A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Ohio

By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015

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Accounting is one of the top 50 occupations in Ohio and is expected to have above-average annual earnings and growth rates between 2010 and 2020 according to the Ohio Office of Workforce Development. Between those years, the number of accounting jobs is expected to grow by 10.68%, translating to more than 1,300 job openings in the field.

The Accountancy Board of Ohio regulates CPAs, requiring them to earn 150 semester hours of college credit culminating in a bachelor’s degree at minimum before passing the Uniform CPA Exam and gaining a year of supervised experience. Would-be CPAs must also pass an Ohio Board administered course on basic professional standards and responsibilities. Because a bachelor’s degree offers only about 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting serves as the most common way to earn the 30 additional credit hours required for a CPA license in Ohio. CPAs establish independent practices or partnerships, work for smaller state and regional firms, or find employment with large firms like multinational accounting and consultation firm, Crowe Horwath, which has Columbus branch offices, or “Big Four” international CPA firm, Deloitte, which has offices in Cincinnati and Cleveland.

CPAs and other accounting professionals work in organizations that span the private and public sectors, serving businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits. They serve the unique needs of Ohio’s diverse industries and can be found working everywhere from the administrative offices of nonprofits like Akron Children’s Hospital, to the offices of investment firms like JPMorgan Chase, which has a location in Columbus. 

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.

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*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.

Ohio is a major player in global commerce and is home to 27 Fortune 500 multinational corporations as of 2013, which are recognized as the state’s leading employers of managerial accountants. The international corporate headquarters of Goodyear Tire & Rubber is in Akron, and the world headquarters of Owens Corning is located in Toledo.

Chief financial officers and financial control officers often have accounting backgrounds and operate the finance and management departments of some of the state’s biggest economic powerhouses, including food producer, JM Smucker, headquartered in Orrville, and Ohio Health, with its headquarters in Columbus. While these corporate officer positions wouldn’t be open to recent college graduates, they are accessible to experienced accountants with CPA credentials.

Ohio Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

In a May 2014 report, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) counted 37,640 accountants working in Ohio, making an annual mean salary of $68,360. The Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor area has the highest concentration of accountants and auditors at 8,250. The 270 accountants working in the Toledo area claim the highest salary average in the state at $75,350. Dayton area accountants make the next highest salary, at an average of $72,850 annually. Other areas of Ohio in which accountants earn higher salaries than the state average include Columbus ($68,980), Akron ($69,400), the Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN area ($69,170), and the Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor area ($69,480).

Ohio Tax Laws in the News

The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) recently met with congresspersons from Ohio as well as with representatives of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington, D.C. Their discussion focused on simplifying the federal tax code, federal tax reform, tax preparer regulations, and tax strategy patents. This is part of the OSCPA’s mission to bring the concerns of Ohio’s CPAs to the attention of the federal government in an effort to direct federal policy with the interests of the public and the accounting profession in mind.

In other news, the Ohio Senate has proposed a state budget that increases funding for K-12 education, eliminates the estate tax, and allows Ohio’s high school graduates who haven’t lived in the state for 12 months or more to qualify for in-state tuition rates. This new budget proposal also places more funding into the Local Government Fund to help townships and counties that are experiencing high levels of unemployment and foreclosure.