A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Idaho

By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015

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Idaho has two classifications for individuals interested in becoming public accountants: Licensed Public Accountants (LPAs), and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). The Idaho Board of Accountancy is unique in that it is one of only a handful of state boards that continues to offer licenses to new non-certified public accountants. The CPA designation requires a bachelor’s degree at minimum, one year of experience and passing scores on all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam, all in accordance with the Uniform Accountancy Act. With 150 hours of college credit required to become eligible for a CPA license, candidates often go on to earn a master’s degree in accounting since, in most cases, a bachelor’s degree alone will result in just 120 semester hours.

Licensed public accountants perform tax preparation and bookkeeping services as proprietors of their own businesses, or work for companies like Sage Bookkeeping in Hailey or ADA Tax Professionals in Boise. CPAs also establish independent practices specific to tax planning and income tax filing, or offer their expertise to either national CPA firms like Myers and Stauffer, which has a location in Boise, or locally based firms like CooperNorman or Magnuson, McHugh & Company in Coeur d'Alene. Two of the “Big Four” International CPA and business advisory firms, Deloitte and KPMG, have a strong presence in Idaho as well.

Accountants with a penchant for managing business finances and efficiently allocating company resources may work in managerial accounting capacities, or as financial controllers, cost and capital accountants. Technology companies like Micron Technology, Inc with it’s cooperate headquarters in Boise and engineering giant URS with an office in Boise, are among the largest employers of private sector corporate accountants in the state.

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.

Government accountants serve in the public sector at the municipal, county, state and federal levels where they manage tax revenue sourced funds for the State Office of the Controller in Boise, the Idaho County Clerk/Auditor’s Office, and the Department of Defense, which has a location in Boise.

Job Growth and Salary Expectations for Accountants in Idaho

The United States Department of Labor expects the number of accountants working in Idaho will increase from 3,370 in 2012 to 4,160 by 2022, which shows a positive employment growth trend of 12% throughout this projection period. As a result, accountants can look forward to an average of 150 annual job openings during this ten-year period.

As of 2014, the federal government determined that the Boise-Nampa area held the highest number of accountants in Idaho. At that time, this region was home to approximately 1,890 active accountants.

Salary data collected by the United States Department of Labor concluded that accountants employed across Idaho earned an average annual salary of $68,070 in 2014 (average hourly wage of $32.72).

Accountants placed in entry-level positions received an average annual salary of $40,900. The most experienced accountants in the state, often those that held CPA licenses, earned salaries upwards of $100,000 in 2014 according to the US Department of Labor.

Average accountant salaries in Idaho by region were as follows (US Department of Labor, 2014):

  • Boise-Nampa: $64,920
  • Coeur d’Alene: $61,180
  • Idaho Falls: $70,770
  • Lewiston: $62,580
  • Pocatello: $79,810
  • Southcentral nonmetropolitan: $65,800
  • East nonmetropolitan: $65,210

Idaho Accountancy and Tax Laws in the News

A recent bill proposed in the Idaho legislature designed to help the state collect taxes on purchases its citizens made online recently ended in the state’s House of Representatives. Under this bill, tax forms would have been revamped to state that Idaho was entitled to collect sales and use tax on online purchases, even if online retailers did not charge these taxes themselves. Because only 8000 Idahoans reported use tax in 2010, some representatives felt that the state was losing out on about $30 million in tax revenue that could be recouped through such a tax.