A State By State Accounting Guide

Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Department of Labor’s projected job outlook for the state, accounting and auditing are among the professions that will be adding the most jobs within the current decade ending 2022. Between the years 2014 and 2022, a 7.1% increase in the number of accounting jobs is expected in the state, which amounts to an additional 2,779 jobs. 


The Minnesota Board of Accountancy is responsible for issuing CPA licenses in the state to qualified candidates with bachelor’s degrees at minimum with 150 semester hours of college credit, one year (2000 hours) of accounting experience and passing scores on all sections of the Uniform CPA exam. With most bachelor’s programs consisting of about 120 semester hours of college credit, a master’s in accounting is one of the best ways to earn the additional credit hours in advanced accounting coursework required for a CPA license in Minnesota.

Major employers of CPAs in the Twin Cities area include all of the “Big Four” CPA firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and Deloitte. International assurance services and consulting firm, RSM McGlardey, Inc. has offices in Bloomington and is also recognized as a major employer of accounting and finance professionals in the state.



Major Employment Industries for Accountants in Minnesota

Minnesota is a major contributor to global commerce and is home to a number of multinational professional services firms that serve as the areas biggest employers of financial analysts and risk advisors. Chief among these globally recognized companies that have a strong presence in Minnesota is Cargill, a private firm with annual revenues of $134.9 billion with locations in Hopkins, Savage, Wayzata, Minneapolis, Alberta, Maynard, and more.

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development recently published a report listing the Fortune 500 companies with locations in the state. Minnesota is recognized as being very friendly to business and industry with tax laws that offer great incentives for businesses to locate here. The state boasts the distinction of having corporate offices for more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state in the nation, making Minnesota a prime locale for state residents interested in becoming corporate accountants. Chief among these fortune 500 companies are United Health Group, retailers like Target Corporation and Best Buy, as well as 3M, which has been a household name in the state for decades. These corporations are Minnesota’s leading employers of managerial accountants, financial controllers, and internal auditors who manage many tens of billions of dollars in yearly revenue.

Salaries for Accountants in Minnesota

The number of jobs in the field of accounting is growing in Minnesota according to the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).  This agency projects the number of accounting jobs in Minnesota will increase by 7.2% in the ten-year period ending in 2022.  This rate of increase should result in 9,470 jobs for accountants becoming available in Minnesota over this 10-year period.

The median salary for an accountant in Minnesota was $63,648 in 2015 according to DEED.  Accountants in the 90th percentile of this occupational category typically held CPA licenses issued through the Minnesota Board of Accountancy and earned an average of $101,088.

The 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide delineates the salaries of specific types of accounting jobs in Minnesota in 2015 as described here. 

General accountants with less than a year of experience at large corporate accounting firms in Minneapolis earned between $47,965 and $58,565.  In contrast, general accountants at these firms who had five or more years of experience had salaries in the range of $72,875 to $93,015.

Forensic accountants in St. Paul earned between $72,930 and $113,730 according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide. Controllers at small financial services firms in St. Paul earned salaries that ranged between $93,840 and $125,790.
Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) earn higher salaries because of their high level of responsibility and the fact that they tend to be licensed CPAs. CFOs at financial service firms in Rochester earned between $155,755 and $276,375 according to the 2015 Robert Half Salary Guide.

Accountant and Auditor Salaries in Minnesota’s Cities and Rural Areas

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors in Duluth earned the highest average salary in 2014.

The 90th percentile in each area is representative of salaries for experienced accountants with CPA licenses issued through the Minnesota Board of Accountancy:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Duluth MN-WI
720
72610
Mankato-North Mankato MN
500
68490
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
19520
70010
Rochester MN
560
63680
St. Cloud MN
640
62580
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
750
61510
Northeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
270
52130
Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
740
58810
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
840
62790

Tax Preparer Salaries in Minnesota’s Cities and Rural Areas

The salaries of tax preparers in Minnesota varied considerably depending on their location in the state.  Tax preparers in St. Cloud earned the highest average salary in 2014 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI
980
43980
St. Cloud MN
estimate not released
44110
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
90
33030
Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
50
43710
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released
24390


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.

Minnesota Accountancy and Tax Laws in the News

Recently a bill was introduced in the Minnesota legislature to institute an online sales tax. This law, if passed, would require online retailers to collect Minnesota sales tax when selling goods and services to the state’s residents. This bill is trying to redefine the term “nexus” as used in a 1992 Supreme Court ruling. Under proposed interpretations of the term, a nexus would be any physical presence a business has in a state, even if this presence is only in the form of warehouses and distribution centers. Under this interpretation businesses must collect sales tax from all states in which they have a “nexus.” They hope to force affiliates of major online retailers like Amazon.com, who have a physical presence in Minnesota, to collect sales tax from state resident customers.