Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Minnesota

The Minnesota Board of Accountancy is responsible for issuing CPA licenses in the state to qualified candidates with a bachelor’s degree (at a minimum), at least 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 McGladrey, Inc. has offices in Bloomington and is also recognized as a major employer of accounting and finance professionals in the state.

Find out more about CPA requirements in our step-by-step guide on how to become a CPA in Minnesota.

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 area’s 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 and locations in Hopkins, Savage, Wayzata, Minneapolis, Alberta, Maynard, and more.

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Minnesota has long been recognized as a business-friendly state that boasts some of the region’s most attractive tax laws. It’s also home to more Fortune 500 companies per capita than any other state in the nation, including household names like United Health Group, Target Corporation, Best Buy, and 3M. 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 and Job Growth Trends for Accountants in Minnesota

The number of jobs in the field of accounting is expected to continue an impressive period of growth in the coming years, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

According to DEED, the number of accounts and auditors here is projected to increase by 6.5 percent between 2018 and 2028. During this ten-year period ending in 2028, new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover will result in about 2,610 annual openings for accountants and auditors in Minnesota.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for accountants and auditors in Minnesota was $70,390 as of May 2020.

Salaries for Accountants in Minnesota Working in Different Specialized Roles

The BLS also breaks down salaries for accountants and auditors in Minnesota according to industry, experience, and role, thereby providing even greater insight the earning power of these professionals.

Note that the following BLS salaries don’t include salary incentives like bonuses and stock options that are often part of an accountant’s overall salary package, particularly for those in leadership and executive roles.

Corporate Staff Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Accounting Clerks

Get your foot in the door as a corporate staff accountant or bookkeeper and you’ll earn about $36,220 in Minnesota, which represents the 25th percentile. With a handful of years under your belt, you’ll earn about $44,810, which represents the median level. And once you’ve assumed a senior-level role or gained significant experience, you’ll earn a salary that reflects the 75th – 90th percentile, or about $52,770 – $62,730.

Forensic Accountants

The examination of financial records for criminal and civil proceedings makes forensic accounting a standout specialty in accounting. A specialized skillset means top salaries for these accounting professionals. As of May 2020, the BLS reports that forensic accountants in Minnesota earn about $87,350, which represents the 75thpercentile among the state’s accountants and auditors.

Controllers and Other Financial Managers

Controllers bring their skills enforcing internal controls to the corporate environment, and their salaries reflect their expertise. The BLS reports that these accounting professionals earn a median salary of $127,030 in Minnesota, while those in the 75th percentile earn about $168,620. The top earners in the field earn more than $208,000.

CPAs and Auditors

Director-level CPAs in public accounting firms often specialize in audit and assurance services or tax services and earn salaries that place them among the highest paid accountants in the profession. In Minnesota, they earn about $109,800, which represents the 90th percentile among all accountants and auditors in the state.

In many of the state’s metro areas, average salaries for CPAs and auditors are even stronger. For example, in Duluth, they earn about $112,850.

Accountants in Executive Roles

As expected, executive roles in accounting go to those with years of experience, including positions in leadership, and often CPA licensure – and they also come with some of the highest salaries in the industry. In Minnesota, the BLS reports that accounting executives earned more than $208,000, even at the median level.

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

The salaries for accountants and auditors throughout Minnesota’s metro area tend to be similar across the board, with those at the median level earning about $65,000 and those in the top 10% earning about $100,000.

(This broad classification includes accounting professionals in different areas of specialty, with different credentials, and with varying levels of experience.)

Area Name
Annual median wage
Mankato-North Mankato
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington
St. Cloud

Tax Preparer Salaries in Minnesota’s Cities and Rural Areas

According to the BLS, tax preparers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metro area were among the highest paid throughout both Minnesota’s metro and non-metro areas as of May 2020.

Area Name
Annual median wage
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington
Northwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Minnesota nonmetropolitan area
Southwest Minnesota nonmetropolitan area


May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job growth data for Accountants and AuditorsFinancial ManagersBookkeeping, 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 Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database

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