Introduction

More than 1,000 licensed CPA firms provide valuable services to the nearly 7 million residents of the state of Massachusetts. With the gross state product registering at $446 billion in 2013, it comes as no surprise that 12 Fortune 500 companies are located in this state, the largest of which are Liberty Mutual Insurance Group of Boston and MassMutual Financial Services in Springfield. Additionally, all of the “Big Four” international CPA firms (Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Pricewaterhousecoopers and Ernst & Young) have offices located in downtown Boston.

Listed by CNBC as the 25th best state in the nation for business, Massachusetts has an unemployment rate lower than the national average, and a per capita income of $54,687. Tourism, higher education, agriculture, biotechnology, healthcare and finance make up the bulk of the state economy.

Massachusetts at a glance

Population 6,745,408
Per Capita Income $54,687
Unemployment Rate 4.8%
Fortune 500 Companies 12
Licensed CPA Firms 1,256

Accounting Programs in Massachusetts

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

A 12% increase in employment opportunities for accountants and auditors in the state of Massachusetts is projected between 2012 and 2022, as compared to the average national growth rate of just over 13%. The top three potential employers include Wolf & Co., which grossed $31.49 million in revenue last year, Feeley & Driscoll which garnered $24.22 million and DiCicco, Gulman & Co. which earned $18.00 million in 2014.

Over the next seven years, approximately 41,590 accountants will be employed in Massachusetts, earning anywhere between $43,460 and $132,500 annually by working in accounting services. Wages are heavily dependent on licensure, speciality and degree level.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

37,130 Employees2012
41,590 Employees2022
Massachusetts 10.7% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Massachusetts Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $43,460
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $46,990
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $61,140
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $70,360
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $65,540
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $80,030
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $73,770
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $132,500
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $108,130
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $128,360
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA
    $82,360
  2. Haverhill-North Andover-Amesbury, MA-NH
    $81,490
  3. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH
    $80,830
  4. Framingham, MA
    $78,880
  5. Taunton-Norton-Raynham, MA
    $76,400
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Massachusetts

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Wolf & Co.Boston, MA$31
2Feeley & DriscollBoston, MA$24
3DiCicco, Gulman & Co.Woburn, MA$18
4Alexander, Aronson, FinningWestborough, MA$17
5Gray, Gray & GrayWestwood, MA$13
6Edelstein & Co.Boston, MA$13
7O’Connor & DrewBraintree, MA$12
8Meyers Brothers KalickaHolyoke, MA$10

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 Massachusetts

Aspiring CPAs in Massachusetts must sit for the Uniform CPA exam administered by NASBA and overseen by the Massachusetts State Board of Accountancy. Exam candidates must meet the eligibility requirements listed below in order to take the exam. The following list of schools ranked according to their CPA Exam pass rates below show a variety of colleges and universities in the state with top CPA Exam passing rates. Any CPA candidates who do not successfully pass all four sections of the exam within the designated 18 month period on their first try may apply to take the CPA Exam again, which is common for many accounting students.

Massachusetts offers an optional pre-evaluation service to help students determine if they meet the educational requirements before applying for the exam. This state does recognize CPA mobility legislation as well as obtaining a license by transfer.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Massachusetts

In order to be eligible to take the CPA exam, candidates must:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years old
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree
  • Participate in international programs
  • Acquire 1 year of accounting experience
  • Have completed 120 of the 150 required semester hours at an accredited institution of higher education including:
    1. 21 hours of higher level accounting courses, such as auditing, financial accounting, taxation and management
    2. 9 semester hours of business courses, such as business law, finance and information systems

Neither state resident status nor an ethics exam are required to obtain CPA licensure in the state of Massachusetts.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including B.A.)
International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting18 graduate credits or 30 undergraduate credits or a combination thereof, to include financial accounting, audit, taxation and management accounting. In addition, CPA candidates must have 18 graduate credits or 24 undergraduate credits in business.
Exam Sitting RequirementsB.A degree (120 hours) including 21 credits in accounting to include coverage in financial accounting, audit, management accounting and taxation and 9 credits in business to include information systems, finance, and business law.
Experience RequirementsTo qualify for full report license, 1 year of public accounting experience to include 1000 hours in the report function on full disclosure financial statements, of which not more than 300 hours may consist of full disclosure compilations. One year of governmental field audit work may be accepted at the discretion of the Board of Public Accountancy for a full report license.
Ethics ExamNo

Students may substitute non-public accounting experience in order to meet the requirement for certification at the Board’s discretion according to these special conditions.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Massachusetts

Total:$923
  • Application Fee $195
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $172
  • Business Environment & Concepts $172

Special Fees: A registration fee applies in addition to the application fee, and varies depending on the number of sections an individual is taking. The registration fee for all four sections is $177, for three sections is $157, for two is $137, for one is $117. A Certified Statement of Registration fee of $15 applies for each individual license.

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 Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy issues certificates and licenses, regulates and monitors CPAs and CPA firms’ practices to ensure the quality of service provided to consumers, The Board also works with NASBA and AICPA by supervising the administration of CPA exams. Potential future CPAs and those already licensed may join the Massachusetts Society of CPAs which offers scholarships, a CPATrack, professional networking, a virtual community of peers and resources beneficial to those working or aspiring to work in the accounting field.

Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy

Address

1000 Washington Street Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118

Phone Number

(617) 727-1806

Massachusetts Society of CPAs

Address

105 Chauncy Street 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02111

Phone Number

(800) 392-6145

Email

biannoni@mscpaonline.org