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

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security expects an extraordinary 21.7 percent projected increase in the number of jobs available to accountants in the current decade. This amounts to about 220 new jobs each year between 2008 and 2018. 
 The Mississippi State Board of Accountancy regulates and licenses certified public accountants. This licensing body holds applicants accountable to standards of education, examination, and experience before licenses are issued. Candidates will be eligible to become licensed certified public accountants after completing a bachelor’s degree programs and 150 semester hours of college credit, one year of work experience, and after demonstrating competence through passing scores on all four sections of the Uniform CPA Exam.

 Since a bachelor’s degree only consists 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 necessary for CPA licensure in Mississippi.

Although “Big Four” accounting firm KPMG has an office in Jackson, other leading firms such as BKD, Horne, and the Kemp Group, located in Madison, employ a greater number of Mississippi’s CPAs accumulatively.

Major Industry Employers of Accountants in Mississippi

According to the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, the number one industry in the state as of 2015 is agriculture, which encompasses crop production, poultry, livestock, forestry, and cotton; however, the most produced crops are cotton, soybeans, and rice. As the number one industry, agriculture employs about 260,000 people, makes up 17 percent of the state’s workforce, and brings in about $7.9 billion annually. Tyson Foods, based in Carthage, is one of the state’s largest employers, as is poultry processing plant, Sanderson Farms, located in Summit. Big agriculture is big business and the combined sectors of the agriculture industry bring in billions of dollars to the state each year, all of which must be accounted for, taxed and distributed or otherwise allocated for reinvestment. For this reason, agriculture continues to be the biggest industry employer of accountants in Mississippi.

Canton is home to Nissan North America, where in the global economy of the 21st century imports are actually manufactured right here in America. This has helped put Mississippi on the map as a Midwest leader in facilitating international commerce. As American accountants adopt the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) used around the world, the new generation of accountants more familiar with these standards will find their skills in greater demand in companies that conduct business oversees. 

With riverboat casinos and resorts like Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Island View Casino Resort in Gulfport, and Gold Strike Casino in Robinsonville, gambling is a sizable industry in Mississippi. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has established protocols detailed in their Gaming Audit and Accounting Guide, which creates a unique opportunity for specialization among accountants working in the gaming industry.

Mississippi Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

The Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES) identifies accounting as a profession that is in-demand.  Among careers that require considerable preparation and have higher salaries, the MDES ranked accounting as the fifth highest most promising.

One of the reasons that accounting is considered such a promising field in Mississippi is that the number of positions is increasing.  The MDES predicts an increase of 6.1% in the number of accountants in Mississippi between 2010 and 2020, representing an average of 165 accounting jobs a year over this time frame.

The average salary for an accountant in Mississippi was $56,030 in 2015 according to the MDES.  This agency also reported that accountants with experience earned an average of $66,830 that year.

The salaries of accountants are fairly similar in the major metropolitan areas of Mississippi, although accountants in Pascagoula had the highest salaries in 2015:

Mississippi Area

Accountant and Auditor Salaries in the Rural and Urban Areas of Mississippi

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, general accountants and auditors in Pascagoula had the highest average salary in 2014. The 90th percentile in each area is representative of salaries for experienced accountants licensed as CPAs. Accountants and auditors in the top 10% of this occupational category in the nonmetropolitan area of Southwest Mississippi earned the most of those in this category.

Area name
Annual mean wage
Gulfport-Biloxi MS
Hattiesburg MS
Jackson MS
Pascagoula MS
Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area

Tax Preparer Salaries in Mississippi’s Rural and Urban Areas

Tax preparers in the nonmetropolitan area of Southwest Mississippi earned an average salary that was substantially higher than their colleagues in the rest of the state in 2014 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics):

Area name
Annual mean wage
Jackson MS
Pascagoula MS
estimate not released
Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area
Estimate not released

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.

Mississippi Tax Laws in the News

About 2,300 Mississippi charities and organizations are about to lose their tax-exempt status, according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. These companies, which include fraternal, religious and veterans’ organizations, have not filed financial reports for three years and are therefore faced with the prospect of forfeiture of their tax-exempt status. While these companies will still be able to legally solicit money in Mississippi, a contributor will no longer be able to deduct a donation from their federal or state income tax returns. 

In other state tax news, the Mississippi Tax Commission is trying to reduce the number of stolen license plate renewal stickers. This type of theft from license plates has become problematic, particularly in the Jackson area. The Tax Commission has created a new type of sticker that corresponds with each individual license plate by matching the license number. This theft deterrent is expected to resolve the issue and eliminate lost tax revenue collected through vehicle registration.

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