Introduction

With just over 1 million residents, Montana is one of the smaller states in the country by population, but it’s still home to over 300 CPA firms and more than 7,00 accountants and auditors. The state’s low population leads to an equivalently small GDP, but Montana is still home to a diverse economy that thrives on lumber, mineral extraction, and tourism, with more than 10 million visitors each year to attractions including Flathead Lake, and Yellowstone National Park. Montana’s concentration of accountants isn’t among the highest, but its expected job growth rate is: the Bureau of Labor projects accounting jobs to grow by 13% through 2026, well above the national average and most other U.S. states.

Montana at a glance

Population 1,050,493
Per Capita Income $25,989
Unemployment Rate 3.6%
Fortune 500 Companies
Licensed CPA Firms 308

Accounting Programs in Montana

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

Accountants and auditors in Montana can anticipate a 19.3% increase in employment opportunities between 2012 and 2022, compared to the national percent change of 13.1%. Potential employers included top regional firms like Anderson ZurMuehlen, which grossed $25.57 million in 2014, and Junkermier, Clark, Campanella, Stevens, which generated $14.20 million in revenue last year.

Close to 4,210 accountants will be employed in the state of Montana within the next seven years. They can expect to earn between $33,040 and $121,030 working in the field of accounting, depending of the type of services they specialize in, their degree level and licensure.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

3,340 Employees2012
3,760 Employees2022
Montana 11.2% 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

Montana Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $35,640
$41,110

Payroll Clerks

\ $39,860
$44,950

Credit Counselors

\ $42,490
$49,460

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $58,920
$68,420

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $58,190
$59,140

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $65,600
$77,920

Budget Analysts

\ $60,640
$77,170

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $103,890
$109,949

Financial Managers

\ $106,920
$143,530
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Great Falls
    $77,940
  2. West Montana nonmetropolitan area
    $72,000
  3. Billings
    $68,730
  4. Central Montana nonmetropolitan area
    $65,210
  5. Missoula
    $64,670
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in Montana

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Anderson ZurMuehlenHelena, MT$26
2Joseph EveGreat Falls, MT$9

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 Montana

In the state of Montana, CPA candidates must sit for the Uniform CPA exam administered by NASBA and must meet the requirements listed below. Also below is a list of schools ranked by CPA Exam pass rates showing a number of colleges and universities in the state with top CPA Exam passing rates.

Many candidates are not successful in their first attempt to pass all four sections of the exam within the designated 18 month period and therefore re-apply to take the necessary sections again. The scores below include both first time test takers and re-takers of the exam.

Montana also supports the transfer of grades and/or license policy, reciprocal licensure and mobility practice.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Montana

In order to be eligible to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam in Montana, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete 24 semester hours of graduate level accounting courses
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree
  • Complete the 150 hour educational requirement
  • Complete 12 months/2000 hours of experience working in accounting field
  • Take and pass the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam

There is no residency or age requirement for the state of Montana.

Age RequirementN/A
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementNo
Social Security # RequirementNo
Education Requirement for LicensureBachelor's degree (150 hours)
Participates in International ProgramsYes
Hours in Accounting24 semester hours
Exam Sitting Requirements120 hours
Experience Requirements1 year of accounting experience
Ethics ExamAICPA Ethics Exam

Candidates can review an exam tutorial and study sample tests prior to sitting for the exam here.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Montana

Total:$1,077
  • Application Fee $245
  • 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 $135, for three sections is $120, for two sections is $105, for one section is $90.

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Montana Board of Public Accountants is a regulatory body designed to maintain ethical and professional standards within the field of accounting for the state of Montana. While the Board may post CPA exam scores, the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) provides the Montana Board with examination services for the computer-based Uniform CPA Exam.

Those already licensed or seeking licensure may join the Montana Society of CPAs – a professional association comprised of 1,800 members throughout the world that strives to provide advocacy, continuing professional education, networking between members and through public relations as well as many more resources.

Montana Board of Public Accountants

Address

P.O. Box 200513
Helena, MT 59620

Phone Number

(406) 841-2389

Montana Society of CPAs

Address

33 South Last Chance Gulch Ste. 2B
Helena, MT 59601

Phone Number

(406) 442-7301

Email

[email protected]