Introduction

South Carolina is the 25th most populated state in the union, yet the state’s $36,000 per capita GDP ranks as the third lowest in the country. The state economy’s largest sector is manufacturing, which is dominated by textiles followed by paper and electrical equipment. South Carolina’s nearly 14,000 accountants and auditors work in both the private and public sectors including the state’s 712 licensed CPA firms.

Each of the “Big Four” international CPA firms (Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, and Ernst & Young) maintain at least one office in the Spartan State. South Carolina is also home to many large regional CPA firms that employ 50 or more professionals.

South Carolina at a glance

Population 4,832,482
Per Capita Income $34,266
Unemployment Rate 6.7%
Fortune 500 Companies 1
Licensed CPA Firms 712

Accounting Programs in South Carolina

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of accounting and auditing positions in South Carolina to grow by 12.8% over 2012 levels by 2022. This is just slightly lower than the national projected growth rate of 13.1%. The expansion pencils out to the creation of approximately 1,900 positions in the state, but this does not factor in the number of positions made available from retirement and attrition. At $59,240 the average annual income for CPAs is more than 40% higher than the average salary of all South Carolinians.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

14,700 Employees2012
16,590 Employees2022
South Carolina 11.4% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

South Carolina Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$33,540
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

$37,140
$39,850

Credit Counselors

$36,910
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

$54,800
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

$44,770
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

$59,240
$72,500

Budget Analysts

$58,370
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

$92,890
$99,920

Actuaries

$107,740
$107,740

Financial Managers

$109,010
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Greenville-Mauldin-Easley, SC
    $66,960
  2. Sumter, SC
    $66,490
  3. Spartanburg, SC
    $61,950
  4. Anderson, SC
    $61,890
  5. Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville, SC
    $59,050
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in South Carolina

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Elliott DavisGreenville, SC$64
2WebsterRogersFlorence, SC$18

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 South Carolina

South Carolina CPAs are required to meet the national standards that were developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the AICPA. In addition to successfully passing all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam, however unlike other states South Carolina CPA candidates may sit for the exam before they complete the education requirement. Licensure requires the following criteria be met:

  • 150 credit hours of post secondary education from a regionally accredited college or university
  • 36 credit hours of upper level accounting education, including business courses
  • Posses a bachelors degree or higher
  • Have at least one year of professional experience or five years of teaching in accounting
  • Be at least 18 years of age

The above criteria apply to first time applicants, which South Carolina defines as anyone who has never taken the Uniform CPA Exam or has applied before and had their application denied because it was incomplete. Others considered first time applicants include individuals who have taken the exam in other states, but did not earn the credit or taken the exam in another state and wish to transfer the credit to South Carolina.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in South Carolina

In order for a CPA candidate to qualify for licensure in the State of Florida they must be either a US citizen or permanent legal resident with a valid social security number. Applicants who do not have a social security number may request a waiver of this requirement from the State Board of Accountancy.

Candidate must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam within 18 months of their first attempt. Since not all candidates pass all four sections in either their first or a single attempt they are permitted to apply to retake sections individually or together.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's degree)
International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting36 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting courses that are applicable to a B.A. or B.S., M.A. or Ph.D. and which cover financial accounting, managerial accounting, taxation and auditing of which at least 24 semester hours must be taught at the junior or above level
Exam Sitting RequirementsBachelor's degree or higher (120 hours)
Experience Requirements1 year public accounting experience. Experience other than public accounting may count only in proportion to duties contributing to competence in public accounting. 5 years experience teaching accounting in a college or university recognized by the South Carolina State Board
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure

The rules and regulations that govern CPA licensing in South Carolina overseen by the South Carolina Board of Accountancy. The regulation of Certified Public Accountants is detailed in Title 40 – Professions and Occupations Chapter 2 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. The licensing regulations for the Board of Accountancy contained in Chapter 1 were updated in December 2014.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in South Carolina

Total:$865
  • Application Fee $135
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $173
  • Business Environment & Concepts $173

CPA applicants who were unable to attain a passing grade of 75% for all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam who apply for re-examination are subject to registration fees which are based on the number of sections being retaken:

  • 4 examination sections – $105
  • 3 examination sections – $90
  • 2 examination sections – $75
  • 1 examination section – $60

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

South Carolina State Board of Accountancy is a division of the The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation whose mission is to promote the interests of South Carolinians by licensing, regulating and enforcement of standards of professional behavior.

The South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization whose purpose is to represent the interest of its members through advocacy and continuing professional education.

South Carolina Board of Accountancy

Address

110 Centerview Drive
Columbia, SC 29210

Phone Number

(803) 896-4300

South Carolina CPA Education Foundation

Address

1300 12th Street, Suite D
Cayce, SC 29033

Email

scacpa@scacpa.org

South Carolina Society of CPAs

Address

1300 12th Street, Suite D
Cayce, SC 29022

Phone Number

(803) 791-4181