Introduction

Iowa is home to over 3 million residents, 483 licensed CPA firms, 2 Fortune 500 companies and all 4 of the largest international CPA firms. Iowa’s diverse economy has helped the state handle the fallouts of the 2008 recession better than many other states — today, the state’s unemployment rate is considerably lower than the rest of nation at only 4%.

Iowa’s economy generates approximately $124 billion annually for its gross domestic product> Primary industries include manufacturing, agriculture, health insurance, biotechnology and finance. Growth in the state economy explains why employment projections for financial services specialist exceed national averages.

Iowa at a glance

Population 3,107,126
Per Capita Income $42,126
Unemployment Rate 4%
Fortune 500 Companies 2
Licensed CPA Firms 483

Accounting Programs in Iowa

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

Employment opportunities for Iowan accountants and auditors is expected to increase by 16.6% between 2012 and 2022; 3.5% more than the national percent change. This rapid growth would represent 15,540 employed accountants earning between $32,790 and $107,640 in less than ten years. As in any state, salaries depend upon an accountant’s level of expertise and speciality.

Honkamp Krueger & Co., one of the top accounting firms based in Iowa, is headquartered in Dubuque and reported over $43.70 million in revenue last year alone. The average annual salary for accountants in Dubuque is $63,040. Other top-paying cities for Iowan accountants include Des Moines, Davenport, Iowa City and Waterloo-Cedar Falls.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

13,330 Employees2012
15,540 Employees2022
Iowa 14.2% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Iowa Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $32,790
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $37,650
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $40,980
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $58,010
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $62,650
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $62,420
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $68,180
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $81,840
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $94,520
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $107,640
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
    $68,660
  2. Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL
    $66,420
  3. Iowa City, IA
    $63,920
  4. Dubuque, IA
    $63,040
  5. Waterloo-Cedar Falls, IA
    $62,550
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Iowa

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Honkamp Krueger & Co.Dubuque, IA$43

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 Iowa

CPA candidates in the state of Iowa sit for the Uniform CPA Exam administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Iowa is one of the jurisdictions that recognizes mobility legislature and licensure by reciprocity.

Since 2012, Iowa maintains an annual license renewal policy which mandates all CPAs and LPAs to renew their license by June 30th each year. Individuals whose licenses have become inactive may change their status to active by provided the board with proof of 120 hours of CPE completed within three years of their renewal application.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Iowa

Candidates seeking CPA licensure or certification must supply documentation that indicates the successful completion of the following:

  • An education requirement of 150 semester hours
  • A bachelor’s degree or transcripts that indicate completion of the degree within 120 days of their application
  • Participate in an international program
  • Complete the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure
  • 1 year of employment experience including internships
  • 1 year of attest experience plus 1 year of general experience

The residency requirement was eliminated in 2002 due to the computerization of the exam. Students can prepare for the exam by participating in this tutorial. After successfully passing the test, individuals will receive an initial certificate from the Accountancy Board of Examiners.

Age RequirementNone
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including B.A.)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting24 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting above elementary level accounting or principles of accounting
Exam Sitting RequirementsB.A. or within 120 days of B.A.
Experience Requirements1 year experience in more than one employment situation (includes internships) in government industry, academia or public accounting. 2 years experience for attest CPA which includes 1 year of attest and year of general experience.
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure

An accounting concentration must be obtained during the required 150 hours. A CPA Exam Aid exam prep course offered by the AICPA is available to help students prepare.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Iowa

Total:$875
  • Application Fee $145
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $173
  • Business Environment & Concepts $173

Special Fees: Registration fees for individual sections of the exam vary depending on the number of sections being taken: $115 for four sections, $100 for three sections, $85 for two sections, $70 for one section. All sections must be passed within 18 months of the initial test date. A re-examination application fee of $100 may apply.

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 Iowa Professional Licensing & Regulation Bureau is comprised of seven professional licensing boards including the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board, which is responsible for maintaining strict standards for licensure, certification and registration of CPAs as well as investigating complaints against accountants or firms.

The Accountancy Examination Board however does not administer a state-specific exam. Instead, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers the Uniform CPA Exam in Iowa.

After certification, CPAs can join the Iowa Society of CPAs, an association of 4,300 members dedicated to furthering the professional success of licensed and certified CPAs through networking and education.

Iowa Accountancy Examining Board

Address

200 E. Grand Ave., Ste. 350
Des Moines, IA 50309

Phone Number

(515) 725-9021

Iowa Society of CPAs

Address

1415 28th St., Ste. 450
West Des Moines, IA 50266

Phone Number

(515) 223-8161

Email

cmiller@iacpa.org