Introduction

Hawaii is home to nearly one and a half million people, 5,560 of whom are accountants working the public and private sectors, as well as in education. While the state’s economy relies heavily on tourism, the medical field and military employment, retirees make up a significant portion of residents as well. The Hawaii Senate recently rejected legislation proposing a tax on pensions, which along with the lack of state inheritance tax and state Social Security tax, makes Hawaii one of the most tax-friendly places for retirees.

Three of the “Big Four” international CPA firms have branches located in Hawaii, including Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young and KPMG. Investment strategy and financial advisory firm Edward Jones has personal financial advisors and accountants on Oahu in Honolulu and Kailua as well as in Hilo on the Big Island.

Hawaii at a glance

Population 1,419,561
Per Capita Income $44,024
Unemployment Rate 4.1%
Fortune 500 Companies 0
Licensed CPA Firms 312

Accounting Programs in Hawaii

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for accountants and auditors to rise 13% by 2022. In Hawaii alone, the number of employed accountants has an average annual increase of 1.1%, making it one of the top jobs in the state in terms of estimated growth. The average salary for accountants in Hawaii is $61,200, with those in the top 10th percentile working in Honolulu making $96,910 on average.

Three of the nation’s four largest accounting firms have office branches in Honolulu, including Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG, making it top-paying city for accountants in Hawaii.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

4,970 Employees2012
5,560 Employees2022
Hawaii 10.6% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Hawaii Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $37,470
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $39,670
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $39,620
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $73,040
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $70,990
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $59,810
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $73,620
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $96,910
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $107,740
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $96,490
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Honolulu, HI
    $61,200
  2. Hawaii-Maui-Kauai, HI
    $54,440
Source: OES Data Tool

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Hawaii

CPA licensure in Hawaii is administered by the State Board of Accountancy. The state exam may be waived if a candidate already holds a CPA license or certificate issued under the laws of another U.S. state or does not hold a CPA certificate or license but did pass the Uniform CPA exam.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Hawaii

The state of Hawaii requires CPA licensure candidates to meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • Meet the 150 credit hour educational requirement
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in accounting, or an baccalaureate plus 18 semester hours of upper-division accounting or auditing subjects, or an official document stating the applicant will graduate within 120 days of taking the exam or an educational equivalency report approved by the State Board of Accountancy
  • Successfully pass the state board of accountancy CPA exam within an 18-month period

Potential CPA license holders are required to meet the 150 credit hour requirement to receive CPA licensure in Hawaii. Once the educational requirements have been met, an official transcript must be submitted to the NASBA CPA Examination Services.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementYes
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including B.A.)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting24 semester hours in upper division or graduate level accounting which would include courses in financial accounting, auditing, taxation and managerial accounting.
Exam Sitting RequirementsB.A. or within 120 days of B.A.
Experience Requirements1500 hours in audit, or 2-years in government, industry, academia, or public practice.
Ethics ExamNo ethics exam

As of December 2011, all Hawaii CPAs seeking to renew their state license must complete 4 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) in either ethics or professional conduct.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Hawaii

Total:$723
  • Application Fee $165
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $173
  • Business Environment & Concepts $1

Hawaii is a two-tiered state, in that a CPA who has passed the exam will receive a certificate, however a license or permit to practice will not be issued until the required two years (or 1500 hours) of experience are acquired. Candidates are required to take and pass all four sections of the exam within an 18 month period, but may take the sections in any order.

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 Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants HSCPA is a professional organization in Hawaii dedicated to promoting the integrity and competence of CPAs in the state, as well as administering a qualified peer review program. The Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy strives to ensure fair and honest business practice in order to promote a healthy business environment by protecting the community from deceptive business practices.

Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants

Address

900 Fort Street Mall, Ste 850
Honolulu, HI 96806

Phone Number

(808) 537-9475

Email

info@hscpa.org

Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy

Address

P.O. Box 3469; 335 Merchant Street
Honolulu, HI 96801