The smallest U.S. state by size and one of the smallest by population, Rhode Island is unsurprisingly home to one of the country's smallest economies, with a GDP of around $57.4 billion. The state economy is based around health services, tourism, and manufacturing, and four Fortune 500 companies are based there, including CVS Health, Textron, and United Natural Foods. Despite its size, Rhode Island is home to a higher concentration of accountants and auditors than the national average, and they earn a mean annual wage of $79,950—also higher than the national average. Two of the “Big Four” international CPA firms, KPMG and Ernst & Young, have offices in the capital city of Providence. Rhode Island is also home to two of the region's largest firms: KLR, in Providence, and DiSanto Priest & Co., in Warwick.

Rhode Island at a glance

Population 1,059,639
Per Capita Income $30,830
Unemployment Rate 3.9%
Fortune 500 Companies 3
Licensed CPA Firms 215

Accounting Programs in Rhode Island

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimate the annual income of Rhode Island CPAs to be $77,180. Rhode Island accountants and auditors earn 4.5% more than the national average for their counterparts. They earn $32,000 more per year the statewide per capita average. The state's five largest accounting firms led by Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co with 90 CPAs and a total staff of more than 160 employ 250 CPAs.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

4,400 Employees2016
5,540 Employees2026
Rhode Island 20.6% 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

Rhode Island Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $42,940

Payroll Clerks

\ $44,990

Credit Counselors

\ $59,120

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $64,880

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $71,830

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $79,950

Budget Analysts

\ $84,740

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $132,990

Financial Managers

\ $144,260
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

Major firms headquartered in Rhode Island

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1 Kahn, Litwin, Renza & Co. Providence, RI $39
2 DiSanto Priest & Co. Warwick, RI $10

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 Rhode Island

Licensing requirements for Rhode Island CPAs follow standards established by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). These standards include:

  • 150 credit hours of postsecondary education
  • A bachelor's degree or higher
  • Professional or volunteer experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA

Rhode Island statutes regarding the transfer of CPA licenses from other states conform with the CPA mobility guidelines developed by the NASBA and the AICPA. These guidelines allow CPAs that are currently licensed by states other than Rhode Island to become licensed by Rhode Island after they meet the residency requirement or have a place of business in the state. CPAs relocating to Rhode Island are eligible for licensure reciprocity even if their license was issued before adoption of national standards.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Rhode Island

In order to become licensed as a CPA in Rhode Island candidates must successfully complete all four parts of the uniform CPA exam. The exam is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.

Applicants that are unable to attain a passing grade (75%) for each section on their first attempt may apply to retake one or more parts of the exam. Candidates who wish to apply for re-examination must do so within 18 months of their first attempt. Any currently licensed CPA that would like to relocate to or work in Rhode Island as a CPA my request to have their license transferred.

Age Requirement N/A
Citizenship Requirement No
Residency Requirement Yes
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

Licensing requirements for Rhode Island CPAs is done by the Rhode Island the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Board of Accountancy. Regulations regarding CPA exam requirements, education requirements and professional experience are all available on the department's website.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Rhode Island

  • Application Fee $150
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $208

Candidates seeking to re-take one or more sections of the Uniform CPA Examination must remit a $75 registration fee along with their request.

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Board of Accountancy is responsible for licensing and regulating CPAs practicing in the state. The board governs the conduct of CPAs to ensure that the public welfare is protected. The board has the authority to suspend or revoke licenses and other forms of professional discipline.

The Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization that advocate for CPAs working in the state. The RISCPA also provides continuing education resources and networking opportunities for its members.

Rhode Island Board of Accountancy


1511 Pontiac Avenue
Cranston, RI 02920

Phone Number

(401) 462-9500

Rhode Island Society of CPAs


40 Sharpe Drive, Unit 5
Cranston, RI 02920

Phone Number

(401) 331-5720