accountants salary by state

Salaries for Accountants & CPAs: Best (and Worst!) 15 States

Average salaries for accountants and CPA’s by state: Accountants are generally paid well when compared with other professionals with similar education requirements.

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for accountants and auditors was $68,150 ($32.76 per hour) in 2016, and their salaries are expected to rise another 3.7% in 2017.

There are a number of factors that determine an accountant’s salary, (such as industry and company size) but the two main factors are geography and experience.

So, just how important is geography? The average accountant in New York (best) can expect to make about 60% more than the average accountant in Mississippi! (worst)

Of course, there are a number of other variables to consider, like cost of living, industry growth rate, and state income taxes, but let’s look at the average salaries by state to get an idea of where tax professionals are being paid the most, and the least in America.


highest salaries for accountants

Accountant Salaries: BEST 15 States:

State:Average Salary:
New York:$93,280
Washington, DC:$93,210
New Jersey:$88,940
Virginia:$83,380
Massachusetts:$82,420
Maryland:$82,370
California:$82,620
Alaska:$82,180
Texas:$80,490
Connecticut:$80,470
Delaware:$77,860
Rhode Island:$77,410
Colorado:$77,400
Illinois:$76,950
Georgia:$76,560

Curious to know which states pay accountants the least on average? Here’s a list of the states that pay accountants the least, on average


states accounts paid least

Accountant Salaries: WORST 15 States:

State:Average Salary:
Mississippi: (worst)$56,380
North Dakota:$58,340
South Carolina:$61,340
Hawaii:$61,760
West Virginia:$63,380
Kentucky:$63,790
Nevada:$64,000
Kansas:$64,010
Maine:$64,190
Louisiana:$64,410
Montana: $64,900
New Mexico:$65,220
Iowa:$65,470
Indiana:$65,880
Wisconsin:$66,070

It also appears that beautiful islands are not the best places for someone in the accounting industry to earn a big paycheck. The worst salaries are in these U.S. islands:

  • Puerto Rico: $36,500
  • Guam: $44,010
  • Virgin Islands: $53,050

But, hey, your salary should take a distant second to your happiness, especially if you’re on a beautiful beach!


Accounting Salaries: Geography Matters

As you can see, when it comes to determining the average salary for an accountant or CPA, geography matters.

Having said that, the cost of living is usually higher in the states where accountants are paid the most, and the cost of living is lower in states where they are paid less.

Also keep in mind that salaries in different parts of individual states may vary significantly. For example, an accountant working in New York City may be making double the annual salary of an accountant in Cooperstown, NY! (where someone is more likely to just file on their own with TurboTax!) 

*Statistics based on occupational employment statistics for “Accountants & Auditors” from the Bureau of Labor

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