Introduction

Georgia’s 1,760 licensed CPA firms include the Big Four international firms of Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and Pricewaterhouse. The big four collectively employ more than 5,800 of the state’s 39,000 accountants and auditors. Employment of accountants throughout the state is strong, but the greatest concentration of licensed CPAs work in and around the greater Atlanta area.

Like many southern states, Georgia is economically driven by manufacturing, particularly textile mills which have migrated to the state from their former homes in the north at a steady rate for decades. Of course, the state economy is seeing some much-needed diversification. Financial services and a rapidly growing tech presence in and around Atlanta are transforming the economic landscape for both recent grads and mid-career professionals in the state.

Georgia at a glance

Population 10,097,343
Per Capita Income $36,869
Unemployment Rate 6.3%
Fortune 500 Companies 17
Licensed CPA Firms 1,760

Accounting Programs in Georgia

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The ranks of Georgia’s CPAs are expected to swell by more than 10,000 between 2012-2022. With a ten year growth rate of nearly 26%, accounting jobs are expected to grow twice as quickly in Georgia than they are nationwide.

The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) estimates the mean annual wage for Georgia accountants and auditors to be $76,580 which surpasses the national average by $3,000 and the statewide mean wage for all positions by $32,000. Accountants and auditors in Georgia earn 42% more than the average annual salary for all positions in the state.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

39,310 Employees2012
49,420 Employees2022
Georgia 20.5% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Georgia Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$36,730
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

$40,960
$39,850

Credit Counselors

$40,620
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

$60,670
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

$48,560
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

$76,580
$72,500

Budget Analysts

$71,520
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

$112,960
$99,920

Actuaries

$83,540
$107,740

Financial Managers

$127,080
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA
    $79,000
  2. Columbus, GA-AL
    $74,460
  3. Savannah, GA
    $71,290
  4. Dalton, GA
    $70,520
  5. Rome, GA
    $70,420
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Georgia

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Habif, Arogeti & WynneAtlanta, GA$64
2Frazier & DeeterAtlanta, GA$53
3Mauldin & JenkinsAtlanta, GA$39
4Bennett ThrasherAtlanta, GA$30
5Windham BrannonAtlanta, GA$21

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 Georgia

The requirements for CPA licensure in Georgia include earning at least a bachelor’s degree plus an additional 30 credits of post-secondary education for a total of 150 credit hours. Candidates are required to have taken at least 30 credits in advanced accounting and 24 credits in general business coursework at an accredited college or university.

Candidates for licensure must also have spent one year, or 2,000 hours working directly with or under a CPA in the state. Professional experience is only considered valid if it is completed within one year of the date of application to sit for the CPA exam.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Georgia

The State of Georgia requires applicants to have passed all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam as administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. Applicants who did not pass the entire examination in their first sitting may apply to retake one or more sections of the test. Re-examination must take place within 18 months of the initial attempt or else candidates will have to start the entire process over.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's degree)
International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting30 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting above elementary level.
Exam Sitting RequirementsBachelor's degree (120 hours)
Experience RequirementsPrior to 7/1/09: 2 years of public accounting experience. In lieu of the 2 years public accounting experience, 5 years in business, industry, government or academia. After 7/1/09: 1 year of public accounting experience and/or 1 year of academia which shall consist of 24 semester hours taught in a period not less than 12 months and not more than 36 months.
Ethics ExamNo ethics exam

CPAs wishing to relocate to Georgia may apply to have their current home-state licenses transferred to Georgia.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Georgia

Total:$880
  • Application Fee $150
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $173
  • Business Environment & Concepts $173

CPA Candidates who did not earn passing grades for each of the four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam are subject to a $75 registration fee regardless of the number of sections they are 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 Georgia State Board of Accountancy transitioned from operating as a licensing board within the Professional Licensing Board of the Secretary of State to a division of the Georgia State Department of Accounting on July 1, 2014. The Board’s functions still include licensing renewals, transfers and verifications. The board also processes complaints from the general public and follows up with investigations and mitigation.

The Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization representing CPAs throughout the state. The GSCPA provides educational opportunities and advocacy on behalf of its members.

Georgia Board of Accountancy

Address

200 Piedmont Avenue SE
Atlanta, GA 30334

Phone Number

(404) 463-0365

Email

GSBA@sao.ga.gov

Georgia Society of CPAs

Address

6 Concourse Parkway, Suite 800
Atlanta, GA 30328

Phone Number

(404) 231-8676