A State By State Accounting Guide
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Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Indiana

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has published data projecting that during the ten-year period ending 2022 Indiana will see 810 job openings each year for accountants and auditors. This is due to both natural turnover and the creation of new jobs in response to market demands.

 The Indiana Board of Accountancy grants two different licenses to those who work to become public accountants in the state: CPA certification requires at least a bachelor’s degree (150 semester hour minimum), successful completion of all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam and two years of supervised experience. Because a bachelor’s degree results in just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting provides the ideal way to earn the additional credit hours required for a CPA license in Indiana. Accounting Practitioners (APs) have fewer practice privileges that do not include audit and attestation functions. APs must be at least 18 years old and pass a written exam on accounting theory administered by the Board. Both APs and CPAs must participate in a minimum of 120 hours of continuing professional education within each three-year renewal period.

Indianapolis, the largest city in the state, the second largest in the Midwest, and the twelfth largest city in the country, is home to offices of all the “Big Four” accounting firms: KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. BKD, an internationally known accounting firm, also has offices in Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Evansville, and Indianapolis. Blue & Co., a firm specializing in offering managerial accounting consultation and auditing services for the agribusiness, construction, healthcare, and manufacturing industries, has offices in Carmel, Bloomington, Columbus, Seymour, and Indianapolis.

Indiana Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

Chief Executive ranked Indiana as the fifth best state in which to do business, and the Tax Foundation described how the state’s recent corporate tax cuts will further improve the business climate in Indiana.

A 2014 poll conducted by the Indiana CPA Society of 100 CPAs working as CFOs or managing partners in CPA firms found them to be optimistic about the potential for economic growth in the state over the next 6-12 months.  A majority of the respondents were either very or moderately optimistic about economic growth in a number of areas. 

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development included the field of accounting in its list of high wage/high demand jobs for 2011-2013.  The agency predicted strong growth in the job market for accountants, with expectations that the number of accounting jobs in Indiana would increase by 12% between 2012 and 2022.

Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development reported that the median salary for an accountant in the state was $60,195 in 2014.  Top earners in the 90th percentile earned an average of $99,611 that year.

Accountant Salaries According to Firm Size and Level of Experience

The 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide provides substantial detail on the salaries of specific accounting jobs in Indiana’s largest cities.  For instance, Indianapolis-based accountants with one to three years of experience in corporate accounting earned higher salaries than those in the financial services industry. 

Corporate managerial accountants with larger firms earned between $50,525 and $65,330, while their colleagues working for financial services firms earned salaries that ranged from $43,240 to $56,165.  Accountants with five or more years of experience earned salaries that were an average of 49% higher than their junior colleagues.

In contrast, forensic accountants earned higher salaries than general accountants.  Those in Fort Wayne earned between $57,915 and $90,315 a year.  Controllers in Fort Wayne earned even more:

  • Large financial services companies: $122,715 - $156,330
  • Small financial services companies: $74,520 - $100,035

The highest accounting salaries were reserved for CFOs, due in large part to the fact that many have the unique expertise that comes with being licensed as a CPA.  CFOs for financial services firms in Indianapolis earned between $145,700 and $258,500 according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide

(Data gathered from the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance)

Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Indiana’s Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Areas

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salaries of Indiana’s accountants varied substantially depending on location.  The average salary was the highest in the Central Indiana nonmetropolitan area in 2014.  In contrast, the highest average salary for accountants earning in the top 10 percent was substantially higher in Bloomington:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Anderson IN
Bloomington IN
Columbus IN
Elkhart-Goshen IN
Evansville IN-KY
Fort Wayne IN
Gary IN Metropolitan Division
Indianapolis-Carmel IN
Kokomo IN
Lafayette IN
Michigan City-La Porte IN
Muncie IN
South Bend-Mishawaka IN-MI
Terre Haute IN
Northern Indiana nonmetropolitan area
Central Indiana nonmetropolitan area
Southern Indiana nonmetropolitan area

Salaries for Tax Preparers Throughout Indiana

The average salary for a tax preparer in Indiana varied more than 1.5-fold depending on the location of these professionals.  Those in Lafayette had a substantially higher average salary than those in other parts of Indiana (US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014):

Area name
Annual mean wage
Evansville IN-KY
Estimate not released
Fort Wayne IN
Gary IN Metropolitan Division
Estimate not released
Indianapolis-Carmel IN
Lafayette IN
Northern Indiana nonmetropolitan area
Central Indiana nonmetropolitan area
Southern Indiana nonmetropolitan area

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2014. Figures represent accumulated data for all areas of specialty within the field of accounting and auditing

Major Employers of Accountants in Indiana

The biggest industries in Indiana are also the biggest employers of accountants in the state. Most accountants here work for healthcare, banking, utility, and manufacturing companies as fund specialists, cost accountants, auditors, controllers, and managerial accountants.

 The healthcare industry calls on cost accountants and benefits specialists familiar with insurance and government billing and payment systems. St. Vincent Health is Indiana’s largest healthcare employer and is a member of Ascension Health, the largest not-for-profit Catholic healthcare system in the US. Indiana University Health is a non-profit academic medical health center comprised of more than 20 facilities located throughout Indiana. Combined, these two non-profits have the unique distinction of being the largest employers of fund accounting specialists in the state. Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Company, headquartered in Indianapolis, is recognized as a major employer of managerial accountants.

Several utility companies based in Indiana are also top employers of controllers, auditors, and corporate managerial accountants. These include Indiana Power & Light (IPL), Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO); a holding company whose subsidiaries provide natural gas, electricity, and other services to a large portion of the eastern US; and Vectren, which is a gas and electricity supplier for customers in Indiana and Ohio.

Indiana’s other major companies and leading employers of accountants include the Indiana Rail Road and engine manufacturer Cummins, Inc., which is headquartered in Columbus. Companies that have significant facilities in Indiana, but that have corporate headquarters located out of state include household appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corporation, Toyota, and, United States Steel.

Indiana Accounting in the News

Indiana ended its 2015 fiscal year with a 210 million dollar surplus. While the number sounds positive, the implications of such a surplus can point to neglect of important state services. Indiana departments of health, transportation, child services, and many more all cut their budgets by millions in order to correct past budget shortages. However, Governor Mike Pence prides himself on the fact that Indiana is able to keep taxes low, believing that these budget cuts were made in order to prioritize the wellbeing of Indiana’s taxpayers. Governor Pence hopes that because of the budget surplus, he may be able to provide tax relief for Indiana businesses that are creating a high number of jobs.

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