By an AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015
Job and career advancement opportunities for accountants, especially those with CPA licensure working in urban areas, are expected to be strong for the foreseeable future, with the US Bureau of Labor Statistics expecting the number of jobs in the field to increase by 13% between 2012 and 2022.
According to 2014 figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for accountants in the state was $70,120. Those in the top 10 percent averaged $109,840 a year.
The range of salaries for accountants in Pennsylvania is quite vast, and depends largely on CPA licensure, specialty, and the location in which they work.
The Robert Half Salary Guide for 2015 indicated that internal auditors working for large corporations in Pittsburgh averaged $89,586 a year. Controllers at small firms in Philadelphia made $104,621 on average, while forensic accountants in Harrisburg earned an average of $86,925.
CPA licensure and experience are typically the largest factors in determining an accountant’s salary. At the top of the salary range in Pennsylvania were chief financial officers (CFOs) working in Philadelphia. These professionals, who typically hold CPA licenses, earned a high salary of $526,068 a year according to the Robert Half Salary Guide for 2015.
Salary data shows a tendency towards higher wages for accountants working in metropolitan areas. That is not to say one cannot make a good living outside of Pennsylvania’s cities. In fact, the state’s Far Western Nonmetropolitan area reported an average annual wage of $58,880. Experienced accountants in that area reporting in the 90th percentile earned $90,760 on average in 2014.
The table below contains 2014 salary and employment data for accountants drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2014 report for Pennsylvania’s metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.
The median salary for tax preparers in Pennsylvania was $33,690 in 2014, while the average was $38,020 according to BLS data. Some tax preparers earned as much as accountants, with the 90th percentile reporting $62,240.
The table below shows tax preparer employment and salary data for 2014 as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.