Hawaii is home to nearly one and a half million people, more than 4,800 of whom are accountants working the public and private sectors. While the state's economy relies heavily on tourism, the medical field and military employment, retirees make up a significant portion of residents as well. Lenient tax regulations make Hawaii one of the most tax-friendly places for retirees, and the despite its small size and relatively small economy, the state boasts the 17th highest per capita income in the country. Three of the “Big Four” international CPA firms have branches located in Hawaii, including Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, and KPMG. Investment strategy and financial advisory firm Edward Jones has personal financial advisors and accountants on Oahu in Honolulu and Kailua as well as in Hilo on the Big Island.

Hawaii at a glance

Population 1,427,538
Per Capita Income $29,736
Unemployment Rate 2.2%
Fortune 500 Companies 0
Licensed CPA Firms 312

Accounting Programs in Hawaii

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for accountants and auditors to rise 13% by 2022. In Hawaii alone, the number of employed accountants has an average annual increase of 1.1%, making it one of the top jobs in the state in terms of estimated growth. The average salary for accountants in Hawaii is $61,200, with those in the top 10th percentile working in Honolulu making $96,910 on average.

Three of the nation's four largest accounting firms have office branches in Honolulu, including Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG, making it top-paying city for accountants in Hawaii.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

4,670 Employees2016
5,790 Employees2026
Hawaii 19.3% increase
1,397,700 Employees2016
1,537,600 Employees2026
United States 9.1% increase
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Hawaii Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $40,850

Payroll Clerks

\ $45,290

Credit Counselors

\ $40,140

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $76,650

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $73,040

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $64,410

Budget Analysts

\ $79,340

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $84,390

Financial Managers

\ $112,130
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina
  2. Urban Honolulu
  3. Hawaii / Kauai nonmetropolitan area
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Hawaii

CPA licensure in Hawaii is administered by the State Board of Accountancy. The state exam may be waived if a candidate already holds a CPA license or certificate issued under the laws of another U.S. state or does not hold a CPA certificate or license but did pass the Uniform CPA exam.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Hawaii

The state of Hawaii requires CPA licensure candidates to meet the following qualifications:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • Meet the 150 credit hour educational requirement
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree in accounting, or an baccalaureate plus 18 semester hours of upper-division accounting or auditing subjects, or an official document stating the applicant will graduate within 120 days of taking the exam or an educational equivalency report approved by the State Board of Accountancy
  • Successfully pass the state board of accountancy CPA exam within an 18-month period

Potential CPA license holders are required to meet the 150 credit hour requirement to receive CPA licensure in Hawaii. Once the educational requirements have been met, an official transcript must be submitted to the NASBA CPA Examination Services.

Age Requirement 18
Citizenship Requirement Yes
Residency Requirement No
Social Security # Requirement Yes
Education Requirement for Licensure Bachelor's degree (150 hours)
Participates in International Programs Yes
Hours in Accounting 18 semester hours
Exam Sitting Requirements 120 hours
Experience Requirements 1,500 hours of auditing experience or 2 years of accounting experience
Ethics Exam N/A

As of December 2011, all Hawaii CPAs seeking to renew their state license must complete 4 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) in either ethics or professional conduct.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Hawaii

  • Application Fee $170
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $208

Hawaii is a two-tiered state, in that a CPA who has passed the exam will receive a certificate, however a license or permit to practice will not be issued until the required two years (or 1500 hours) of experience are acquired. Candidates are required to take and pass all four sections of the exam within an 18 month period, but may take the sections in any order.

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants HSCPA is a professional organization in Hawaii dedicated to promoting the integrity and competence of CPAs in the state, as well as administering a qualified peer review program. The Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy strives to ensure fair and honest business practice in order to promote a healthy business environment by protecting the community from deceptive business practices.

Hawaii Society of Certified Public Accountants


900 Fort Street Mall, Ste 850
Honolulu, HI 96806

Phone Number

(808) 537-9475


Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy


P.O. Box 3469; 335 Merchant Street
Honolulu, HI 96801