By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015
Vermont’s Department of Labor estimated there to be 3,300 accountants working in the state as of their last report in 2012. By 2022, the department predicts the state will employ 3,610 accountants, representing a yearly job growth of .9% percent. This means approximately 130 accounting jobs will be created each year during the current ten-year period ending 2022.
In July of 2014, the Vermont Board of Public Accountancy came into full alignment with the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) and now maintains CPA licensing requirements similar to those found in most other US jurisdictions. All CPA candidates in Vermont are expected to hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum and complete a total of 150 semester hours of college credit before going on to pass the Uniform CPA Exam and gain one full year of professional accounting experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. Because a bachelor’s degree consists of just 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 Vermont.
The US Department of Labor reports that the largest portion (23%) of Vermont’s accountants work in professional, scientific and technical services industries. Some of these companies include instrumentation and software company BioTek Instruments, with headquarters in Winooski, and light spectrum filter manufacturer Chroma Technology Corporation, with headquarters in Rockingham. The second-largest group of accountants in the state (18%) is actually self-employed, followed by state government, which employs 10% of Vermont’s accountants.
Accountants who have achieved licensure through the Vermont Board of Public Accountancy often go on to work for “Big Four” international CPA firms, two of which have a strong presence in the state. CPAs at the Montpelier offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers or the Colchester office of KPMG provide auditing and attestation services, as well as management consultation and tax services to the state’s biggest corporate employers.
Vermont’s best recognized companies like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in Williston and NRG Systems, headquartered in Hinesburg, are also the state’s biggest employers of managerial accountants, internal auditors, financial controllers, capital and cost accountants. Other leading employers of corporate accountants in Vermont include outdoor outfitters, The Orvis Company in Manchester, and the largest privately held brokerage firm in the United States, A.N. Deringer, which is headquartered in Albans.
Government accountants work at all levels of government in the state, from state offices like the Vermont Office of the State Treasurer in Montpelier to federal offices like the Army National Guard located in Burlington.
In a May 2014 report, the Vermont Department of Labor stated that the average annual salary for accountants working in the state was $63,700. The Burlington and South Burlington areas paid accountants the most, with salaries there averaging $73,390. Major employers in these areas include the local CPA firm Arbol Group in Burlington and the CPA and consulting firm Gallagher, Flynn & Company in South Burlington.Accountants working in other parts of southern Vermont make about $67,650 annually and may work in organizations including the offices of People’s United Bank in Colchester and Essex Junction, or at the headquarters of The Orvis Company in Manchester. The rest of northern Vermont pays its accountants about $68,000 annually. Companies employing accountants in this area include international operations corporation Par-Springer Miller Systems located in Stowe.
Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) was in the news recently for passionately bringing attention to the top 10 corporate tax avoiders. On the Senate floor he spoke of the corporations that continue to yield the biggest profits, yet pay little to no taxes each year.
In other tax related news in Vermont, house republicans were able to help the state evade a proposed 55 cent tax on residents’ monthly electric bills intended to help pay towards building renewable energy projects.
Vermont’s CPAs who would like to work with other accountants in the state to influence tax law and advocate for their profession, might consider joining the Vermont Society of Certified Public Accountants. This organization provides networking opportunities for Vermont CPAs working in any capacity, and also offers continuing education classes and seminars to help CPAs maintain their licenses.