Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Connecticut
With a license from the Connecticut State Board of Accountancy, CPA candidates who have earned bachelor’s degrees at minimum, gained a year of experience and passed the Uniform CPA Exam get to hold the rare distinction that comes with earning the CPA credential.
A CPA license also brings the unique opportunity to work for industry giants like “Big Four” international accounting and professional services firms Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, all four of which have offices in Stamford and Hartford. 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 necessary to qualify for a CPA license in Connecticut.
Those interested in becoming non-certified public accountants in Connecticut aren’t required to be licensed or registered and can still work in many different capacities in almost every industry in the state. Many serve as accounting and auditing clerks or budget analysts in settings as diverse as the administrative offices of Greenwich Hospital, which has a location in Wilton and the offices of local consulting and staffing company, McIntyre Group, which are located in Meriden.
CPAs and others with accounting backgrounds interested in offering investment planning services either operate independent practices or find work with investment firms. Global commodities firm Louis Dreyfus and Hartford Investment Management, located in the city for which it was named, both retain accountants with the restrained discipline necessary to be effective investment advisers.
Well-trained and properly credentialed government accountants are found at every level of state and federal government. Some work for federal agencies like the Department of Defense in Groton, as liaisons with private defense contractors like DRS Defense Solutions in Danbury or even in local government where they serve in the Connecticut Comptroller’s Office. The work performed by accountants employed by nonprofits like Save the Children, which has offices in Westport, is similar to that of government accountants, as they often specialize in fund accountancy with respect to money sourced from either tax revenue of donations.
Job Growth and Salary Expectations for Accountants in Connecticut
In Connecticut, accounting is a profession with a huge upside, both in terms of earning potential and the kinds of opportunities that are available to anybody with the right credentials. In addition to high salaries, the field is expected to see rapid growth with an expected increase of 6.3% in the number of jobs available between 2018 and 2028, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor. This, along with normal changes in the workforce such as retirements and natural job turnover, is expected to result in almost 1,870 job openings in the state each year through 2028.
The Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk area had the sixth highest concentration of accounting jobs in the country in May 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This metropolitan area also ranked eighth in the nation for its pay of accountants during this time; an impressive ranking that can be at least partially credited to the fact that it sits just at the periphery of the nation’s financial capital.
And accountants should be well-paid in Connecticut for the simple fact that there is an enormous demand for their services. There is a considerable concentration of wealth here, both in the hands of businesses and wealthy families. In 2018, the Yankee Institute for Public Policy calculated that the average tax burden for Connecticut taxpayers amounted to $53,400 apiece. With numbers like this, you better believe those tax payers see it as being well worth the expense to retain a good tax specialist.
Salaries for Connecticut’s Accountants, CPAs and CFOs
The BLS reported that accountants and auditors in Connecticut earned a median salary of $79,210 as of May 2020, while experienced professionals in the top 10% earned about $125,580 during this time. But this broad classification does little to reveal the kind of pay associated with different areas of specialty practice in different industries, let alone different levels of experience and credentials.
The good news is that the BLS provides additional insight into what accountants and auditors in Connecticut are earning based on their job title, experience, and more.
Corporate Staff Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Accounting Clerks
Corporate staff accountants, bookkeepers, and accounting clerks with little experience can expect to earn about $40,540 in Connecticut, which represents the 25th percentile. Those at the median level earn about $48,660 here, while those managerial titles and/or considerable experience in the field can expect to earn between $59,750 and $71,850 (75th – 90th percentile).
Forensic accountants, thanks to their specialized skillset and value in the legal system, can expect to earn salaries that place them within the 75th percentile among accountants and auditors. In Connecticut, these pros earn a salary of about $99,970.
Controllers and Other Financial Managers
Controllers and other financial managers enjoy salaries that are commensurate with the responsibilities they take on and how their work affects the bottom line. At the median level, these professionals in Connecticut earn about $150,490, while those above that median threshold earn more than $208,000.
CPAs and Auditors
CPAs accepting director level positions with local and regional public accounting firms, or with international firms with a local presence earn some of the highest salaries in accounting. In Connecticut, these professionals can expect to earn about $125,580, which represents the top 10% of earners in the field.
Accountants in Executive Roles
Of course, accountants in the corporate word with CPA licenses, including Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), earn the highest salaries among professionals with an accounting background. At the median level, Connecticut’s accountants in executive roles earn a median salary that tops $208,000.
Accountants in executive roles can expect this type of earning potential throughout most of the state, with metro areas like Bridgeport and Hartford also posting salaries that exceed $208,000 at the median level.
Salaries for Accountants and Auditors Throughout Connecticut
According to the BLS, accountant and auditors in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk and metro areas earned some of the highest salaries at the median level, while those in the Danbury metro area earned some of the highest overall salaries in the state:
Tax Preparer Salaries in Connecticut
Tax preparers in the Hartford and New Haven metro areas had substantially higher salaries than their colleagues in other parts of the state at the median level, as of 2020:
May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job growth data for Accountants and Auditors, Financial Managers, Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks, and Chief Executives. Figures represent state data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.
Data accessed April 2021.
Job growth projections sourced from the Connecticut Department of Labor and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.