By Susan Maphis, AccountingEdu contributing writer
Updated August 2015
The Wyoming Department of Labor predicts a 15 percent increase in the number of accountants employed in the state during the ten-year period between 2012 and 2022. The Wyoming Board of Certified Public Accountants is charged with licensing CPAs in the state and regulating the practice. Effective January 1, 2012, in accordance with the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA) all CPAs in the state must have 150 semester hours of college credit to include a bachelor’s degree at minimum. In addition, they must pass the Uniform CPA Exam and the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam, as well as complete one year of experience in public accounting, prior to licensure. While satisfying the experience requirement, many would-be CPAs in Wyoming also begin working to earn a master’s degree in accounting to earn the full 150 semester hours required for a CPA license, as bachelor’s programs typically consist of just 120 semester hours.
Although none of the “Big Four” CPA firms have offices in Wyoming, the nationally recognized McGee, Hearne & Paiz, LLP has an office in Cheyenne where CPAs provide contracted professional services that include everything from external auditing and attestation to management consultation.
In 2015, the Wyoming Department of Labor found that a few industry sectors known to be significant employers in the state were also responsible for supporting high-paying jobs in accounting. Among these were the professional, scientific, and technical services industry, public administration, and the mining industry.
Of course, accountants are vital to all of these industries from an operational perspective, but it is interesting to note that professional and business services, which is inclusive of CPAs and other accounting professionals, was counted among the top industries. Some of the biggest employers of accountants within this industry include financial giant Edward Jones and CUSO Financial Services, LP, both with locations in Cheyenne.
For every state and federal government agency that relies on tax dollars, there are specialized government accountants at work to manage allocated funds for payroll and operating costs. They are employed within the Secretary of State’s office, the State Auditor’s office, the State Treasury, and even the Federal Government’s Department of the Interior National Park Service for Yellowstone National Park.
Leisure and hospitality is big business in Wyoming. Managerial accountants are employed in the offices of hotel and resort companies like Snake River Lodge & Spa and Hilton Worldwide in Jackson, as well as world renowned Vail Resorts, Inc. in Jackson Hole.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor states that as of May 2014, there were 1,790 accountants working in Wyoming making an average annual salary of $64,730. According to this same BLS report, most accountants worked in the Cheyenne area. The highest paid accountants, in Casper, made an average salary of $71,190 annually. Another area that paid higher than the state average salary is the Southwestern nonmetropolitan area, including the towns of Afton and La Barge. This area paid its accountants $70,610 each year on average.
Wyoming is attractive to many who are relocating, especially retirees, because it does not have a personal state income tax. The state’s sales tax of four percent is charged on everything except prescriptions and food purchased for home consumption, and property taxes are set at a fractional assessment rate, applying to a fraction of the property’s full market value. Personal property that is held for personal use is exempt from taxation in Wyoming.