A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Idaho

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.



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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

Idaho’s strong economy bodes well for people who are looking for lucrative accounting positions in the state.  The Idaho Department of Commerce reported that the state was in the top ten in terms of job growth within the field of accounting as of 2015, while the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Idaho has the third highest projected job growth rate in the country for accountants and auditors.

The Idaho Department of Labor, Communications & Research expects an 11.53% job growth rate in the accounting field between 2012 and 2022, which should result in an average of 153 new positions becoming available each year.

The US Department of Labor reported that the median salary for an accountant in Idaho was $60,300, while those in the top of their profession earned an average of $100,000. 

Experience has a sizable effect on the salaries of accountants according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide.  The salaries of corporate accountants at large firms in Boise are shown below for 2015:

  • More than 5 years of experience: $59,194 (Minimum) - $75,553 (Maximum)
  • Less than one year of experience: $38,960 (Minimum) - $47,570 (Maximum)

Having specialized experience can also increase the salaries of accountants.  For instance, forensic accountants in Boise earned salaries that ranged between $61,562 and $96,002 a year.  Controllers at small financial firms in Boise earned between $79,212 and $106,334 a year. 

The most lucrative accounting jobs are executive level positions held by CPAs, who are well compensated for the credential and the expertise it represents. Chief Financial Officers at small corporate accounting firms in Boise earned salaries that ranged from $90,620 to $130,657 a year according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide

Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Idaho’s Rural and Urban Areas

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the average salary for general accountants and auditors was substantially higher in Pocatello (2014):

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Boise City-Nampa ID
1890
64920
Coeur dAlene ID
220
61180
Idaho Falls ID
250
70770
Lewiston ID-WA
140
62580
Pocatello ID
210
79810
Southcentral Idaho nonmetropolitan area
280
65800
East Idaho nonmetropolitan area
240
65210

Salaries for Tax Preparers in the Boise-Nampa Area

The average salary for tax preparers in the Boise-Nampa area was $35,970 in 2014 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. A full analysis is shown below:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Boise City-Nampa ID
100
35970

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2014. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of specialty within the field of accounting and auditing.

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.