Average CPA Salary - What Can I Expect to Make?

Mps721's picture
Rank: Orangutan | 310

I am an accounting major and I expect to become a CPA. I do not necessarily want to be a multi million dollar hedge fund manager or anything like that, but from what I expect to do is 200k-400k yearly salary as a CPA obtainable over the course of my career? If so how long? I would be more than happy with the ultimate upper middle class lifestyle is this possible as a CPA? I do not mean like my own firm but working for a corporation or audit firm I suppose. Please also keep in mind I live in north Jersey so when I graduate I would most likely be working in the NYC/NJ area.

Thank you.

How Much Do CPA's Make in their Career?

Roger CPA Review shared detail about 2018 expected salaries for CPAs working in the industry. Please see a graphic provided by the review company below. Salaries are dependent largely on company size and experience in the industry. Larger firms are able to pay larger salaries.

Source: https://www.rogercpareview.com/cpa-exam/cpa-salary

How Much Money Do Partners Make in the Big 4?

Latrell Sprewell CFA:

Out of college 60ish, work up from there. Public accounting has a very structured pay scale, if you stick in it long enough (15ish years), you can earn 400+ as a partner.

CPA is like any professional designation, it's not a golden ticket to a guaranteed lifestyle. You need to prove yourself no matter how many letters you put behind your name.


You can make 200K if you enter Big 4 and stay ~10 years until you become a very experienced Sr. Manager. To make 400K you'd need to spend 15 to 20 years in Big 4 and become a partner, which is hard to do. Keep in mind that those years will be very long and you will work a lot of hours, probably more than a HF manager until you become a partner, then I think it's more relaxed. That's the reason why most people end up leaving for accounting gigs at F500 and probably max out their salary at 150K.

Read More About the CFA on WSO

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