A State By State Accounting Guide
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Steps to Becoming an Accountant in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development lists accounting among the professions with the most projected growth in the current ten-year period ending 2022. In fact, the number of accounting jobs in the state is expected to increase some 7 percent by 2022.

The New Jersey State Board of Accountancy is responsible for licensing state residents interested in becoming certified public accountants. The Board requires its CPAs to have at least 150 semester hours of college education, a bachelor’s degree at minimum, a year of public accounting experience, and passing scores on both the Uniform CPA Exam and on New Jersey’s ethics, laws, and regulations exam. 

With bachelor’s programs only including 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 New Jersey.

Big Four public accounting firm, Deloitte, has local branch offices in Parsippany and East Brunswick. Ernst & Young, another Big Four firm, has offices in Iselin, Rutherford and Secaucus. In addition, as of May 2014,there were 21 Fortune 500 companies with corporate headquarters in New Jersey. These companies were known to be among the state’s biggest employers of corporate managerial accountants. The diverse companies that call New Jersey home include household names like healthcare and pharmaceuticals company, Johnson & Johnson, which is headquartered in New Brunswick; security and energy product engineering company, Honeywell International in Morris Township; and retailer, Toys ‘R Us, with its corporate offices in Wayne.

Many banks and financial services companies, which are major employers of accounting professionals who work as auditors, controllers, and advisors, also call New Jersey home. Prudential Financial, another Fortune 500 company, is headquartered in Newark, Bloomberg Equities Group has its corporate headquarters in Princeton, and GM Financial Center is headquartered in Jersey City.

Job Trends for Accountants in New Jersey

In a 2012 report, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development listed accounting as one of the top in-demand jobs in the state. New Jersey’s key industry clusters, which are the industries that support innovation and expansion, are also some of the top employers for accountants in the state. As of 2013, the key industry clusters included technology, leisure, biopharmaceutical life sciences, advanced manufacturing, transportation, financial services, health care, and more.

As part of the leisure industry cluster, the gambling industry is still big business in Atlantic City. Accountants here specialize in this industry by becoming familiar with AICPA’s Gaming Audit and Accounting Guide, which details accounting standards and auditing issues encountered in the gambling industry. Casinos such as Trump Taj Mahal, Borgata, and Bally’s Atlantic City all employ accountants to ensure their gambling businesses run smoothly. 

The video game industry is another hot industry for accountants in New Jersey. It generated $10.5 billion as of 2010, and is still growing. Many digital gaming companies are headquartered here, including high-tech consumer product engineering companies such as Blackburst Media in Glen Rock, Saber Interactive in Cranford, Slingo in Hackensack, and I-play in Plainsboro.

Although many accountants are hired by big businesses, which rely on their expertise to manage corporate finances and implement controls, the financial sector alone brought in almost $35 billion to New Jersey’s economy in 2013 alone. The New Jersey Business & Industry Association indicates that 15 of the state’s top 75 employers are finance and insurance firms.

New Jersey Accountants: Salary and Employment Facts

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2014 Newark-based accountants earned an average annual salary of $83,750. Newark also employs the highest number of accountants in the state with 10,770 accounting professionals located here as of May 2014.

Jobs in the field of accounting in New Jersey have enjoyed a steady growth rate for years, and this will continue at least through 2022, with the US Department of Labor expecting a growth rate of 13% nationwide between 2012 and 2022. In addition to this, the New Jersey Division of Labor Market and Demographic Research reported that accountants and auditors could expect 4,400 new jobs to be created between 2010 and 2018.

According to the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance, controllers who worked for small firms in Princeton earned an average of $126,788 while those at large firms made an average of $202,230.

Business analysts in Newark who worked for midsized corporations made an average of $111,953. CPA licensed CFOs earned $324,789 a year on average when working for midsized corporations in New Jersey according to the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance.

Accounting Salaries in New Jersey’s Cities

Salary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that accountants in the Camden metropolitan area made an average salary of $84,620 a year in 2014. In the Atlantic City/ Hammonton area, accountants who were earning in the top 10 percent earned $103,540 that year on average.

The following table shows BLS data for accounting positions in New Jersey’s metropolitan areas (2014):

Area name
Annual mean wage
Atlantic City-Hammonton NJ
Camden NJ Metropolitan Division
Edison-New Brunswick NJ Metropolitan Division
Newark-Union NJ-PA Metropolitan Division
Ocean City NJ
Trenton-Ewing NJ
Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton NJ

Tax Preparer Salaries Throughout New Jersey

Tax Preparers in New Jersey earned an average of $36,340 in 2014; however, the salaries in urban areas tend to be higher. For example, Camden’s tax preparers earned an average of $39,980.

The following table shows BLS data for tax preparers in New Jersey’s metropolitan areas (2014):

Area name
Annual mean wage
Camden NJ Metropolitan Division
Edison-New Brunswick NJ Metropolitan Division
Newark-Union NJ-PA Metropolitan Division
Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton NJ
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.

New Jersey Tax Laws in the News

A recent survey of New Jersey CEOs found that 75 percent of them believe the state to be more receptive to the needs of business than it was six months ago. Governor Chris Christie’s pro-business approach, which offers tax incentives to businesses, has helped to create 31,000 new jobs within the past two months. More businesses are relocating to New Jersey, with Bayer and Panasonic both building new facilities in the state.

The Governor reported that the state’s economy is improving overall. In towns across the state, tax rates increased by no more than two percent thanks to the creation of a two percent increase cap on tax levies.

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