A State By State Accounting Guide

Pennsylvania Accountant and CPA Salaries

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.

Accounting Salaries in Pennsylvania’s Metro and Non-Metro Areas

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.

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ
2480
71550
Altoona PA
330
62080
Erie PA
830
58240
Harrisburg-Carlisle PA
3340
66480
Johnstown PA
380
54220
Lancaster PA
2020
64520
Lebanon PA
270
62830
Philadelphia PA Metropolitan Division
22240
77110
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD
30040
77970
Pittsburgh PA
12220
67310
Reading PA
1220
66070
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre PA
1830
60900
State College PA
430
67080
Williamsport PA
330
62340
York-Hanover PA
1490
68080
Far Western Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
1170
58880
West Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
870
52540
Northeastern Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
790
56190
East Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
1330
57590

Tax Preparer Salaries in Pennsylvania’s Metro and Non-Metro 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.

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton PA-NJ
Estimate not released
36860
Harrisburg-Carlisle PA
110
32960
Lancaster PA
110
37920
Philadelphia PA Metropolitan Division
600
43830
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington PA-NJ-DE-MD
970
40810
Pittsburgh PA
630
39460
Reading PA
70
32770
Scranton--Wilkes-Barre PA
110
25640
State College PA
40
36370
York-Hanover PA
110
32710
Far Western Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
40
35800
West Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released
30160
Northeastern Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
50
34030
East Central Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area
30
20380

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.