Introduction

Virginia’s history dates before the founding of the U.S., and boasting the 26th largest economy in the nation proves that this small state has retained its legacy as a diverse hub of southern commerce. At 4.8%, Virginia also enjoys one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. Farming and agriculture remain a key component of the Old Dominion, while northern Virginia has become one of the wealthiest regions in the country thanks to a booming technology sector.

Virginia’s 42,000 accountants and auditors are spread across the full range of these private and public sectors. Virginia is home to 1,150 licensed CPA firms, including satellite offices for each of the Big Four international CPA firms of Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, Pricewaterhouse Coopers and Ernst & Young.

Virginia at a glance

Population 8,326,289
Per Capita Income $47,082
Unemployment Rate 4.8%
Fortune 500 Companies 22
Licensed CPA Firms 1,150

Accounting Programs in Virginia

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports Virginian accountants and auditors earn an average annual income of $78,640, making them among the highest paid in the country. The outlook for CPAs in Virginia is bright in terms of both earning power and job growth. The number of accountants and auditors in the state is expected to increase 16.1% through 2022, bringing the total number of accountants to almost 49,000.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

42,020 Employees2012
48,790 Employees2022
Virginia 13.9% increase
1,275,400 Employees2012
1,442,200 Employees2022
United States 11.6% increase
Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Virginia Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

$38,640
$37,250

Payroll Clerks

$42,690
$39,850

Credit Counselors

$44,060
$44,960

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

$66,150
$63,660

Tax Examiners and Collectors

$52,030
$56,120

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

$78,640
$72,500

Budget Analysts

$84,400
$72,560

Personal Financial Advisors

$113,210
$99,920

Actuaries

$107,740
$107,740

Financial Managers

$140,490
$126,660
Source: BLS OES

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Winchester, VA-WV
    $75,910
  2. Charlottesville, VA
    $75,570
  3. Richmond, VA
    $73,390
  4. Burlington-South Burlington, VT
    $73,390
  5. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport, VA-NC
    $71,320
Source: OES Data Tool

Major firms headquartered in Virginia

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Kearney & Co.Alexandria, VA$78
2PBMaresNewport News, VA$29
3Cotton & Co.Alexandria, VA$26
4Johnson LambertFalls Church, VA$23
5Yount, Hyde & BarbourWinchester, VA$23
6Keiter GlenAllen, VA$21

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 Virginia

CPAs in Virginia must meet requirements developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Candidates must:

  • Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Complete a minimum of 150 Credit hours of postsecondary education
  • Have one year of full-time experience in academia, a CPA firm or related industry that meets VBOA standards.

The Virginia Board of Accountancy also requires candidates pass a Virginia specific ethics course. Virginia has been a leader in implementing CPA Mobility standards developed by the AICPA which enable CPAs licensed in other states to practice in Virginia.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Virginia

Applicants for CPA licensure in Virginia CPA must comply with the requirements outlined below.

  • Candidates must have either a valid social security number or control number issued by the Virginia DMV; U.S. citizenship is not required
  • All four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam must be passed with a score of at least 75%

Since it is not uncommon for candidates to require more than sitting to complete all four parts the State of Virginia allows applicants 18 months to complete the exam in its entirety.

Age RequirementNone
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for Licensure150 hours (including bachelor's degree)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in AccountingAccounting courses: minimum 24 semester hours, to include: auditing, financial accounting, management accounting and taxation. Business courses: minimum of 24 semester hours, not more than 6 semester hours of accounting courses (not included in the 24 hours of accounting courses) may be considered as business courses. Principles or introductory courses do not qualify in the 48 required hours.
Exam Sitting Requirements120 semester hours (including bachelor's degree) with accounting concentration or equivalent.
Experience RequirementsEmployed full-time equivalent of 1 year in academia, a firm, government or industry in any capacity involving the substantial use of accounting, financial, tax or other skills that are relevant. Whether other skills are relevant shall be determined by the Virginia Board of Accountancy on a case-by-case basis. Self- employment does not qualify as experience.
Ethics ExamAICPA self-study Professional Ethics: AICPA Comprehensive Course

Licensing and eligibility requirements for Virginia CPAs have been established by the Virginia Board of Accountancy and are codified in Virginia code sections 54.1-116 – 54.1-413.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Virginia

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

The Virginia Board of Accountancy requires $20 re-examination application fee be paid by individuals wishing to re-take one or more sections of the Uniform CPA Exam.

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 Virginia Board of Accountancy regulates CPAs throughout the state ensuring that CPAs meet the statutory requirements for initial licensing and license renewal. The board ensures that active licensee comply with regulations and statutes including continuing professional education obligations. The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization committed to the professional growth and success of its members.

Virginia Board of Accountancy

Address

9960 Maryland Drive, Ste. 402
Henrico, VA 23233

Phone Number

(804) 367-8505

Virginia CPA Education Foundation

Address

4309 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Phone Number

1-800-733-8272

Email

vscpa@vscpa.com