Introduction

Five Fortune 500 companies and 626 licensed CPA firms call the state of Kentucky home. All of the “Big Four” international CPA firms (Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Pricewaterhousecoopers and Ernst & Young) have offices located in downtown Louisville as well. More than 10,000 CPAs service the nearly four and a half million residents of the state.

A strongly agricultural state, Kentucky ranks 5th in the nation for goat farming, 8th in beef cattle farming and 14th in corn production. Additional industries include energy fuel production, medical care and research, auto manufacturing and coal and uranium production. All told, the economy generates approximately $163.3 billion in revenue, making Kentucky 28th in the nation for gross state product.

Kentucky at a glance

Population 4,413,457
Per Capita Income $35,041
Unemployment Rate 5.1%
Fortune 500 Companies 5
Licensed CPA Firms 626

Accounting Programs in Kentucky

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The BLS projects a solid 10.2% growth in the number of positions for Kentucky’s accountants and auditors between 2012 and 2022, just 2.9% less than the projected national growth rate. This will result in a total of 11,130 potential jobs in the accounting field, ranging from bookkeeping and tax examining to budget analysts and financial managers.

The average annual wage for these positions also span a wide range, starting at $34,670 and going as high as $96,160. Top-paying cities for accountants, where salaries are typically between $50,000 and $70,000 are Lexington-Fayette, Owensboro, Elizabethtown, Louisville and Bowling Green. Located in Louisville and Lexington are two of major regional firms; Mountjoy Chilton Medley and Dean Dorton Allen Ford, respectively.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

10,100 Employees2012
11,130 Employees2022
Kentucky 9.3% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Kentucky Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $34,670
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $37,030
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $40,360
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $60,040
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $47,070
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $61,970
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $54,070
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $72,660
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $107,740
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $96,160
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Lexington-Fayette, KY
    $67,810
  2. Owensboro, KY
    $65,630
  3. Elizabethtown, KY
    $63,240
  4. Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN
    $61,880
  5. Bowling Green, KY
    $52,660
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Kentucky

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Mountjoy Chilton MedleyLouisville, KY$38
2Dean Dorton Allen FordLexington, KY$22

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 Kentucky

Individuals seeking to become a certified public accountant in Kentucky must file an initial application with the Kentucky Board of Accountancy prior to applying for the Uniform CPA Exam. Candidates are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the www.cpa-exam.org website where they will find a tutorial, practice exam and The Candidate Bulletin.

Any who have already submitted an initial application and wish to sit for additional sections of the exam should complete the Re-Exam Application for the Uniform CPA Exam form. Those who have passed the exam as a candidate in another state should refer to the work experiment requirements and the computer-based exam guidelines.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Kentucky

To be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam in Kentucky, candidates must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a Social Security Number
  • Hold a bachelor’s or master’s degree with a concentration in accounting (meaning 39 credits in business-related subjects and 27 credit hours of accounting courses)
  • Meet the 150 credit hour education requirement
  • Complete 1 year of experience in an accounting or auditing position

A score of at least 75 on each section is required to pass the exam, and each passing score is valid for 18 months from the end of the month the section was taken. All four sections must be passed within 18 months of the initial testing date.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including B.A.)
Participates in International ProgramsNo
Hours in Accounting27 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting
Exam Sitting RequirementsB.A (120 hours)
Experience Requirements1 year experience in an accounting or auditing position in public practice, academia, industry or government.
Ethics ExamNo ethics exam.

Actively licensed CPAs from a jurisdiction outside of Kentucky may obtain mobility by reviewing the Licensing for Out-of-State CPAs page.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Kentucky

Total:$150
  • Application Fee $30
  • Auditing & Attestation $30
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $30
  • Regulation $30
  • Business Environment & Concepts $30

Special Fees: Candidates must pay fees to AICPA, NASBA, and Prometric, which NASBA will collect on behalf of all three.

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 Kentucky Board of Accountancy is a state agency responsible for licensing and regulating CPAs and CPA firms in the state.

Upon certification, CPAs can apply for membership to the Society of CPAs, which is a non-profit statewide organization committed to serving its members by way of networking opportunities, providing health care and membership benefits, protecting the CPA reputation, legislative advocacy and providing access to information and tools.

Kentucky State Board of Accountancy

Address

332 West Broadway Suite 310
Louisville, KY 40202

Phone Number

(502) 595-3037

Kentucky Society of CPAs

Address

1735 Alliant Ave.
Louisville, KY 40299

Phone Number

(502) 266-5272

Email

llewis@kycpa.org