A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Maryland

By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015

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The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy grants CPA licenses to candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a program consisting of 150 semester hours of credit, with hours distributed among accounting, auditing, business and ethics courses as determined by the Board. Because traditional bachelor’s degree programs consist of just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting serves as the most common way to earn the 30 additional credit hours in advanced coursework required for CPA licensure in Maryland. CPAs work for top accounting firms with offices in the greater DC metro area, including “Big Four” international assurance and business consultation firms PricewaterhouseCoopers, located in McLean, Virginia; as well as KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young, all with offices in Washington. The biggest accounting firms with Maryland addresses are found in Bethesda, Rockville and Greenbelt. Among these are Reznick Fedder and Silverman, RSM Mcgladrey, Clifton Gunderson and American Express Tax and Business Services. Combined, these major firms employ thousands of CPAs in Maryland and the DC metro area.

Municipal and state government accountants in Maryland track spending at all levels, from Prince George’s County Office of Finance in Upper Marlboro, to the Maryland Department of Human Resources in Easton and the Defense Information Systems Agency in Fort Meade. 

Individuals interested in becoming management accountants, internal auditors, financial controllers, cost or capital accountants will find their services indispensible to any business organization. The biggest employers of corporate accountants in Maryland continue to be aerospace engineering and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation and Fortune 500 companies like Constellation Energy in Baltimore and Marriott International in Bethesda. 

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.

Forensic accountants who work to investigate and prevent fraud are found in governmental agencies throughout the state. FBI offices in Baltimore, Beltsville and Annapolis all employ certified fraud examiners, as does the Department of Defense offices in Hanover and Aberdeen and the Securities and Exchange Commission in nearby Washington, D.C. 

Salary and Employment Facts About Accountancy in Maryland

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in 2012, that there were some 28,660 accountants working in Maryland. By the year 2018, the Maryland Department of Labor expects there to be 31,230 accountants working in the state. Accountants working in Maryland were among the highest-paid in the country, making an average of $80,360 annually as of the last BLS report in 2014. 

Maryland’s larger metropolitan areas including Baltimore, the area surrounding Washington, D.C., and the Bethesda/Frederick/Gaithersburg area, are where most of the area’s accountants are found. In 2014, the DC metropolitan area employed the greatest number of accountants in the surrounding area at 33,430. Accountants in the DC metro area earned an average of $87,270 annually.

The highest paid accountants in Maryland work in the Bethesda/Frederick/Gaithersburg area, and made an average of $89,710 in 2014. Major accounting firms and potential employers in this area include PricewaterhouseCoopers; Reznick, Fedder and Silverman; and CBIZ.

Maryland’s smaller towns, such as Easton and Elkton on the upper Eastern shore, employ approximately 550 accountants who make an average salary of about $61,220 each year. Accounting firms located here include Trice, Geary and Meyers in Salisbury; and Watkins and Associates in La Plata.

Fike, Conner and Associates is the leading accounting firm in the far-western area of Cumberland and employs most of the 190 accountants located there. Accountants in this area earn an average of $61,310 annually.

Maryland Accountancy and Tax Laws in the News

Tax legislation that has recently passed in Maryland includes the Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Tax Credit, which was extended to December 31, 2015. This provides businesses using renewable energy with a tax credit of 0.85 cents for each kilowatt-hour of clean energy produced. Maryland’s accountants are necessary to help businesses understand and correctly benefit from this tax credit. A job creation and recovery tax credit was also created to encourage Maryland employers to hire people to fill vacancies or new positions. Businesses can save up to $5,000 by capitalizing on this tax credit.

Maryland CPAs need to keep on top of all the new information pertinent to the world of accounting. Maryland’s CPAs have formed a tight network that works to advocate for the profession in the state. Joining the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) is a great first step towards getting in touch with what’s going on in the profession.