A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Michigan

By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015

Find Accounting Programs Here

The Michigan Department of Labor reported there to be 30,960 accountants and auditors employed in the state in 2010. By 2020, it’s expected this number will increase to 34,070, which represents a strong job growth rate of 10.1%.

The Michigan Board of Accountancy issues licenses to candidates with the dedication and discipline needed to become certified public accountants. CPA candidates need a bachelor’s degree at minimum with a total of 150 semester hours of college credit, one year of experience, and passing scores on the Uniform CPA exam. Because a bachelor’s degree results in just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting provides the ideal way to earn the additional credit hours required for a CPA license in Indiana.  

All of the “Big Four” international CPA firms have a strong presence in Michigan. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) and Deloitte have offices in Grand Rapids, while Ernst & Young and KPMG have Detroit based offices. The Troy office of CPA professional services and advisory firm, Doeren Mayhew, is also recognized to be a major employer of CPAs in Michigan.

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.

Employment Industries for Michigan’s Accountants

Despite the news about Detroit’s economic woes, Michigan continues to be a major contributor to the US economy and a significant player in international commerce. As the hub of the U.S. auto manufacturing industry; one of the biggest producers of corn, wheat and soybeans in the country; and the location of some of the most majestic landscapes in the world, it’s no surprise that the three biggest money making industries in the statein 2015 were the automobile industry, advanced manufacturing, food and agriculture, and freshwater technology and services.

As home to iconic American companies like General Motors, Chrysler and Ford, Detroit-based accountants often serve as financial controllers, managerial accountants and auditors within the state’s automotive industry. In January 2015, President Barack Obama as quoted saying that after the bailout, the automobile industry has created over 500,000 new jobs, with Wayne, Michigan being a major city of assembly line reinvention.

Automobile manufacturing is not Michigan’s only manufacturing giant, either. Change the Equation, a group located in Michigan, indicates that the number of advanced manufacturing jobs in Detroit has grown by 37 percent between 2009 and 2014—spurred on by the revival of the automobile manufacturing industry.

The combined revenue of these and other manufacturing giants - such as The Dow Chemical Co. - has made the manufacturing industry one of the biggest employers of corporate managerial accountants, internal auditors, and financial controllers in the state.

Private sector accountants are also found working in the world headquarters of electronics and vehicle technology giant Delphi, which is located in Troy; and for Dow Corning Corporation, which was originally founded in Midland and is still headquartered there. America’s largest electricity transmission company, ITC Holdings Corp, is headquartered in Novi and is recognized as one of the state’s major employers of private sector accountants and CPAs specializing in investment analysis.

Accountants are found working in some capacity in nearly all government agencies in the state, whether municipal, state or federal. Specialized external audit experts work for the Defense Contract Audit Agency, which has offices in both Grand Rapids and Livonia, while fund accounting specialists and accounting clerks work for the comptroller and county administrators’ offices throughout the state.

Salary and Employment Facts about Accountancy in Michigan

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2014 that accountants and auditors working in Michigan made an average of $30.93 per hour, which comes to $73,670 per year. It’s no surprise that the majority of accountants in Michigan work in the Warren-Troy-Famington Hills region. In this area they earn salaries that average $73,480 annually. Accountants in the Detroit-Livona-Dearborn region are the best paid in the state, earning salaries that average $74,090 each year.

Other areas of Michigan that offer accountants salaries that are higher than both the state and national average include the Muskegon-Norton Shores area ($74,720), Bay City ($70,360), the Dearborn area ($70,460), and Flint ($68,300).

Michigan Accountancy and Tax Laws in the News

A resolution was recently introduced in the Michigan Senate that would enable municipalities to enforce a local 4% sales tax in addition to the state sales tax of 6%. This resolution, which was designed to help municipalities generate more money as tax revenue sharing from the state decreases, would have to be approved by taxpayers in order to be enacted by January 2012. 

In other tax related news, Michigan currently offers a film tax credit to production companies that come to the state to film movies. Some filmmakers are able to recoup up to 42% of their expenses through this tax credit. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would like to set a cap of $25 million on film tax credits citing that Michigan’s film tax incentive is one of the most generous in the country.