One of the smallest states in the U.S. by both population and GDP, South Dakota is nevertheless home to a varied economy that includes agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and tourism. Despite its small size, South Dakota employs more than 8,200 accountants and auditors, which puts it among the top 5 states for concentration of accounting jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Projections Central expects accounting jobs to grow by 9.8% in South Dakota through 2026, which is on pace with the national average. While none of the “Big Four” accounting firms hold offices in the state, South Dakota is home to substantial regional firms including Ketel Thorstenson and Wohlenberg Ritzman & Co.

South Dakota at a glance

Population 869,666
Per Capita Income $26,959
Unemployment Rate 3%
Fortune 500 Companies 0
Licensed CPA Firms 135

Accounting Programs in South Dakota

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of accountant and auditor positions in South Dakota will increase at a rate of 8.7% through 2022. That rate is below the 13.1% average growth rate expected nationally. The additional 400 positions are anticipated to be largely in the state's most populous cities of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. South Dakota CPAs can expect to earn $60,000 per year which is 19% below the national average, but about 38% higher than the mean wage for all workers statewide.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

4,410 Employees2016
5,570 Employees2026
South Dakota 20.8% 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 Dakota Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $33,210

Payroll Clerks

\ $36,090

Credit Counselors

\ $37,640

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $52,940

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $52,260

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $65,460

Budget Analysts

\ $62,090

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $83,530

Financial Managers

\ $134,630
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Sioux Falls
  2. Rapid City
  3. East South Dakota nonmetropolitan area
  4. West South Dakota nonmetropolitan area
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) in South Dakota

CPAs in South Dakota must meet the requirements specified by the State Board of Accountancy. The state's licensing requirements generally conform with national standards developed by the NASBA and the AICPA. Requirements include:

  • Earn a minimum of 150 credit hours of postsecondary education
  • Complete at least 24 credits in accounting courses
  • Complete at least 24 credits in business courses
  • Earn at least a bachelor's degree
  • Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam

Candidates must complete the AICPA Professional Ethics Course as well as attain a passing grade on the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam.

South Dakota also participates in the CPA Mobility Program which allows currently licensed CPAs relocate to South Dakota and transfer their certifications without having to re-take the Uniform CPA Exam or meet current education requirements

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in South Dakota

Applicants for licensure as a South Dakota CPA are not required to be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident. Candidates are required to have at least one year or 375 hours of professional experience. Experience may be in the form of government, private or public sector employment.

Experience must be earned under the supervision of a licensed CPA. Candidates who did not take or pass all four parts of the Uniform CPA exam in a single sitting may apply for re-examination within 18 months. It is not unusual for candidates to spend more than one sitting to successfully complete the entire exam.

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

Licensing rules and regulations for South Dakota CPAs are governed by the South Dakota Board of Accountancy which is a division of the Department of Labor and Regulation. Eligibility requirements are discussed in Chapter 36-20B of the South Dakota Code.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in South Dakota

  • Application Fee N/A
  • Auditing & Attestation $238
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $238
  • Regulation $238
  • Business Environment & Concepts $238

Applicants who have not successfully completed all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam who apply for re-examination are subject to a $30 registration fee per section plus the cost of that exam section.

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The South Dakota Board of Accountancy is the regulatory agency that is responsible for administering and enforcing regulations regarding the practice of public accounting in the state. The board enforces statutes including mandated continuing education requirements and evaluates and processes consumer complaints.

The South Dakota CPA Society (SDCPAS) is a voluntary professional membership organization advocating for Certified Public Accountants in the State of South Dakota. The SDCPAS also provides members with education opportunities, public service projects and other resources to enhance members practices.

South Dakota Board of Accountancy


301 East 14th Street, Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Phone Number

(605) 367-5770

South Dakota Society of CPAs


1000 N. West Avenue #100
Sioux Falls, SD 57101

Phone Number

(605) 334-3848