A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in South Carolina

By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015

Find Accounting Programs Here

Accounting is listed by the South Carolina Department of Commerce as one of the ‘Hot Jobs’ in the state. Between the years 2012 and 2022, the number of jobs available to accountants in South Carolina is expected to grow by 12 percent, translating to more than 3,000 new accounting positions during that period.

In 2014, the top industries to employ accountants in South Carolina were leisure, technology, security, and investment and banking, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

The South Carolina Board of Accountancy licenses qualified candidates interested in becoming certified public accountants. Qualifications include completing 150 semester hours of formal education resulting in a bachelor’s degree at minimum, gaining a year of public accounting experience, and passing the Uniform CPA Exam.

 With most bachelor’s programs consisting of just 120 semester hours of college credit, earning a master’s in accounting provides the additional credit hours in advanced accounting coursework required for CPA licensure in South Carolina.

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.

Featured Graduate Program

*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.

Public accounting firms in South Carolina, such as “Big Four” CPA and professional services firm, Deloitte, which has locations in both Columbia and Greenville, as well as PricewaterhouseCoopers, with an office in Spartanburg, are the obvious choices for CPAs interested in providing external audit and management consultation services. CPAs also often establish independent practices or work for one of the many local or regional firms in the state. 

The headquarters of specialty nonprofit fund accounting software producer, Blackbaud, is located in Charleston and is a major local employer of cost and capital accountants, as well as fund accountants. Accountants also hold titles like financial control officer and budget analyst in which they work for industry giants like AREVA Federal Services, a nuclear engineering company that has a branch office in Aiken. These positions involve everything from mitigating risk and enhancing profits to adhering to federal compliance requirements.

South Carolina Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the reporting arm of the U.S. Department of Labor, the mean salary for accountants working in South Carolina was $59,240 as of 2014. Salary averages are considerably higher in select parts of the state. For example, accountants in the Augusta-Richmond County GA/SC area earn about $65,760 annually, and those employed in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill NC/SC area make an average of $76,390 per year. 

The Pee Dee nonmetropolitan area of the state is another area where accountants make more than the state average, earning $61,500 on average each year. This area, in the northeastern corner of South Carolina, includes the cities of Florence and Myrtle Beach. At $66,490, accountants working in Sumter also make a higher than average salary.

South Carolina Tax Laws in the News

South Carolina’s House of Representatives is hoping to attract online retailer, Amazon.com, to the state to open a distribution center in hopes that it will create 2,000 new jobs locally. To that end, they are proposing that Amazon.com receive a five-year exemption from collecting state sales tax on purchases made by residents of South Carolina. It is estimated by state legislators that the planned distribution center could bring $1.7 billion to the state over the next decade. The bill that allows the exemption has gone to Governor Nikki Haley’s office for her approval.

Another bill currently awaiting approval by the governor concerns a reduction of unemployment taxes that employers are obligated to pay, which contribute to unemployment benefits paid to laid off workers. The bill proposes an 18 percent tax cut for employers. It would reduce unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 20 weeks and would render seasonal employees ineligible for unemployment benefits.