South Carolina's economy is based around agriculture, manufacturing (primarily aerospace and automotive), biotechnology, and transportation. The state boasts the 26th largest economy in the country, with an annual GDP of $209.7 billion, and while growth has slowed slightly, South Carolina is in good shape financially. A healthy economy had led to a stable job market for finance professionals: South Carolina employs more than 15,000 accountants and auditors, and job growth is to be slightly faster than the rest of the country through 2026. Each of the “Big Four” financial firms maintain at least one office in the state, and the city of Greenville is also the headquarters of Elliot Davis Decosimo, one of the largest firms in the region.

South Carolina at a glance

Population 5,024,369
Per Capita Income $24,596
Unemployment Rate 3.3%
Fortune 500 Companies 1
Licensed CPA Firms 712

Accounting Programs in South Carolina

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the number of accounting and auditing positions in South Carolina to grow by 12.8% over 2012 levels by 2022. This is just slightly lower than the national projected growth rate of 13.1%. The expansion pencils out to the creation of approximately 1,900 positions in the state, but this does not factor in the number of positions made available from retirement and attrition. At $59,240 the average annual income for CPAs is more than 40% higher than the average salary of all South Carolinians.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

14,630 Employees2016
19,050 Employees2026
South Carolina 23.2% 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

South Carolina Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $36,070

Payroll Clerks

\ $40,090

Credit Counselors

\ $44,220

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $60,670

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $54,140

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $64,220

Budget Analysts

\ $68,350

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $94,090

Financial Managers

\ $122,750
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Pee Dee South Carolina nonmetropolitan area
  2. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort
  3. Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin
  4. Sumter
  5. Spartanburg
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in South Carolina

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1 Elliott Davis Decosimo Greenville, SC $117

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 South Carolina

South Carolina CPAs are required to meet the national standards that were developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy and the AICPA. In addition to successfully passing all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam, however unlike other states South Carolina CPA candidates may sit for the exam before they complete the education requirement. Licensure requires the following criteria be met:

  • 150 credit hours of post secondary education from a regionally accredited college or university
  • 36 credit hours of upper level accounting education, including business courses
  • Posses a bachelors degree or higher
  • Have at least one year of professional experience or five years of teaching in accounting
  • Be at least 18 years of age

The above criteria apply to first time applicants, which South Carolina defines as anyone who has never taken the Uniform CPA Exam or has applied before and had their application denied because it was incomplete. Others considered first time applicants include individuals who have taken the exam in other states, but did not earn the credit or taken the exam in another state and wish to transfer the credit to South Carolina.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in South Carolina

In order for a CPA candidate to qualify for licensure in the State of Florida they must be either a US citizen or permanent legal resident with a valid social security number. Applicants who do not have a social security number may request a waiver of this requirement from the State Board of Accountancy.

Candidate must pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam within 18 months of their first attempt. Since not all candidates pass all four sections in either their first or a single attempt they are permitted to apply to retake sections individually or together.

Age Requirement 18
Citizenship Requirement No
Residency Requirement No
Social Security # Requirement Yes
Education Requirement for Licensure Bachelor's degree (150 hours)
International Programs Yes
Hours in Accounting 24 semester hours
Exam Sitting Requirements 120 hours
Experience Requirements 1 year of public accounting experience
Ethics Exam AICPA Ethics Exam

The rules and regulations that govern CPA licensing in South Carolina overseen by the South Carolina Board of Accountancy. The regulation of Certified Public Accountants is detailed in Title 40 – Professions and Occupations Chapter 2 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. The licensing regulations for the Board of Accountancy contained in Chapter 1 were updated in December 2014.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in South Carolina

  • Application Fee $135
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $208

CPA applicants who were unable to attain a passing grade of 75% for all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam who apply for re-examination are subject to registration fees which are based on the number of sections being retaken:

  • 4 examination sections – $105
  • 3 examination sections – $90
  • 2 examination sections – $75
  • 1 examination section – $60

Certifying and Professional Organizations

South Carolina State Board of Accountancy is a division of the The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation whose mission is to promote the interests of South Carolinians by licensing, regulating and enforcement of standards of professional behavior.

The South Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization whose purpose is to represent the interest of its members through advocacy and continuing professional education.

South Carolina Board of Accountancy


110 Centerview Drive
Columbia, SC 29210

Phone Number

(803) 896-4300

South Carolina CPA Education Foundation


1300 12th Street, Suite D
Cayce, SC 29033


South Carolina Society of CPAs


1300 12th Street, Suite D
Cayce, SC 29022

Phone Number

(803) 791-4181