By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015
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.
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):
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.