Introduction

The Florida economy is diverse — running the gamut from tourism to film and television production and aerospace to farming. Florida’s economy ranks in the top ten in many sectors and is expected to remain a top-performer well into the future.

Florida’s 4,400 CPA firms are an eclectic mix. Each of the “Big Four” international accounting firms — Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte & Touche, and KPMG — maintain offices in the state that employ anywhere from 500-900 state licensed CPAs. Of course, regional firms are also thriving; more than a dozen firms headquartered in the state employ 200 or more CPAs.

Florida at a glance

Population 19,893,297
Per Capita Income $40,344
Unemployment Rate 5.7%
Fortune 500 Companies 16
Licensed CPA Firms 4,408

Accounting Programs in Florida

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

Projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate a sunny future for Florida’s nearly 80,000 accountants and auditors. In 2012, the agency predicted Florida’s economy will add 16,000 new CPA positions through 2022. This 20% growth rate is rarely seen in other positions or regions; the rapid growth is sure to be felt throughout the state.

State-wide, the average annual salary for accountants and auditors in Florida CPAs is $68,000, but urban centers in southern Florida tend to pay higher salaries. These cities include Naples, Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Miami. Accountants and auditors do make 38.5% more per year than their fellow Floridians, this difference is marginally larger than average salary gaps between accountants and all occupations nationally.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

78,950 Employees2012
94,330 Employees2022
Florida 16.3% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Florida Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $34,730
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $38,910
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $43,640
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $57,360
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $45,410
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $68,060
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $63,990
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $102,560
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $93,580
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $128,550
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach, FL
    $77,860
  2. Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL
    $72,360
  3. Sebastian-Vero Beach, FL
    $71,880
  4. Naples-Marco Island, FL
    $71,200
  5. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL
    $71,050
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Florida

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Daszkal BoltonBoca Raton, FL$16
2Goldstein Schechter KochCoral Gables, FL$15
3The LBA GroupJacksonville, FL$14
4Gerson Preston Robinson & Co.Miami Beach, FL$13
5Averett Warmus DurkeeOrlando, FL$12
6Cross, Fernandez & RileyOrlando, FL$12

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 Florida

Florida CPAs are required to meet national standards developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the AICPA. In addition to successfully passing all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam, candidates must meet all of these criteria:

  • Complete 150 credit hours of post secondary education
  • Complete 24 credit hours of upper level accounting education
  • Complete 24 credit hours of general business education
  • Posses a bachelor’s degree or higher

Candidate must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam within 18 months of their first attempt. Since not all candidates pass all four sections in either their first or a single attempt they are permitted to apply to retake sections individually or together.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Florida

The Florida Institute of CPAs along with the State Board of Accountancy has developed criteria that allows currently licensed CPAs from other states to apply for licensure in Florida if they:

  • Are at least 19 years of age and of good moral character
  • Have successfully passed the Uniform CPA Exam
  • Meet all other current requirements for a Florida CPA
  • Have at least four years of professional experience

The rules and regulations for licensure as a CPA in Florida are governed by the Florida Department of Professional Regulation Division of Certified Public Accounting. Eligibility requirements are detailed in the Florida Administrative Code and Florida Administrative Register. The Florida Board of Accountancy offers a Uniform CPA Examination Guide as a means of assisting candidates in the preparation for the exam.

Applicants who did not pass the entire exam on their initial attempt that apply for re-examination are subject to new registration fees based upon the number of sections they are taking.

  • 4 Sections: $105
  • 3 Sections: $ 90
  • 2 Sections: $75
  • 1 Section: $60
Age RequirementNone
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including B.A.)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting36 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in upper level accounting to include the following: Taxation, Auditing, Financial, Cost/Managerial and Accounting Info Systems.
Exam Sitting RequirementsB.A. (120 hours)
Experience Requirements1 year experience in public accounting, government, industry or academia.
Ethics ExamNo ethics exam

In order for a CPA candidate to qualify for licensure in the State of Florida they must be either a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident with a valid social security number. Applicants who do not have a social security number may request a waiver of this requirement from the State Board of Accountancy.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Florida

Total:$835
  • Application Fee $105
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $173
  • Business Environment & Concepts $173

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 purpose of the Florida State Board of Accountancy is to ensure that Florida CPAs maintain licensure and are qualified to serve the public. The Board thus designs and implements continuing professional education requirements, peer review models and investigates claims against the board or state-licensed CPAs or firms.

The Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization providing members with representation, advocacy and continuing education services.

Florida Board of Accountancy

Address

240 NW 76th Street Suite A
Gainesville, FL 32607

Phone Number

(850) 487-1395

The Florida Institute of CPAs

Address

325 W. College Avenue
Tallahassee, FL 32301

Phone Number

(800) 342-3197

Email

msc@ficpa.org