Introduction

Home to over 1 million residents, Montana is serviced by 308 licensed CPA firms. One of the “Big Four” international CPA firms (KPMG) has an office located in the state as well, not to mention the world-renown Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, all of which draw millions of tourists to the state annually.

Tourism, along with agriculture, ranching, and cereal grain farming, contribute to the $44 billion total state product. Per capita income is $37,370. As tourism and the state economy continue to boom, the need for CPAs and firms in Montana steadily rises.

As of July 1, 2015, Montana no longer issues certificate-only licenses, due to the legislature HB44 signed by Governor Steve Bullock. HB44 eliminates the CPA certificate only level of licensure in the state. All certificate only license applicants must complete their applications by June 5, 2015 in order to be considered by the Board at their June 26, 2015 meeting.

Montana at a glance

Population 1,023,579
Per Capita Income $37,370
Unemployment Rate 4.1%
Fortune 500 Companies
Licensed CPA Firms 308

Accounting Programs in Montana

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

Accountants and auditors in Montana can anticipate a 19.3% increase in employment opportunities between 2012 and 2022, compared to the national percent change of 13.1%. Potential employers included top regional firms like Anderson ZurMuehlen, which grossed $25.57 million in 2014, and Junkermier, Clark, Campanella, Stevens, which generated $14.20 million in revenue last year.

Close to 4,210 accountants will be employed in the state of Montana within the next seven years. They can expect to earn between $33,040 and $121,030 working in the field of accounting, depending of the type of services they specialize in, their degree level and licensure.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

3,530 Employees2012
4,210 Employees2022
Montana 16.2% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Montana Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$33,040
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

$36,140
$39,850

Credit Counselors

$37,880
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

$53,010
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

$52,580
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

$61,100
$72,500

Budget Analysts

$58,590
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

$121,030
$99,920

Actuaries

$
$107,740

Financial Managers

$101,540
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Billings, MT
    $61,480
  2. Great Falls, MT
    $57,490
  3. Missoula, MT
    $56,620
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Montana

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Anderson ZurMuehlenHelena, MT$26
2Junkermier, Clark, Campanella, StevensGreat Falls, MT$14

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 Montana

In the state of Montana, CPA candidates must sit for the Uniform CPA exam administered by NASBA and must meet the requirements listed below. Also below is a list of schools ranked by CPA Exam pass rates showing a number of colleges and universities in the state with top CPA Exam passing rates.

Many candidates are not successful in their first attempt to pass all four sections of the exam within the designated 18 month period and therefore re-apply to take the necessary sections again. The scores below include both first time test takers and re-takers of the exam.

Montana also supports the transfer of grades and/or license policy, reciprocal licensure and mobility practice.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Montana

In order to be eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Montana, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete 24 semester hours of graduate level accounting courses
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree
  • Complete the 150 hour educational requirement
  • Complete 12 months/2000 hours of experience working in accounting field
  • Take and pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam

There is no residency or age requirement for the state of Montana.

Age RequirementNone
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementNo
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including B.A.)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting24 semester hours of upper division or graduate level accounting courses including at least one course in each of the following subject areas to be approved to sit for the examination: financial accounting; auditing; taxation; management accounting and 24 semester hours in business related courses.
Exam Sitting Requirements120 hours (B.A. Degree)
Experience Requirements12 months (2000 hours actual work experience) of private, governmental, academic, or public accounting work acceptable to the board.
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure.

Candidates can review an exam tutorial and study sample tests prior to sitting for the exam here.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Montana

Total:$925
  • Application Fee $195
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $173
  • Regulation $192
  • Business Environment & Concepts $173

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 $135, for three sections is $120, for two sections is $105, for one section is $90.

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 Montana Board of Public Accountants is a regulatory body designed to maintain ethical and professional standards within the field of accounting for the state of Montana. While the Board may post CPA exam scores, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) provides the Montana Board with examination services for the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam.

Those already licensed or seeking licensure may join the Montana Society of CPAs – a professional association comprised of 1,800 members throughout the world that strives to provide advocacy, continuing professional education, networking between members and through public relations as well as many more resources.

Montana Board of Public Accountants

Address

P.O. Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620

Phone Number

(406) 841-2389

Montana Society of CPAs

Address

33 South Last Chance Gulch Ste. 2B
Helena, MT 59601

Phone Number

(406) 442-7301

Email

margaret@mscpa.org