A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Florida

By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015

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The Florida Board of Accountancy is responsible for licensing Florida’s CPAs and, in accordance with the Uniform Accountancy Act, requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree at minimum with a total of 150 semester hours of college credit, a year of experience, and passing scores on the Uniform CPA Exam. While satisfying the experience requirement, many CPA licensure candidates also begin working to earn a master’s degree in accounting to satisfy the semester hour requirement for CPA licensure in Florida.

Major employers of CPAs in the state include public accounting firms Crowe Horwath, LLC located in Fort Lauderdale, as well as “Big Four” international CPA firms KPMG with offices in Miami and Ernst and Young with a location in Tampa.

Featured Undergraduate Program

*Accredited accounting programs are available in a flexible online format that puts an undergraduate degree in accounting well within reach. Prepare to earn your CPA license and develop the skills employers are looking for with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Featured Graduate Program

*Qualifying for a CPA license requires a bachelor’s degree at minimum and a total of 150 semester hours of college credit to include coursework in accounting, business and ethics. Since bachelor’s programs typically result in just 120 semester hours of credit, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) maintains that earning a Master of Science in Accounting is the best way to achieve the full 150 semester hours you need to become licensed.

Job Trends for Accountants in Florida

CPAs involved in investigative accounting are credited with building the body of evidence responsible for prosecuting both white-collar crimes and the illicit money laundering activities of organized crime syndicates. Forensic accounting is emerging as one of the hottest jobs in accounting, and in Florida, major accounting firms like the Sanford Barrows Group, LLC as well as Miami’s U.S. Marshals Service, retain these professionals for their unique investigative expertise. 

According to the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, one of the biggest areas of employment for Florida’s accountants is in the world of big business. Corporate accountants serve as accounting managers, internal auditors, and financial control officers for the many fortune 500 companies headquartered here, including Fidelity National Financial in Jacksonville and the corporate offices of specialty retailer Office Depot located in Boca Raton. Financial advisers serve institutions like Edward Jones in Orlando or JPMorgan Chase, which has a corporate office in Tampa.

Job Growth and Salary Expectations for Accountants in Florida

As of 2012, some 78,950 accountants worked in Florida. Employment projections released by the United States Department of Labor suggest that by 2022 this number will grow to 94,330. This occupational growth trend reflects a 20% increase in the number of accounting jobs in the state during this ten-year period. This will result in an average of 3,230 new jobs being created for accountants in Florida each year during this period.

The United States Department of Labor reported that accountants in Florida earned an average annual salary of $68,060 in 2014 (average hourly wage of $32.72). Entry-level accountants were offered an average of $38,900 annually. Those in the 50th percentile earned $60,600 annually.

The top ten percent of accountants in Florida, often those that held CPA licensure, earned an average of $103,200 in 2014.

Average accounting salaries in Florida by region (US Department of Labor, 2014):

  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers: $68,040
  • Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-Destin: $69,060
  • Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach: $62,190
  • Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield: $69,430
  • Gainesville: $60,530
  • Jacksonville: $68,160
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven: $72,360
  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach: $70,080
  • Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall: $70,030
  • Naples-Marcos Island: $71,200
  • North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota: $68,840
  • Ocala: $62,160
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford: $66,060
  • Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville: $64,520
  • Palm Coast: $54,410
  • Panama City-Lynn Haven-Panama City Beach: $77,860
  • Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent: $63,010
  • Port St. Lucie: $63,010
  • Punta Gorda: $58,610
  • Sebastian-Vero Beach: $71,880
  • Tallahassee: $55,340
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater: $68,650
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach: $71,050
  • Northeast nonmetropolitan area: $59,610
  • South nonmetropolitan area: $72,490

Florida Tax Laws in the News

Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed into law a back to school sales tax holiday designed to encourage spending during the month of August. For a few days each August, no sales tax will be charged for clothing expenditures up to $75 or for the purchase of school supplies up to $15. Because consumers usually spend money on other items while shopping for back to school items, the state actually expects to collect an extra $7 million in tax revenue during this tax holiday.

The governor also recently instituted a military property tax exemption for active duty military members. Under this new law, military servicepersons do not have to pay Florida property tax on their homesteaded property while deployed outside of the United States. This applies to troops actively engaged in Operations New Dawn, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.