Introduction

South Dakota became a state on the same day as its northern namesake North Dakota. Its size contributes to its distinction as the fifth least densely populated state. The South Dakota economy falls in 39th place and is driven largely by ranching and animal production. Financial services and military bases are the two other most dominant economic forces in the state. While the state’s per capita GDP is among the lowest in the nation, so is the unemployment rate at 3.5%.

The Mount Rushmore State employs 4,300 accountants and auditors and has 135 licensed CPA firms. None of the Big Four international accounting firms of Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Pricewaterhousecoopers and Ernst & Young currently have offices in South Dakota. The state’s largest CPA firms are regional and include Ketel Thorstenson and Wohlenberg Ritzman & Co.

South Dakota at a glance

Population 853,175
Per Capita Income $43,659
Unemployment Rate 3.5%
Fortune 500 Companies 0
Licensed CPA Firms 135

Accounting Programs in South Dakota

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of accountant and auditor positions in South Dakota will increase at a rate of 8.7% through 2022. That rate is below the 13.1% average growth rate expected nationally. The additional 400 positions are anticipated to be largely in the state’s most populous cities of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. South Dakota CPAs can expect to earn $60,000 per year which is 19% below the national average, but about 38% higher than the mean wage for all workers statewide.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

4,300 Employees2012
4,670 Employees2022
South Dakota 7.9% 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 Dakota Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$30,310
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

$33,260
$39,850

Credit Counselors

$44,960
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

$48,200
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

$47,390
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

$60,000
$72,500

Budget Analysts

$58,290
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

$76,860
$99,920

Actuaries

$107,740
$107,740

Financial Managers

$126,560
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Sioux Falls, SD
    $63,660
  2. Rapid City, SD
    $60,460
Source: OES Data Tool

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in South Dakota

CPAs in South Dakota must meet the requirements specified by the State Board of Accountancy. The state’s licensing requirements generally conform with national standards developed by the NASBA and the AICPA. Requirements include:

  • Earn a minimum of 150 credit hours of postsecondary education
  • Complete at least 24 credits in accounting courses
  • Complete at least 24 credits in business courses
  • Earn at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam

Candidates must complete the AICPA Professional Ethics Course as well as attain a passing grade on the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam.

South Dakota also participates in the CPA Mobility Program which allows currently licensed CPAs relocate to South Dakota and transfer their certifications without having to re-take the Uniform CPA Exam or meet current education requirements

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in South Dakota

Applicants for licensure as a South Dakota CPA are not required to be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident. Candidates are required to have at least one year or 375 hours of professional experience. Experience may be in the form of government, private or public sector employment.

Experience must be earned under the supervision of a licensed CPA. Candidates who did not take or pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA exam in a single sitting may apply for re-examination within 18 months. It is not unusual for candidates to spend more than one sitting to successfully complete the entire exam.

Age RequirementNone
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementOptional
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's degree)
Participates in International ProgramsNo
Hours in Accounting24 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in undergraduate or graduate accounting (including elementary principles of accounting and 1 course each in intermediate or advanced accounting, auditing, taxation and cost accounting)
Exam Sitting RequirementsMust be within 100 days of completing education requirement
Experience Requirements1 year experience gained through employment in government, industry, academia or public practice. A CPA responsible for performance of attest services shall have 375 hours of any combination of auditing, compilation or review.
Ethics ExamMust pass AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure

Licensing rules and regulations for South Dakota CPAs are governed by the South Dakota Board of Accountancy which is a division of the Department of Labor and Regulation. Eligibility requirements are discussed in Chapter 36-20B of the South Dakota Code.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in South Dakota

Total:$850
  • Application Fee $120
  • Auditing & Attestation $192
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $192
  • Regulation $173
  • Business Environment & Concepts $173

Applicants who have not successfully completed all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam who apply for re-examination are subject to a $30 registration fee per section plus the cost of that exam section.

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 South Dakota Board of Accountancy is the regulatory agency that is responsible for administering and enforcing regulations regarding the practice of public accounting in the state. The board enforces statutes including mandated continuing education requirements and evaluates and processes consumer complaints.

The South Dakota CPA Society (SDCPAS) is a voluntary professional membership organization advocating for Certified Public Accountants in the State of South Dakota. The SDCPAS also provides members with education opportunities, public service projects and other resources to enhance members practices.

South Dakota Board of Accountancy

Address

301 East 14th Street, Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Phone Number

(605) 367-5770

South Dakota Society of CPAs

Address

1000 N. West Avenue #100
Sioux Falls, SD 57101

Phone Number

(605) 334-3848