By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015
According to the Maine Department of Labor, in 2012 there were 4,250 accountants and auditors employed in the state. The Department projects that this number will grow to 4,440 by 2022, which is equivalent to an increase of 5 percent.
Maine’s Board of Accountancy issues licenses to candidates interested in becoming CPAs. In order to become an accountant eligible for CPA licensure, candidates must earn a bachelor’s degree and log a total of 150 semester hours of college credit before passing the Uniform CPA Exam and gaining one year of supervised experience. With traditional bachelor’s programs only including 120 semester hours, online master’s degrees in accounting have made earning the full 150 semester hours required for a CPA license more accessible than ever.
While Maine does not house any of the “Big Four” international CPA firms, there are local firms that employ CPAs who perform business advisory and tax filing services. Notable among these is Countinghouse Associates in New Gloucester; Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker in Portland, and Loiselle, Goodwin and Hinds in Bangor.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor has published figures in May 2014 showing accountants and auditors in the state making an average annual salary of $61,530. Most accountants in Maine tend to work in the Portland/South Portland/Biddleford area. In fact, this area is home to some 1,840 accountants, not including those who are self-employed. These accountants earn an average annual salary of $68,700, while the top 10% earn $101,750 annually.
The highest-paid accountants in Maine work in Bangor, making an average of $63,390 annually with the potential to earn enough to be counted among the 90th percentile, who earn $103,730 per year.
Other top-paying areas for accountants in Maine include the Rochester-Dover NH/ME area, where salaries for accountants range from an overall average of $71,560 to an average of $110,360 annually for the 90th percentile. In the Portsmouth NH/ME area, the average accountant salary was $70,870 in 2014, while the top earners in the 90th percentile earned an average of $113,330.
Maine’s Tree Growth Tax program, designed for those with between 10 and 100 acres of Maine forestland grown for commercial purposes, has helped reduce the tax burden to land owners whose property is dedicated to the growth of trees for the purpose of commercial logging. This is big news that affects the state economy as a whole given that the timber and wood products industry is one of the biggest employers and revenue generators in Maine. Once land owners are enrolled in the Tree Growth Tax program, their forestland is taxed based upon the land’s actual productivity of timber growth, rather than upon its development potential or its fair market value.
In other news related to accountancy, the Maine Society of CPAs (MECPA) is sponsoring a Financial Literacy program, in which CPAs in Maine teach financial literacy to other state residents. This is done through public speaking and educational programs, and is also designed to bring more attention to the CPA professional designation.