undergraduate and/or graduate level which includes: 9 hours in financial accounting, 6 hours in auditing, 6 hours in taxation, 3 hours management accounting, 3 hours in governmental and not-for-profit accounting, 6 hours in accounting electives and 3 hours in business law concentrating primarily on the Uniform Commercial Code.
Exam Sitting Requirements150 hours (must complete education requirement prior to sitting for exam)
Experience Requirements1-year in public accounting or, 2-years in industry, business, government, or college teaching.
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Ethics Exam for initial licensure

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Alabama

Total:$900
  • Application Fee $100
  • Auditing & Attestation $215
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $215
  • Regulation $185
  • Business Environment & Concepts $185

Candidates must pass all four parts of the CPA exam within a single rolling 18 month period. Individuals who pass at least two parts of the exam and fail one or more do not have to retake the parts that they passed unless the eligibility period has passed. A special re-examination fee of $50 is required for each part the candidate is re-taking.

Schools Ranked by CPA Pass Rates, 2014

RankLogoSchool NameCandidatesPass RateAverage Score

Schools are ranked by pass rate unless otherwise noted. Results are comprised of scores from both first-time test takers and those returning to take the whole exam or specific sections of it again. Source: National State Boards of Accountancy

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants ASCPA is the professional membership organization that represents CPAs in the state. The Society represents CPAs engaged in public practice as well as private industry and government service. Alternately, the Alabama State Board of Accountancy is responsible for licensing, maintaining codes of standards and ethics and administering disciplinary actions when required.

Alabama State Board of Accountancy

Address

PO Box 300375
Montgomery, AL 36130-0375

Phone Number

(334) 242-5700

Alabama Society of CPAs Education Foundation

Address

1041 Longfield Court
Montgomery, AL 36117

Phone Number

(334) 834-7650

Alabama Society of CPAs

Address

1041 Longfield Court
Montgomery, AL 36117

Phone Number

(334) 834-7650