In Kansas, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is a two-tier process that involves first applying for a certificate without practice rights after passing the Uniform CPA Exam, then applying for a license/permit to practice once the Kansas Board of Accountancy’s one-year of related work experience requirement has been met. While gaining the practical experience required for CPA licensure, candidates often choose to pursue a master’s in accounting to develop advanced accounting skills and to earn the 150 total semester hours required for licensure. Major public accounting firms in Kansas include Mayer Hoffman McCann in Leawood, Cochran Head & Vick in Kansas City, and Rubin Brown in Overland Park. CPAs in these firms perform services for corporate clients that include tax preparation, investment advisory, auditing, and risk management.
Some accountants choose the academic field and work for educational institutions such as the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The federal government also employs accountants in a variety of settings, from Shilling Air Force Base to the Kansas office of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Leavenworth. Accountants working for the VA are tasked with the important responsibility of managing funds that allocate money for veteran benefit programs.
Find out more about CPA requirements in our step-by-step guide on how to become a CPA in Kansas.
Accounting Jobs in Kansas
Financial and investment companies such as Edward Jones and the US Ag Bank of the Farm Credit Bureau are located in Wichita. Depending on their position, accountants working in the banking industry do everything from create financial reports and maintain records to advise clients on investment strategies.
IT specialists with the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) certification granted through the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA) work for IT companies like Wolters Kluwer, which has a presence in Wichita, where they provide consulting and special risk assessment services.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, located just across the border in Missouri, employs accountants with specialized certifications in forensic accounting that include the Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and the Chartered Bank Auditor (CBA) of the Bank Administration Institute.
Kansas Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts
With the Kansas Economic Report from the state’s Department of Labor showing positive economic indicators after the agricultural slump of 2018, it’s a good time to be an accountant in Kansas. In fact, the state’s Department of Labor predicts the number of accountant and auditor jobs to increase by about 7.5% between 2018 and 2028. Through a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover, Kansas should see about 1,440 annual job openings in this field through 2028.
Diverse industries in Kansas employ corporate staff accountants, internal and external auditors, controllers, and other specialists. Major industries in the state range from aviation to agriculture to biomass production for biofuels and other renewable energy sources. Wichita is the aviation capital of the world, and as home to both Spirit AeroSystems and Cessna Aircraft, a full 43% of domestic general aviation components are produced in Wichita.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that accountants and auditors in Kansas earned a median salary of $63,560 as of May 2020. However, this type of general number doesn’t provide much insight into what accountants in the state are earning in different positions, different industries, and with varying levels of experience.
Salaries for Kansas Accounting Professionals in Specialized Roles
Fortunately, the BLS also does a great job at breaking down salaries for accountants and auditors according to role, industry, and experience level. Note that the following BLS base salaries do not include bonuses and other incentives that are commonplace in many accounting roles, particularly among those in specialized and executive positions:
Corporate Staff Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Accounting Clerks
Corporate staff accountants, bookkeepers, and accounting clerks new to the field earned about $28,810 as of May 2020, which represents the bottom 25th percentile, while the median salary here stands at $37,130. Seasoned corporate staff accountants enjoy salaries that reflect the 75th – 90th percentile, or about $45,980 – $53,030.
Specialization virtually always brings higher salaries. Naturally, forensic accountants throughout the state often do even better than general accountants thanks to their unique skillset that makes them an asset in the legal environment. According to the BLS, these accounting professionals earn about $82,110, which represents the 75thpercentile among Kansas’ accountant and auditors.
Controllers and Other Financial Managers
Financial sector positions can also be lucrative, especially for the professionals that ensure firms maintain the strict level of regulatory compliance required in the industry. In Kansas, these accounting pros earn a median salary of $122,530. Those with senior titles and advanced degrees earn closer to the 75th percentile, which is about $167,600, while the top-earning controllers and financial managers earn more than $208,000 in Kansas.
CPAs and Auditors
Hold the CPA and a senior-level position in public accounting and you’ll be among the highest paid accountants in the profession. As of 2020, the BLS reported that CPAs and auditors earned $107,530, which represents the top 10% of accountants in Kansas.
In larger metro areas, salaries for CPAs and auditors are even higher, such as Kansas City, where they earn about $113,160.
Accountants in Executive Positions
The highest salaries for accountants in Kansas are generally reserved for Chief Financial Officers who typically have a CPA license and many years of corporate and management accounting experience. Kansas accountants holding this or a similar executive title earn a median salary of about $144,060, according to the BLS, while those in the 75th percentile and higher earn greater than $208,000. In major hubs like Kansas City, the median salary for these accounting professionals soars at $183,270.
Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Urban and Rural Areas of Kansas
The BLS reports that in most metro areas of Kansas, you can expect to earn between $50,000 – $60,000 at the median level. Top earners here usually earn at or around the six figures, with those in Wichita coming out as leaders with a top pay (90th percentile) earning around $105,5000.
(This broad classification includes accounting professionals in different areas of specialty, with different credentials, and with varying levels of experience.)
Tax Preparer Salaries in Wichita and the Kansas Nonmetropolitan Area
It’s Kansas’ tax preparers in its nonmetro areas who are earning the most at all points on the pay scale.
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 national data, not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed April 2021.
Job growth projections sourced from the Kansas 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.