A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Labor has named accounting among the top 15 occupations with the highest level of projected growth through the year 2022. In fact, over 7,500 jobs in the field of accounting and auditing are expected to open in Missouri during this period.


The Missouri State Board of Accountancy is charged with licensing CPAs in the state. Becoming a certified public accountant means meeting education, examination, and experience qualifications prior to licensure that include earning a bachelor’s degree at minimum and 150 semester hours of college credit before passing all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam, and gaining a year of field experience. Since a bachelor’s degree will only result in about 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting is one of the best ways to earn the 30 additional credit hours required to become eligible for CPA licensure in Missouri.

CPAs operate independently providing tax services to the public, hold management and officer positions in business organizations, and are also found working for the “Big Four” international accounting and professional services firms PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and KPMG, all of which have offices in Kansas City. Top public accounting and advisory firm BKD also has a significant presence in Missouri with its office in Springfield, while National CPA firm Clifton Gunderson has a location in St. Louis.

CPAs with a penchant for finance often pursue further certification and enter the world of financial services where they work for investment firms like Edward Jones with offices in St. Louis; Ameriprise Financial with locations in Clayton, Chesterfield and Kansas City; and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, which has offices in St. Louis and Clayton.

Job Trends for Accountants in Missouri

As of 2015, ten Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in Missouri, ranking the state 17th in the country in terms of highest concentration of Fortune 500 company headquarters. Big business is always a big opportunity for accountants who work as auditors, controllers, and managerial accountants for some of the biggest emergent companies, including online mail order prescription provider Express Scripts, Medicaid managed care corporation Centene, and electrical equipment giant Emerson Electric. 
 
 Personal income tax service provider H&R Block has its world headquarters in Kansas City. Interestingly, their corporate headquarters is one of the leading employers of private accountants in the state who work as internal auditors and controllers, while at the same time their business model is built on employing many thousands of public accountants who work as tax preparers in their many neighborhood service locations worldwide. 



Accounting information systems specialists are employed in the CHAN Healthcare Auditors’ office in Clayton. These tech-savvy accountants support the internal auditors tasked with reviewing the financial records of the state’s health care facilities.

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Missouri Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

The Missouri Department of Economic Development listed the field of accounting on its top 20 list of skilled jobs with the most expected openings in the state in the coming years.  The Department expects the number of positions for accountants in Missouri to increase by an average of 12.7% each year between 2012 and 2022.

According to the US Department of Labor, the median salary for an accountant in Missouri was $60,000 in 2014.  Experienced professionals in the 90th percentile of this occupational category, typically representative of accountants and auditors with CPA licenses, earned an average of $106,000.

Managerial accountants with more than five years of experience at large corporate accounting firms in St. Louis earned between $68,956 and $88,013 a year according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide. 

Forensic accountants in Kansas City earned salaries in the range of $70,928 and $110,608.  Controllers at small financial service firms in St. Joseph earned between $83,720 and $112,385 according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide.

Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) had the highest salary of all professionals in the accounting field in Missouri, since they are typically licensed CPAs.  CFOs at financial service firms in St. Louis had salaries between $155,465 and $275,825.

Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in the Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas of Missouri

General accountants and auditors in St. Louis had a substantially higher average salary than their colleagues in the rest of Missouri in 2014 according to the US Department of Labor.

The 90th percentile in each area is representative of salaries for experienced accountants with CPA licenses issued through the Missouri Board of Public Accountants.

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Cape Girardeau-Jackson MO-IL
210
55190
Columbia MO
490
65720
Jefferson City MO
830
50860
Joplin MO
460
56690
Kansas City MO-KS
10340
66600
St. Joseph MO-KS
340
54880
St. Louis MO-IL
12400
76770
Springfield MO
1240
61020
Central Missouri nonmetropolitan area
640
51920
North Missouri nonmetropolitan area
310
59280
Southeast Missouri nonmetropolitan area
760
50880
Southwest Missouri nonmetropolitan area
310
62760

Tax Preparer Salaries in the Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas of Missouri

The salaries for tax preparers varied by more than two fold in 2014 according to the US Department of Labor.  Tax preparers in St. Louis had the highest average salary in this occupational category statewide:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Columbia MO
80
24740
Jefferson City MO
90
25440
Joplin MO
50
33930
Kansas City MO-KS
580
46700
St. Joseph MO-KS
60
49300
St. Louis MO-IL
Estimate not released
56970
Central Missouri nonmetropolitan area
130
29350
North Missouri nonmetropolitan area
60
39150
Southwest Missouri nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released
29920


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.

Missouri Tax Laws and Accounting in the News

Cincinnati Financial Corporation’s property casualty group recently announced pre-tax catastrophe losses of between $240 and $290 million from the April and May storms and tornadoes in the Joplin, Missouri area. This figure was well above expectations set by actuarial accountants for the second quarter. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced that he will hold $57.1 million in spending back from next year’s state budget. This money is being held back from the state’s general revenue fund so as to be available to invest in much needed natural disaster recovery efforts. Some of this money was originally intended for higher education institutions in the state, which will now see a 7% decline in state funding.