Introduction

Arizona is home to a robust economy that has fueled massive growth, and the state is adding jobs, residents, and overall income faster than the national average. The financial sector is at the forefront of this economic boom, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Projections Central forecasts Arizona’s accounting and auditing jobs to grow by 27.2% through 2024—almost triple the national average. The state is home to more than 1,000 CPA firms, so finance professionals should have no trouble finding work. The buzz around Arizona’s economy is strong, and the state is expected to remain a strong job creator in the future, with an overall projected employment growth rate more than twice the national average.

Arizona at a glance

Population 6,931,000
Per Capita Income $25,715
Unemployment Rate 5.1%
Fortune 500 Companies 4
Licensed CPA Firms 1,108

Accounting Programs in Arizona

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The average annual salary for Arizona CPAs is $69,000 which is somewhat below the national average of $74,000. Nearly 37% of Arizona CPAs are employed by accounting and tax firms; 11% work specifically in the investment and financial industry. The remaining majority of accountants work in diverse public and private sectors requiring their own in-house financial experts.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that through 2022 the demand for CPAs in Arizona will outpace the national average by nearly double. The BLS anticipates an increase in 4,500 positions and an even greater demand for replacements due to attrition.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

19,740 Employees2012
24,270 Employees2022
Arizona 18.7% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Arizona Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $36,690
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $36,980
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $43,130
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $64,360
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $60,920
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $64,440
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $68,800
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $77,020
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $103,460
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $113,350
$126,660
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale
    $66,400
  2. Yuma
    $59,250
  3. Tucson
    $57,220
  4. Prescott
    $54,750
  5. Lake Havasu City-Kingman
    $52,420
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in Arizona

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1BeachFleischman*Tucson, AZ$23
2Henry & HorneTempe, AZ$20

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 and Regional Leaders"

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Arizona

In order to become a CPA in Arizona, individuals must meet all of the criteria established by the State Board of Accountancy. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age and have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher that includes no less than 150 course hours of study 36 of which must be completed in accounting coursework.

Candidates may sit for the four part CPA exam any time after completing their education requirements. Aside from passing all sections of the exam, candidates must complete at least 2,000 hours of paid or unpaid experience before or after passing the exam.

Before a license is issued applicants must also have passed a professional ethics exam with a score of 90% or better within two years of seeking certification. The State Board of Accountancy issues reciprocal certificates to license holders from states that are considered substantially equivalent.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's degree)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting36 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting (30 hours must be in upper-level)
Exam Sitting RequirementsB.A. (120 hours)
Experience Requirements1-year general requirement in private industry or government agency. Volunteer or intern work counts as long as it meets the definition of experience and was performed under a qualified person in the accounting field.
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Arizona

Total:$926
  • Application Fee $100
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $202

Candidates have a total of 18 months to pass all sections of the exam after their initial attempt. Candidates may reapply to retake a section of the exam only after their previous attempt has been scored. A $50 application fee is required each time applicants sit for one or more sections of the exam.

Source: Arizona Board of Accountancy

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Arizona State Board of Accountancy is the agency responsible for the certification and licensing CPA throughout the state.

The Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants, ASCPA. is a professional membership organization representing more than 6,000 CPAs across the state. It is the largest association of CPAs in the state. The society has provided Arizona CPAs with leadership, representation and education opportunities for more than 75 years.

Arizona Board of Accountancy

Address

100 N. 15th Avenue, Suite 165
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Phone Number

(602) 364-0804

Arizona CPA Education Foundation

Address

4801 E. Washington St., Suite 225-B
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants

Address

4801 E. Washington St., Suite 225-B
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Phone Number

1-888-237-0700