In 2014, The Bureau of Labor Statistics published information showing a 2.4 percent average yearly increase in employment for accountants in the state for the ten-year projection period between 2012 and 2022. This 24 percent increase over the ten-year period represents an average of 5,640 new job openings for accountants in Texas each year. It’s no surprise that in a state where oil and gas exploration are big business, the companies driving this increase are technical and scientific corporations dedicated to these endeavors. As it stands, these corporations are already some of the biggest private industry employers of accountants in Texas.
The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy grants licenses to qualified candidates interested in becoming certified public accountants. To be eligible for licensure, CPA candidates are required to earn 150 semester hours of college credit and a bachelor’s degree before passing the Uniform CPA Exam and gaining a year of supervised experience. With most bachelor’s programs consisting of just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting can provide the additional credit hours in advanced accounting coursework required for licensure in Texas.
Texas’ CPAs are found working for the many local and regional CPA firms in the state. Many also work for international firms with a presence in the state, including Baird, Kurtz and Dobson, which has offices in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio and Clifton Gunderson, which has offices in Austin and Houston. A CPA license, often coupled with specialty certification, allows these professionals to serve as tax consultants and financial analysts in the Texas offices of global financial services firms like JPMorgan Chase, or as forensic accountants who investigate fraud under the auspices of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
With its concentration of big industry and big business, Texas is a major player in global commerce. Accountants familiar with International Financial Reporting Standards are needed to facilitate international trade for globally recognized companies like Marathon Oil, and engineering and construction giant, URS Corporation, both of which have a strong presence in Texas.
Fortune 150/Global 500 petroleum refining company, Tesoro Corporation, which is headquartered in San Antonio, and industrial hygiene services company, ALS Environmental, with offices in Houston, both employ environmental accountants and auditors. The proliferation of oil and natural gas exploration in Texas necessitates the services of these specially trained professionals to help ensure compliance with environmental regulations so as to avoid EPA fees that could otherwise work to erode the bottom line.
Texas was the first state to reemerge economically following the Recession, so accountants seeking work in the Lone Star State can expect plenty of opportunities. As Texas’ oil and petroleum companies continue to expand their business, accountants are needed to help keep their finances in order. Big business has received a much higher level of scrutiny across the country, and accountants have largely led the charge to reform and improve business practice.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted a 13% growth rate for accountants nationwide from 2012 to 2022. In Texas however, that rate is a staggering 32.02%. Accountants looking for work will likely have little trouble finding work, thanks to the surge of business in the state.
According to salary information provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants in Texas earned an average of $75,210 in 2014. Tax preparers in the top 10th percentile in Corpus Christi made $66,380. Accountants who were in the top 10 percent salary bracket earned $131,770 in the Houston area.
The 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide provided salary data for specialized accounting and finance positions in Texas. According to the guide, salaries of internal auditors at midsized corporations varied from $58,888 in El Paso to $89,173 in Austin. Controllers at small firms averaged $90,773 in San Antonio, while larger firms in the city paid up to $204,820.
Wages are substantially higher for licensed CPAs in the state. Forensic accountants made as much as $119,862 in Dallas, while CFOs, a CPA licensed position, had a salary range of $313,094 to $500,681 in the same city.
Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Texas
The factors that greatly affect salaries for accountants in Texas are location, experience and CPA licensure. The lowest average wage reported by the BLS was for the Gulf Coast Texas nonmetropolitan area at $60,500 a year. Houston makes up the top of the range at $83,190 annually. The table below contains employment and salary information for accountants in 2014 drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Tax Preparer Salaries in Texas
The state average annual wage for tax preparers in 2014 was $40,290. Tax preparers in the top 10th percentile in Corpus Christi made $66,380, compared to the state top 10th percentile of $72,720. The table below shows 2014 employment and salary information for tax preparers in Texas’ metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas.
Throughout his two Presidential terms, President Barack Obama has targeted tax breaks for Texas oil companies. Currently, tax breaks for both Big Oil and independent petroleum producers amounts to $7.7 billion annually. Many Texas lawmakers are fighting the abolishment of these tax breaks, claiming that their eradication will make the price of gasoline climb even higher and eliminate jobs in the state. These legislators contend that smaller independent petroleum producers, and there are many throughout Texas, would be hurt by such a measure even more than Big Oil.
In April 2015, the Texas House of Representatives passed a tax-relief package that lowered the state sales tax. This plan stated that the Texas sales tax was to be lowered from 6.25 percent to 5.95 percent. This was an unexpected decision in the Texas legislature, and there was immediate and widespread debate.
The House’s aim with this package was to aid all Texans, not just those who own businesses or property. Texas legislature came to a conclusion at the end of the session in May 2015. Instead of a sales tax cut for all Texas citizens, Texas businesses will receive a 25 percent cut on state franchise taxes. Though only Texas business owners will receive the tax cut directly, representatives believe that the plan will still benefit all Texas citizens by creating jobs statewide.