Steps to Becoming an Accountant in Nebraska

The Nebraska Board of Public Accountancy serves as the licensing body for CPAs in the state. To earn licensure in Nebraska, aspiring CPAs must complete at least 150 hours of college credit within a bachelor’s degree program or higher, pass the Uniform CPA exam, and then complete at least one full year of qualifying experience.

With bachelor’s programs consisting of only about 120 semester hours of college credit, online master’s degrees provide the perfect avenue for earning the full 150 semester hours required for a CPA license in Nebraska. Nebraska is a two-tier state, meaning that passing the Uniform CPA Exam earns an applicant certification, but licensure and a permit to practice is not granted until experience requirements are met.

CPAs often establish independent practices or work for public accounting firms. Two of the Big Four accounting firms have locations in Nebraska, including Deloitte in Lincoln and Ernst & Young in Omaha. Academic institutions like the University of Nebraska in Lincoln employ CPAs in both faculty teaching positions and non-faculty accounting positions. CPAs are also found working at all agencies of local government, including the Nebraska Department of Labor in Lincoln and the Douglas County Comptroller’s office in Omaha. Nonprofit organizations like the Nebraska Families Collaborative in Omaha also employ accountants to manage donated funds and ensure compliance with laws specific to tax exemption.

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

Nebraska Accountants: Salaries and Major Employers

A number of the nation’s biggest corporations, including Union Pacific Railroad and the contracting firm Kiewit Corporation, have headquarters in Nebraska. The world headquarters of international Fortune 500 food giant ConAgra in Omaha is a major employer of managerial accountants specializing in international commerce, as well as staff accountants, internal auditors and controllers, among others.

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A number of other Fortune 500 financial services and insurance companies are also headquartered in Omaha, including the world renowned Mutual of Omaha and the Oracle of Omaha’s own holdings company Berkshire Hathaway. Financial services giant, TD Ameritrade, and polling service company, Gallup, also call Omaha home.

The lucrative field of accounting is growing at a steady clip. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development projects jobs in this field to increase by nearly 8% between 2018 and 2028. During this ten-year period ending in 2028, the state should see about 1,040 job openings every year for accountants and auditors due to a combination of new job growth, retirements, and natural job turnover.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for accountants and auditors in Nebraska was $63,830 as of May 2020.

Salaries for Accountants in Nebraska Working in Different Specialized Roles

The BLS also dives deeper into the earning power of Nebraska’s accountants and auditors, providing salaries for these professionals based on factors like experience, title/role, and industry.

Note that the following May 2020 BLS salary stats are not inclusive of stock options and other incentives that can add significantly to an accountant’s annual income.

Corporate Staff Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Accounting Clerks

Corporate staff accountants work for a small companies with just a few employees and major corporations with thousands, making salaries in this area of practice wide-ranging. Pay is also largely determined by experience level. Those fairly new to the profession can expect to earn about $31,950, which represents the 25th percentile, while those with a handful of years of experience earn about $38,920, which represents the median level.

The top earners in Nebraska (75th – 90th percentile) earn salaries of about $47,810 – $57,060.

Forensic Accountants

Forensic accountants, who bring their investigative accounting skills to the corporate accounting team, earn salaries that reflect their high level of expertise. In Nebraska, forensic accountants earn about $82,090, which represents the 75th percentile among all accountants and auditors in the state.

Corporate Controllers and Other Financial Managers

As one of the most vital member of the accounting team in any corporation, controllers in Nebraska earn salaries that are commensurate with their role in compliance. The BLS reports these accounting professionals earn a median salary of $110,540 in Nebraska. Those at the top of the pay scale (75th – 90th percentile) earn salaries of about $147,280 – $202,440.

CPAs and Auditors

In public accounting firms, it’s the CPAs who take home the big bucks, thanks to their specialized credentials and skillset. At the director level, the earning power for these pros is even greater. In Nebraska, CPAs earn a salary of about $106,970, which reflects the top earners (90th percentile) among all accountants and auditors in the state.

Accountants in Executive Roles

CFOs are often former accounting department leads that showed enough promise to climb the corporate ladder. In many cases, their journey begins with earning a CPA license, one of the only credentials with enough clout to put a former accountant among the highest earners within an executive team.

At the median level, accounting executives in Nebraska earn a median salary of $187,180, while those above the median level earn salaries that exceed $208,000.

Accountant and Auditor Salaries in Nebraska’s Urban and Rural Areas

Most accountants and auditors in Nebraska enjoy median salaries that exceed $60,000, regardless of whether they’re working in a metro or non-metro region.

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

Area Name
Employment
Annual median wage
Grand Island
240
60800
Lincoln
1390
62360
Northeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
700
59570
Northwest Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
250
62540
Omaha-Council Bluffs
4540
65370
South Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
850
59110

Urban and Rural Tax Preparer Salaries in Nebraska

The highest earners among Nebraska’s tax preparers are those in the state’s non-metro northeast region. At the top of the pay scale, tax preparers in this area earn salaries of nearly $80,000.

Area Name
Employment
Annual median wage
Northeast Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
-
43010
Omaha-Council Bluffs
390
40930
South Nebraska nonmetropolitan area
160
34250

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 Nebraska Department of Economic Development and reported in the U.S. Department of Labor-funded Long Term Occupational Projections (2018-2028) database – https://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm.