A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Ohio

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. 



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

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services recently reported that between 2012 and 2022 the field of accounting is expected to add 1,546 new jobs. The accounting field is expected to experience a 13% growth rate nationwide as demand for accounting services increases.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the median salary for an accountant in the state was $72,951 in 2015.  Experienced professionals in the top 10% of this occupational category typically held CPA licenses and earned an average of $98,138.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants in Cincinnati earned $69,170 on average in 2014. In the same year, accountants in Cleveland and Dayton earned $69,980 and $72,850 respectively. Salary ranges for accountants in Ohio are attributed largely to experience, location and CPA licensure.

General accountants working for large companies in Cleveland earned between $65,656 and $83,801 a year according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide. Forensic accountants in Cincinnati make even more due to the high demand for their specialized training, earning between $69,712 and $108,712 in 2015.

Controllers in Cincinnati earned between $149,175 and $203,775 according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide. CFOs, experienced accounting experts who often have CPA licensure, earned between $283,969 and $454,106 in the same year.

Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Ohio’s Urban and Rural Areas

Dayton had the highest average annual salary for accountants in Ohio, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) 2014 report. The salary for accountants in urban areas tended to be higher, according to BLS data.

The table below contains salary and employment data for accountants throughout Ohio (2014):

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Akron OH
2550
69400
Canton-Massillon OH
890
58480
Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN
8220
69170
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor OH
8250
69480
Columbus OH
8330
68980
Dayton OH
2480
72850
Lima OH
270
66910
Mansfield OH
200
56630
Sandusky OH
120
55280
Springfield OH
240
57960
Steubenville-Weirton OH-WV
160
60660
Toledo OH
1910
75530
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman OH-PA
1500
59640
West Northwestern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
1200
63830
Other Ohio nonmetropolitan area
1310
61460
Eastern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
530
60950
Southern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
620
61270

Salaries for Tax Preparers Throughout Ohio

Tax preparers in Northwestern Ohio’s nonmetropolitan area earned an average annual salary of $27,590. Those working in urban areas like Cincinnati, Cleveland or Dayton tended to make more, according to BLS data.

The table below shows 2014 employment and salary information for tax preparers in Ohio’s metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Akron OH
220
37990
Canton-Massillon OH
30
35850
Cincinnati-Middletown OH-KY-IN
440
43040
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor OH
520
45080
Columbus OH
350
34820
Dayton OH
170
39140
Toledo OH
160
31140
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman OH-PA
Estimate not released
30020
West Northwestern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
130
27590
Other Ohio nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released
43020
Southern Ohio nonmetropolitan area
80
32740

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.

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.