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

The Maryland Board of Public Accountancy grants CPA licenses to candidates who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a program consisting of 150 semester hours of credit, with hours distributed among accounting, auditing, business and ethics courses as determined by the Board. Because traditional bachelor’s degree programs consist of just 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting serves as the most common way to earn the 30 additional credit hours in advanced coursework required for CPA licensure in Maryland. CPAs work for top accounting firms with offices in the greater DC metro area, including “Big Four” international assurance and business consultation firms PricewaterhouseCoopers, located in McLean, Virginia; as well as KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young, all with offices in Washington. The biggest accounting firms with Maryland addresses are found in Bethesda, Rockville and Greenbelt. Among these are Reznick Fedder and Silverman, RSM Mcgladrey, Clifton Gunderson and American Express Tax and Business Services. Combined, these major firms employ thousands of CPAs in Maryland and the DC metro area. Municipal and state government accountants in Maryland track spending at all levels, from Prince George’s County Office of Finance in Upper Marlboro, to the Maryland Department of Human Resources in Easton and the Defense Information Systems Agency in Fort Meade. 

Individuals interested in becoming management accountants, internal auditors, financial controllers, cost or capital accountants will find their services indispensible to any business organization. The biggest employers of corporate accountants in Maryland continue to be aerospace engineering and defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corporation and Fortune 500 companies like Constellation Energy in Baltimore and Marriott International in Bethesda. 

Forensic accountants who work to investigate and prevent fraud are found in governmental agencies throughout the state. FBI offices in Baltimore, Beltsville and Annapolis all employ certified fraud examiners, as does the Department of Defense offices in Hanover and Aberdeen and the Securities and Exchange Commission in nearby Washington, D.C. 

Salary and Employment Facts About Accountancy in Maryland

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants in Maryland had the fourth highest average salary in the country in 2014.  In particular, the Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick area had the fifth highest salaries for accountants of any metropolitan area in the country.

The number of accounting positions in Maryland is steadily increasing, and the state’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation expects their numbers to grow by 8.5% between 2012 and 2022.  This level of growth should generate an average of 1,033 jobs a year during this ten-year projection period.

According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the median salary for an accountant in the state was $72,951 in 2015.  Experienced professionals in the top 10% of this occupational category earned an average of $98,138.

In 2015, accountants at large corporate accounting firms in Baltimore with more than five years of experience earned salaries ranging from $70,813 to $90,383 a year according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide.

Forensic accountants in Baltimore earned even more, with salaries starting at $73,645 and ranging up to $114,845.  Controllers at large financial services firms in Baltimore earned salaries within the range of $156,045 and $198,790, while the CFOs of these firms earned between $159,650 and $283,250 a year.

Salaries for Accountants and Auditors in Maryland’s Urban and Rural Areas

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that general accountants and auditors in the Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick area had the highest median salary in the state in 2014.  The median salary among accountants and auditors in the nonmetropolitan area of St. Mary’s County was the second highest of any area in the state:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Baltimore-Towson MD
Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick MD Metropolitan Division
Cumberland MD-WV
Hagerstown-Martinsburg MD-WV
Salisbury MD
Upper Eastern Shore nonmetropolitan area
Garrett County Maryland nonmetropolitan area
St. Marys County Maryland nonmetropolitan area

Salaries for Tax Preparers Throughout Maryland

Tax preparers in Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick earned substantially higher salaries than their colleagues in other parts of Maryland in 2014 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area name
Annual mean wage
Baltimore-Towson MD
Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick MD Metropolitan Division
Upper Eastern Shore 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.

Maryland Accountancy and Tax Laws in the News

Tax legislation that has recently passed in Maryland includes the Maryland Clean Energy Incentive Tax Credit, which was extended to December 31, 2015. This provides businesses using renewable energy with a tax credit of 0.85 cents for each kilowatt-hour of clean energy produced. Maryland’s accountants are necessary to help businesses understand and correctly benefit from this tax credit. A job creation and recovery tax credit was also created to encourage Maryland employers to hire people to fill vacancies or new positions. Businesses can save up to $5,000 by capitalizing on this tax credit.

Maryland CPAs need to keep on top of all the new information pertinent to the world of accounting. Maryland’s CPAs have formed a tight network that works to advocate for the profession in the state. Joining the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA) is a great first step towards getting in touch with what’s going on in the profession.

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