Introduction

Rhode Island holds the distinction of being the smallest state in the union and 2nd most densely populated. The Ocean State’s most significant industries are health care, tourism and manufacturing. The state is home to about 3,900 accountants and auditors who work for private and public companies including three Fortune 500 companies such as CVS Caremark. Rhode Island is home to 215 accounting firms that service business and individual clients across the state.

Two of the “Big Four” international CPA firms KPMG and Ernst & Young have offices in the capital city of Providence. The state expects to add about 500 accounting and auditing jobs by 2022 for an anticipated growth rate that is on par with the national average of just over 13%.

Rhode Island at a glance

Population 1,055,173
Per Capita Income $44,990
Unemployment Rate 6.3%
Fortune 500 Companies 3
Licensed CPA Firms 215

Accounting Programs in Rhode Island

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate the annual income of Rhode Island CPAs to be $77,180. Rhode Island accountants and auditors earn 4.5% more than the national average for their counterparts. They earn $32,000 more per year the statewide per capita average. The state’s five largest accounting firms led by Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co with 90 CPAs and a total staff of more than 160 employ 250 CPAs.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

3,830 Employees2012
4,360 Employees2022
Rhode Island 12.2% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Rhode Island Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $39,220
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

\ $43,650
$39,850

Credit Counselors

\ $45,170
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $68,070
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $69,930
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $77,180
$72,500

Budget Analysts

\ $67,460
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $99,920
$99,920

Actuaries

\ $84,040
$107,740

Financial Managers

\ $136,770
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA
    $77,100
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Rhode Island

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co.Providence, RI$35
2DiSanto Priest & Co.Warwick, RI$9

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 Rhode Island

Licensing requirements for Rhode Island CPAs follow standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). These standards include:

  • 150 credit hours of postsecondary education
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Professional or volunteer experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA

Rhode Island statutes regarding the transfer of CPA licenses from other states conform with the CPA mobility guidelines developed by the NASBA and the AICPA. These guidelines allow CPAs that are currently licensed by states other than Rhode Island to become licensed by Rhode Island after they meet the residency requirement or have a place of business in the state. CPAs relocating to Rhode Island are eligible for licensure reciprocity even if their license was issued before adoption of national standards.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Rhode Island

In order to become licensed as a CPA in Rhode Island candidates must successfully complete all four parts of the uniform CPA exam. The exam is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Applicants that are unable to attain a passing grade (75%) for each section on their first attempt may apply to retake one or more parts of the exam. Candidates who wish to apply for re-examination must do so within 18 months of their first attempt. Any currently licensed CPA that would like to relocate to or work in Rhode Island as a CPA my request to have their license transferred.

Age RequirementNone
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's degree)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in AccountingGraduate degree with concentration in accounting: accredited in business-24 semester or equivalent quarter hours in undergraduate accounting or 15 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in graduate accounting or a combination thereof. Bachelor's degree or higher with 24 semester credits or equivalent quarter hours in undergraduate or graduate level accounting.
Exam Sitting RequirementsBachelor's degree or above (120 hours)
Experience Requirements1 year experience gained through employment in public practice, government, industry, education or a combination thereof.
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure

Licensing requirements for Rhode Island CPAs is done by the Rhode Island the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Board of Accountancy. Regulations regarding CPA exam requirements, education requirements and professional experience are all available on the department’s website.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Rhode Island

Total:$880
  • Application Fee $150
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $173
  • Business Environment & Concepts $173

Candidates seeking to re-take one or more sections of the Uniform CPA Examination must remit a $75 registration fee along with their request.

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 Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Board of Accountancy is responsible for licensing and regulating CPAs practicing in the state. The board governs the conduct of CPAs to ensure that the public welfare is protected. The board has the authority to suspend or revoke licenses and other forms of professional discipline.

The Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization that advocate for CPAs working in the state. The RISCPA also provides continuing education resources and networking opportunities for its members.

Rhode Island Board of Accountancy

Address

1511 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920

Phone Number

(401) 462-9500

Rhode Island Society of CPAs

Address

40 Sharpe Drive, Unit 5
Cranston, RI 02920

Phone Number

(401) 331-5720