By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015
With a license from the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy, CPA candidates who have earned bachelor’s degrees at minimum, gained a year of experience and passed the Uniform CPA Exam get to hold the rare distinction that comes with earning the CPA credential. A CPA license also brings the unique opportunity to work for industry giants like “Big Four” international accounting and professional services firms Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, all four of which have offices in Stamford and Hartford. With most bachelor’s programs consisting of just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting can provide the additional credit hours necessary to qualify for a CPA license in Connecticut.
Those interested in becoming non-certified public accountants in Connecticut aren’t required to be licensed or registered and can still work in many different capacities in almost every industry in the state. Many serve as accounting and auditing clerks or budget analysts in settings as diverse as the administrative offices of Greenwich Hospital, which has a location in Wilton and the offices of local consulting and staffing company, McIntyre Group located in Meriden.
CPAs and others with accounting backgrounds interested in offering investment planning services either operate independent practices or find work with investment firms. Global commodities firm Louis Dreyfus and Hartford Investment Management, located in the city for which it was named, both retain accountants with the restrained discipline necessary to be effective investment advisers.
Well-trained and properly credentialed government accountants are found at every level of state and federal government. Some work for federal agencies like the Department of Defense in Groton, as liaisons with private defense contractors like DRS Defense Solutions in Danbury or even in local government where they serve in the Connecticut Comptroller’s Office. The work performed by accountants employed by nonprofits like Save the Children, which has offices in Westport, is similar to that of government accountants, as they often specialize in fund accountancy with respect to money sourced from either tax revenue of donations.
Employment projections calculated by the United States Department of Labor indicate the number of accountants working in Connecticut will increase from 16,190 in 2012 to 18,020 by 2022, representing an 11% positive employment growth trend during this projection period.
Accountants looking to optimize their job prospects may consider searching for opportunities in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region because it was among the top ten metropolitan areas with the highest concentration of accountant jobs in the country as of 2014.
In 2014, the United States Department of Labor released occupational wage reports showing that accountants in Connecticut earned an average annual salary of $77,020 (average hourly wage of $37.03). However, further research revealed that most salary offers were contingent upon an individual accountant’s experience and educational background.
For instance, entry-level accountants received an average annual salary of $45,440 (average hourly wage of $21.82), while those with a few years of experience earned an average annual salary of $71,700 (average hourly wage of $34.45). The highest salaries were reserved for veteran accountants, often with CPA licenses. The top 10 percent of accountants in Connecticut earned an average annual salary of $114,400 (average hourly wage of $54.98).
In 2014, the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region was among the top ten highest-paying metropolitan areas for accountants in the country. Accountants in this area earned an average annual salary of $84,660 and an average hourly wage $40.70.
Additional average accountant salaries by region include (US Department of Labor, 2014):
Major employers of accountants in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk region include Interactive Brokers in Greenwich, international investment firm Alexander Bec in Stamford and the corporate offices of Subway’s world headquarters located in Milford.
Many accountants are also found working throughout the New Haven area, from Ivy League Yale University, to non-profit water utilities resource managers, South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority in Newhallville.
The Hartford region of Connecticut also employs a high volume of accountants. Here, they are found working for aerospace supplier and Fortune 500 Company the Goodrich Corporation in South Hartford, The Hartford Financial Services Group, and the State of Connecticut Judicial Branch located in West Hartford.