Accounting Degrees in Iowa
While Iowa is commonly perceived as an agricultural state, farming actually comprises a proportionally small section of its economy, with much of the state GDP coming from biotechnology, manufacturing, finance, and government services. Iowa’s diverse economy has helped it handle the aftermath of the 2008 recession better than many other states, and unemployment has consistently remained below the national average. Continued economic growth accounts for the state’s strong outlook on accounting jobs, which are expected to increase by 14.1% from 2016 to 2026—more that 4% higher than the national average. For those seeking accounting careers, Iowa is home to all four of the major CPA firms as well as the major local firm Honkamp Kreuger & Co.
Iowa at a glance
|Per Capita Income||$28,361|
|Fortune 500 Companies||2|
|Licensed CPA Firms||483|
Accounting Programs in Iowa
Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in Iowa, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.
- Degree Levels
Accounting Salaries and Employment
Employment opportunities for Iowan accountants and auditors is expected to increase by 16.6% between 2012 and 2022; 3.5% more than the national percent change. This rapid growth would represent 15,540 employed accountants earning between $32,790 and $107,640 in less than ten years. As in any state, salaries depend upon an accountant’s level of expertise and speciality.
Honkamp Krueger & Co., one of the top accounting firms based in Iowa, is headquartered in Dubuque and reported over $43.70 million in revenue last year alone. The average annual salary for accountants in Dubuque is $63,040. Other top-paying cities for Iowan accountants include Des Moines, Davenport, Iowa City and Waterloo-Cedar Falls.
Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Accounting Salaries by Specialty
Associate Degree Recommended
Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks
Bachelor's Degree Recommended
Tax Examiners and Collectors
Master's Degree Recommended
Accountants and Auditors
Personal Financial Advisors
Top-paying cities for accountants
- Des Moines-West Des Moines$71,780
- Southeast Iowa nonmetropolitan area$68,790
- Cedar Rapids$68,370
- Iowa City$67,130
Major firms headquartered in Iowa
|Count||Firm||Location||2014 Revenue (in millions)|
|1||Honkamp Krueger & Co.||Dubuque, IA||$52|
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 and Regional Leaders"
Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in Iowa
CPA candidates in the state of Iowa sit for the Uniform CPA Exam administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Iowa is one of the jurisdictions that recognizes mobility legislature and licensure by reciprocity.
Since 2012, Iowa maintains an annual license renewal policy which mandates all CPAs and LPAs to renew their license by June 30th each year. Individuals whose licenses have become inactive may change their status to active by provided the board with proof of 120 hours of CPE completed within three years of their renewal application.
Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Iowa
Candidates seeking CPA licensure or certification must supply documentation that indicates the successful completion of the following:
- An education requirement of 150 semester hours
- A bachelor’s degree or transcripts that indicate completion of the degree within 120 days of their application
- Participate in an international program
- Complete the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam for initial licensure
- 1 year of employment experience including internships
- 1 year of attest experience plus 1 year of general experience
The residency requirement was eliminated in 2002 due to the computerization of the exam. Students can prepare for the exam by participating in this tutorial. After successfully passing the test, individuals will receive an initial certificate from the Accountancy Board of Examiners.
|Social Security # Requirement||Yes|
|Education Requirement for Licensure||Bachelor's degree (150 hours)|
|Participates in International Programs||Yes|
|Hours in Accounting||24 semester hours|
|Exam Sitting Requirements||120 hours|
|Experience Requirements||1 year of accounting experience|
|Ethics Exam||AICPA Ethics Exam|
An accounting concentration must be obtained during the required 150 hours. A CPA Exam Aid exam prep course offered by the AICPA is available to help students prepare.Source: The American Institute of CPAs
CPA exam fees in Iowa
- Application Fee $145
- Auditing & Attestation $208
- Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
- Regulation $208
- Business Environment & Concepts $208
Special Fees: Registration fees for individual sections of the exam vary depending on the number of sections being taken: $115 for four sections, $100 for three sections, $85 for two sections, $70 for one section. All sections must be passed within 18 months of the initial test date. A re-examination application fee of $100 may apply.
Certifying and Professional Organizations
The Iowa Professional Licensing & Regulation Bureau is comprised of seven professional licensing boards including the Iowa Accountancy Examining Board, which is responsible for maintaining strict standards for licensure, certification and registration of CPAs as well as investigating complaints against accountants or firms.
The Accountancy Examination Board however does not administer a state-specific exam. Instead, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) administers the Uniform CPA Exam in Iowa.
After certification, CPAs can join the Iowa Society of CPAs, an association of 4,300 members dedicated to furthering the professional success of licensed and certified CPAs through networking and education.
Iowa Accountancy Examining Board
200 E. Grand Ave., Ste. 350
Des Moines, IA 50309