Introduction

A center of business in the Northeast, Pennsylvania is one of the nation’s top economies and the home of 21 Fortune 500 companies, including Comcast, Rite Aid, Kraft Heinz, and Hershey. The state’s substantial economy, which includes major sectors in agriculture, banking, and manufacturing, drives a significant demand for financial services, and Pennsylvania employs more than 23,000 accountants and auditors—both a higher number and a higher concentration that almost all other U.S. states. New York may serve as the financial capital of both the region and the country, but four of the area’s biggest finance firms are headquartered in Pennsylvania: The Bonadio Group, Schnedier Downs, Kreischer Miller, and Boyer & Ritter. Each of the “Big Four” accounting firms also maintain multiple offices around the state.

Pennsylvania at a glance

Population 12,805,537
Per Capita Income $29,220
Unemployment Rate 4.1%
Fortune 500 Companies 20
Licensed CPA Firms 1,934

Accounting Programs in Pennsylvania

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The average annual salary for Pennsylvanian accountants and auditors is reported at just over $70,000, a figure comparable with national averages. The best-paying areas for accounting salaries are unsurprisingly located in Philadelphia and surrounding metro-areas. Three state headquartered CPA firms bring in over $20 million in revenue every year.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

52,150 Employees2012
62,820 Employees2022
Pennsylvania 17% 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

Pennsylvania Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $39,470
$41,110

Payroll Clerks

\ $42,420
$44,950

Credit Counselors

\ $55,820
$49,460

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $66,480
$68,420

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $49,820
$59,140

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $74,730
$77,920

Budget Analysts

\ $72,740
$77,170

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $117,510
$109,949

Financial Managers

\ $153,180
$143,530
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Philadelphia Metropolitan Division
    $84,840
  2. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington
    $82,370
  3. Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County Metropolitan Division
    $80,220
  4. Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton
    $76,990
  5. York-Hanover
    $72,480
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in Pennsylvania

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1Schneider DownsPittsburgh, PA$66
2Reinsel Kuntz LesherLancaster, PA$57
3Kreischer MillerHorsham, PA$31
4Boyer & RitterCamp Hill, PA$14

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 Pennsylvania

CPAs in Pennsylvania must meet the educational standards established by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Those requirements include a total of at least 150 credits of post secondary education and attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher. Once educational requirements are met, candidates must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam within 18 months of their first exam date.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Pennsylvania

Eligibility to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam requires that CPA candidates meet or exceed the following standards:

  • A minimum of 150 hours of post secondary education including 36 hours of accounting, tax, finance and business law courses
  • A bachelor’s degree or greater granted by an accredited college or university
  • Possess a minimum of two years of work experience directly supervised by a licensed CPA
  • Be at least 18 years of age

Pennsylvania participates in the CPA Mobility program developed by the NASBA in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Society of CPAs (PICPA) and other state CPA Associations. The program enables CPAs who are currently licensed by other states to transfer their licenses to the state.

Age Requirement18
Citizenship RequirementNo
Residency RequirementYes
Social Security # RequirementYes
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 ExamN/A

Pennsylvania recognizes that not all CPA candidates pass the entire Uniform CPA exam on their first attempt. Therefore they allow candidates to retake one or more sections of the exam subject to payment of a $95 re-examination registration fee.
Source: The American Institute of CPAs

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Pennsylvania

Total:$937
  • Application Fee $105
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $208

Certifying and Professional Organizations

Licensing of CPAs in Pennsylvania is administered by the State Board of Accountancy which is a department within the Pennsylvania Department of State. The Pennsylvania State Board is responsible for issuing of new licenses, renewals and transfers. The rules and regulations covering licensure in Pennsylvania may be found on the State’s website.

The PICPA (Pennsylvania Society of Certified Public Accountants is a voluntary professional membership organization that represents CPA throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy licenses and regulates the practice of Certified Public Accountants in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy

Address

P.O. Box 2649
Harrisburg, PA 17105

Phone Number

(717) 783-1404

Pennsylvania CPA Education Foundation

Address

1801 Market Street, Suite 2400
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Phone Number

(215) 496-9272

Email

[email protected]