WorkForce West Virginia lists accountants and auditors among the professionals that are in highest demand in the state. This trend is expected to continue as a growth rate of 0.88 percent per year is projected through the year 2022. In Workforce Investment Area 7, which includes some of the state’s most economically challenged counties like Hampshire, Mineral and Morgan, a slightly lower annual growth rate of .85 percent is expected. In Workforce Investment Area 4, including the counties of Jackson, Mason, Roane, Wirt and Wood, an increase of .73 percent per year is expected through the year 2022.
The West Virginia Board of Accountancy licenses CPAs in the state. Minimum standards of education (150 semester hours of college credit and a bachelor’s degree at minimum), experience (one year), and examination (passing the Uniform CPA Exam) must be met before licensure is granted. Because a bachelor’s degree results in around 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting is the most widely accepted method for earning the 30 additional credit hours required for a CPA license in West Virginia.
“Big Four” international CPA firm Ernst & Young has a regional office in Charleston, and PricewaterhouseCoopers has a location in Assurance. Other national public accounting firms with a presence in West Virginia include SKM with a location in Wheeling and Dixon Hughes Goodman, LLP will offices in Charleston.
Government accountants specializing in fund allocation work in state and municipal government throughout West Virginia, as well as for the many federal agencies located here. The state’s Economic Development Authority in Charleston is among the biggest local employers of government accountants, while the Internal Revenue Service in Martinsburg, the Federal Bureau of Investigations in Clarksburg, and the Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection office in Harpers Ferry are the major federal employers in the state.
West Virginia’s diverse economy is also supported by manufacturing, health care, and gambling, which are among the state’s leading private industry employers.
Gambling brought $631 million to West Virginia at its peak in 2008. Even in these slow economic times, revenue from West Virginia’s legalized gambling industry is up by three percent from last year. Staff accountants familiar with the American Institute of Public Accountancy’s Gaming Audit and Accounting Guide work for Mountaineer Casino Race Track in Chester, Charles Town Races & Slots in Ranson and Hollywood Casino in Charles Town.
Workforce West Virginia designates accounting as the second most in-demand occupation in the state based on significant amounts of growth and annual openings. This agency predicts that the number of jobs for accountants in West Virginia will increase by 8.5% between 2012 and 2022, generating an average of 215 new jobs a year.
The average salary for an accountant in West Virginia was $59,056 in 2014 according to Workforce West Virginia. Experienced accountants in the state earned an average of $69,907. Accountants in the experienced category are more likely to have a CPA license and thus earn higher salaries.
Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Urban and Rural Areas Throughout West Virginia
The average salary for general accountants and auditors was the highest in the Parkersburg area in 2014 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 90th percentile in each area is representative of salaries for experienced accountants licensed as CPAs. Experienced accountants in the 90th percentile of this occupation in Wheeling earned the highest average salary.
Tax Preparer Salaries in the Nonmetropolitan Area of North Central West Virginia
Tax preparers in the nonmetropolitan area of North Central West Virginia earned an average salary of $24,404 in 2014 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
In June 2015, West Virginia delegate Justin Marcum proposed a tax credit for West Virginia’s middle class citizens. If Marcum’s bill is passed, anyone who earns under $75,000 a year will receive a tax credit equal to a 3 percent deduction. Marcum’s goal is to give the hard-working middle class citizens a break while simultaneously putting more money back into the economy. Another aim of the bill is to create more companies and job growth in the southern region of West Virginia. Marcum’s bill will be up for consideration at the beginning of the 2015-16 Legislature.