Accounting Degrees in Wisconsin
Wisconsin may not be known as a pillar of industry, but the state boasts a GDP of $309.5 billion (ranked 20th in the country) and no fewer than nine Fortune 500 companies, including Northwestern Mutual, Kohl’s, and Harley-Davidson. Wisconsin’s diverse economy is fueled by industries including agriculture, manufacturing, consumer goods, and tourism. The state employs more than 21,000 accountants and auditors, and jobs in the field are expected to grow 11.5% by 2024—slightly higher than the national average. Around 700 licensed CPA firms are found across Wisconsin, with Milwaukee serving as the center of most financial activity. Three of the four major international CPA firms maintain offices in Milwaukee (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte & Touche), along with Wipfli, the second-largest firm in the region.
Wisconsin at a glance
|Per Capita Income||$28,213|
|Fortune 500 Companies||9|
|Licensed CPA Firms||694|
Accounting Programs in Wisconsin
Search our comprehensive school directory to explore the accounting programs in Wisconsin, including campus-based, online and hybrid programs.
- Degree Levels
Accounting Salaries and Employment
Wisconsin offers competitive salaries to CPAs and financial professionals. There are jobs to be had at many large manufacturing and agricultural companies, as well as growing opportunities in the IT and tourism sectors which are becoming major contributors to the state’s economy.
Besides having three of the “Big Four” accounting firms located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is also home to nearly 700 licensed CPA firms and five major cities where financial professionals can make upwards of $70,000 annually. Those who have an advanced education can expect to earn in excess of $100,000 annually for top-tier positions.
Projected Job Growth for Accountants
Accounting Salaries by Specialty
Associate Degree Recommended
Bookkeeping and Auditing Clerks
Bachelor's Degree Recommended
Tax Examiners and Collectors
Master's Degree Recommended
Accountants and Auditors
Personal Financial Advisors
Top-paying cities for accountants
- Wausau, WI$70,930
- Eau Claire, WI$70,430
- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI$70,070
- Madison, WI$69,770
- Racine, WI$67,220
Major firms headquartered in Wisconsin
|Count||Firm||Location||2014 Revenue (in millions)|
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 Wisconsin
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services outlines the requirements of earning accounting licensure in the state. Wisconsin’s education and experience requirements are similar to those in other states. Moreover, Wisconsin will accept a licensed CPA from another state without further testing if the individual meets current state requirements or provides proof that he or she passed the Uniform CPA Exam and has five years of professional experience.
Eligibility for CPA Licensure in Wisconsin
Individuals wanting to work as CPAs in Wisconsin who are not licensed in another state or want to receive training in the field must obtain the required education and experience. Further, the state requires that all four parts of the CPA exam must be completed within an 18 month period.
The Wisconsin State Legislature does not list specific college-level courses required of CPA candidates. It does, however, mandate that CPA applicants must have received a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher with an accounting concentration or equivalent.
|Social Security # Requirement||Optional (a social security number is voluntary and used only for identification)|
|Education Requirement for Licensure||150 hours (including bachelor's)|
|Participates in International Programs||Yes|
|Hours in Accounting||Graduate Degree: Concentration in Accounting. Graduate Degree from a business school: 24 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours in accounting at undergraduate level plus 15 hours in accounting at graduate level which includes financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting. Bachelor's degree: 14 semester hours in accounting or equivalent quarter hours in accounting at undergraduate or graduate level which includes financial accounting, auditing, taxation and management accounting.|
|Exam Sitting Requirements||Must be within 60 days of completing education requirement|
|Experience Requirements||1 year experience of public accounting or its equivalent. Equivalent experience may be considered in government, industry, academia, law, self-employment (must be documented and presented in detail for Board consideration).|
|Ethics Exam||Must pass the Wisconsin online ethics exam|
Source: The American Institute of CPAs
CPA exam fees in Wisconsin
- Application Fee $150
- Auditing & Attestation $239
- Financial Accounting & Reporting $239
- Regulation $239
- Business Environment & Concepts $239
The total charge for all four exam parts goes down to $974.08 if all parts are taken within six months of each other.
Certifying and Professional Organizations
In Wisconsin, Certified Public Accountants are licensed and regulated by the state’s Department of Safety and Professional Services. As the authority that oversees Wisconsin’s public accountants, the department determines the requirements and procedures involved in earning and maintaining CPA licensure in the state.
CPAs new to Wisconsin are encouraged to join the Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants (WICPA). Members have access to continuing educational materials, as well as webinars and other forms of training. The WICPA is also home to the Educational Foundation, which invests in the future of the accounting profession.
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
1400 East Washington Avenue; Room 112
Madison, WI 53703
Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants
W233 N2080 Ridgeview Pkwy
Waukesha, WI 53188