Introduction

Massachusetts is a major center of business in the northeast, and 13 Fortune 500 companies call the state home, including General Electric, Liberty Mutual, and Staples. With one of the stronger economies in the country, the state is a highly desirable for CPAs. Jobs for accountants are expected to grow slower than average in the state, but Massachusetts pays CPAs an annual mean wage that’s above the national average: around $80,280. Unsurprisingly, Massachusetts is home to offices for each of the “Big Four” international CPA firms (Deloitte & Touche, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Ernst & Young), all found in downtown Boston. The city is also the headquarters of major firms like Wolf & Co., Edelstein & Co., and Walter & Shuffain.

Massachusetts at a glance

Population 6,859,819
Per Capita Income $36,593
Unemployment Rate 3.6%
Fortune 500 Companies 12
Licensed CPA Firms 1,256

Accounting Programs in Massachusetts

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

A 12% increase in employment opportunities for accountants and auditors in the state of Massachusetts is projected between 2012 and 2022, as compared to the average national growth rate of just over 13%. The top three potential employers include Wolf & Co., which grossed $31.49 million in revenue last year, Feeley & Driscoll which garnered $24.22 million and DiCicco, Gulman & Co. which earned $18.00 million in 2014.

Over the next seven years, approximately 41,590 accountants will be employed in Massachusetts, earning anywhere between $43,460 and $132,500 annually by working in accounting services. Wages are heavily dependent on licensure, speciality and degree level.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

35,260 Employees2012
40,330 Employees2022
Massachusetts 12.6% increase
1,397,700 Employees2012
1,537,600 Employees2022
United States 9.1% increase
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Accounting Salaries by Specialty

Massachusetts Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $45,930
$41,110

Payroll Clerks

\ $49,670
$44,950

Credit Counselors

\ $60,040
$49,460

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $76,240
$68,420

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $67,960
$59,140

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $80,280
$77,920

Budget Analysts

\ $81,060
$77,170

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $109,370
$109,949

Financial Managers

\ $142,370
$143,530
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Peabody-Salem-Beverly NECTA Division
    $88,240
  2. Taunton-Middleborough-Norton NECTA Division
    $83,650
  3. Boston-Cambridge-Newton NECTA Division
    $82,410
  4. Boston-Cambridge-Nashua
    $81,860
  5. Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford NECTA Division
    $80,570
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in Massachusetts

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Wolf & Co.Boston, MA$37
2DiCicco, Gulman & Co.Woburn, MA$20
3Gray, Gray & GrayCanton, MA$18
4Edelstein & Co.Boston, MA$16
5KAFBraintree, MA$12

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 Massachusetts

Aspiring CPAs in Massachusetts must sit for the Uniform CPA exam administered by NASBA and overseen by the Massachusetts State Board of Accountancy. Exam candidates must meet the eligibility requirements listed below in order to take the exam. The following list of schools ranked according to their CPA Exam pass rates below show a variety of colleges and universities in the state with top CPA Exam passing rates. Any CPA candidates who do not successfully pass all four sections of the exam within the designated 18 month period on their first try may apply to take the CPA Exam again, which is common for many accounting students.

Massachusetts offers an optional pre-evaluation service to help students determine if they meet the educational requirements before applying for the exam. This state does recognize CPA mobility legislation as well as obtaining a license by transfer.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Massachusetts

In order to be eligible to take the CPA exam, candidates must:

  • Be a minimum of 18 years old
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree
  • Participate in international programs
  • Acquire 1 year of accounting experience
  • Have completed 120 of the 150 required semester hours at an accredited institution of higher education including:
    1. 21 hours of higher level accounting courses, such as auditing, financial accounting, taxation and management
    2. 9 semester hours of business courses, such as business law, finance and information systems

Neither state resident status nor an ethics exam are required to obtain CPA licensure in the state of Massachusetts.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementYes
Education Requirement for LicensureBachelor's degree (150 hours)
International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting21 semester hours
Exam Sitting Requirements120 hours
Experience Requirements1 year of accounting experience
Ethics ExamN/A

Students may substitute non-public accounting experience in order to meet the requirement for certification at the Board’s discretion according to these special conditions.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Massachusetts

Total:$1,027
  • Application Fee $195
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $208

Special Fees: A registration fee applies in addition to the application fee, and varies depending on the number of sections an individual is taking. The registration fee for all four sections is $177, for three sections is $157, for two is $137, for one is $117. A Certified Statement of Registration fee of $15 applies for each individual license.

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy issues certificates and licenses, regulates and monitors CPAs and CPA firms’ practices to ensure the quality of service provided to consumers, The Board also works with NASBA and AICPA by supervising the administration of CPA exams. Potential future CPAs and those already licensed may join the Massachusetts Society of CPAs which offers scholarships, a CPATrack, professional networking, a virtual community of peers and resources beneficial to those working or aspiring to work in the accounting field.

Massachusetts Board of Public Accountancy

Address

1000 Washington Street Suite 710
Boston, MA 02118

Phone Number

(617) 727-1806

Massachusetts Society of CPAs

Address

105 Chauncy Street 10th Floor
Boston, MA 02111

Phone Number

(800) 392-6145

Email

[email protected]