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
Per Capita Income
Fortune 500 Companies
Licensed CPA Firms
Accounting Programs in Iowa
Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in Iowa, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.
50 schools match your search
AIB College of Business
Address & Contact Info
2500 Fleur Drive
Des Moines, IA
50321-1799 (515) 244-4221
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.
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.
Social Security # Requirement
Education Requirement for Licensure
150 hours (including B.A.)
Participates in International Programs
Hours in Accounting
24 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting above elementary level accounting or principles of accounting
Exam Sitting Requirements
B.A. or within 120 days of B.A.
1 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.
Must 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.
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 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.