Virginia is home to one of the strongest economies in the country, and its GDP of $494.3 billion ranks 12th among all U.S. states. This fertile economy is supported by 23 Fortune 500 companies based in the state, which include major businesses like Freddie Mac, Capital One Financial, and the Altria Group, parent company to Phillip Morris. Given its proximity to Washington, D.C., Virginia is also a center of military and defense spending, with major defense contractors such as General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman headquartered in the state. This expansive, varied business climate means high demand for financial professionals, and Virginia employs more than 26,400 accountants and auditors, a far higher concentration than the national average. Virginia accountants also earn an annual mean wage of $84,740, which is far above the national average.

Virginia at a glance

Population 8,470,020
Per Capita Income $34,052
Unemployment Rate 2.9%
Fortune 500 Companies 21
Licensed CPA Firms 1,150

Accounting Programs in Virginia

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

Accounting Salaries and Employment

The Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports Virginian accountants and auditors earn an average annual income of $78,640, making them among the highest paid in the country. The outlook for CPAs in Virginia is bright in terms of both earning power and job growth. The number of accountants and auditors in the state is expected to increase 16.1% through 2022, bringing the total number of accountants to almost 49,000.

Projected Job Growth for Accountants

38,330 Employees2016
50,240 Employees2026
Virginia 23.7% 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

Virginia Avg. Annual Wage United States Avg. Annual Wage

Associate Degree Recommended

Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks

\ $42,390

Payroll Clerks

\ $46,610

Credit Counselors

\ $49,170

Bachelor's Degree Recommended

Cost Estimators

\ $71,090

Tax Examiners and Collectors

\ $52,330

Master's Degree Recommended

Accountants and Auditors

\ $84,740

Budget Analysts

\ $89,330

Personal Financial Advisors

\ $123,730

Financial Managers

\ $159,800
Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile

Top-paying cities for accountants

  1. Northwest Virginia nonmetropolitan area
  2. Richmond
  3. Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News
  4. Roanoke
  5. Charlottesville
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES - State Employment Survey

Major firms headquartered in Virginia

Count Firm Location 2014 Revenue (in millions)
1 Kearney & Co. Alexandria, VA $109
2 PB Mares Newport News, VA $35
3 Cotton & Co. Alexandria, VA $29
4 Brown, Edwards & Co. Roanoke, VA $26
5 Johnson Lambert Falls Church, VA $25

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 Virginia

CPAs in Virginia must meet requirements developed by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA). Candidates must:

  • Pass all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam
  • Hold a bachelor's degree or higher
  • Complete a minimum of 150 Credit hours of postsecondary education
  • Have one year of full-time experience in academia, a CPA firm or related industry that meets VBOA standards.

The Virginia Board of Accountancy also requires candidates pass a Virginia specific ethics course. Virginia has been a leader in implementing CPA Mobility standards developed by the AICPA which enable CPAs licensed in other states to practice in Virginia.

Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Virginia

Applicants for CPA licensure in Virginia CPA must comply with the requirements outlined below.

  • Candidates must have either a valid social security number or control number issued by the Virginia DMV; U.S. citizenship is not required
  • All four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam must be passed with a score of at least 75%

Since it is not uncommon for candidates to require more than sitting to complete all four parts the State of Virginia allows applicants 18 months to complete the exam in its entirety.

Age Requirement N/A
Citizenship Requirement No
Residency Requirement No
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 and eligibility requirements for Virginia CPAs have been established by the Virginia Board of Accountancy and are codified in Virginia code sections 54.1-116 – 54.1-413.

Source: The American Institute of CPAs

CPA exam fees in Virginia

  • Application Fee $120
  • Auditing & Attestation $208
  • Financial Accounting & Reporting $208
  • Regulation $208
  • Business Environment & Concepts $208

The Virginia Board of Accountancy requires $20 re-examination application fee be paid by individuals wishing to re-take one or more sections of the Uniform CPA Exam.

Certifying and Professional Organizations

The Virginia Board of Accountancy regulates CPAs throughout the state ensuring that CPAs meet the statutory requirements for initial licensing and license renewal. The board ensures that active licensee comply with regulations and statutes including continuing professional education obligations. The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants is a professional membership organization committed to the professional growth and success of its members.

Virginia Board of Accountancy


9960 Maryland Drive, Ste. 402
Henrico, VA 23233

Phone Number

(804) 367-8505

Virginia CPA Education Foundation


4309 Cox Road
Glen Allen, VA 23060

Phone Number