What are the Best States for CPAs?

Guide to the Top States for Certified Public Accountants Careers

top-states-for-cpas-careersThe career of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is marked by endless opportunities and growth potential.

However, where you choose to practice can play a significant role in your career trajectory. Today, we’ll delve into what makes certain states stand out for CPAs, exploring factors such as salary, cost of living, job opportunities, and work-life balance.

This guide aims to help you navigate through these aspects, providing insight to make an informed decision about the best state for your CPA career.

Top States for Certified Public Accountants & Their Careers

Certified public accountants are in demand in all areas of the country, so how do you decide which city is right to start your career?

Well, here is out list of the top cities for CPAs based on their average salaries, cost of living, quality of life, and work-life balance.

1. Texas: A Hub of Opportunities

Salary and Job Market: Texas is renowned for its robust job market, particularly in cities like Houston and Dallas, which are home to numerous Fortune 500 companies. CPAs in Texas enjoy competitive salaries, with an average annual wage of around $84,000.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Texas is generally lower than the national average, allowing CPAs to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle.

Quality of Life: With a warm climate, diverse culture, and plenty of recreational activities, Texas offers a high quality of life.

Work-Life Balance: The state’s strong economy and plethora of accounting firms provide CPAs with numerous job opportunities, facilitating better work-life balance.

2. California: The Golden State for CPAs

Salary and Job Market: California stands out with some of the highest salaries for CPAs in the country, averaging around $92,000 per year. The state’s economy is vast and diverse, providing ample job opportunities in various industries.

Cost of Living: While California offers high salaries, it is also known for its high cost of living, particularly in major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Quality of Life: California’s stunning landscapes, world-renowned entertainment, and vibrant culture make it an attractive place to live and work.

Work-Life Balance: The competitive job market in California fosters a challenging yet rewarding work environment for CPAs.

3. New York: The Empire State of Finance

Salary and Job Market: New York is a financial powerhouse, offering some of the highest salaries for CPAs, with an average annual wage of around $95,000. The state is home to Wall Street, numerous Fortune 500 companies, and prestigious accounting firms.

Cost of Living: Similar to California, New York has a high cost of living, especially in New York City.

Quality of Life: New York offers a unique, fast-paced lifestyle, abundant cultural attractions, and endless career opportunities.

Work-Life Balance: The demanding work environment in New York may challenge work-life balance, but it also offers unparalleled career growth and learning opportunities.

4. Illinois: A Central Hub for CPAs

Salary and Job Market: Illinois, particularly Chicago, is another excellent option for CPAs. The average salary for CPAs in Illinois is around $77,000 per year, with numerous job opportunities in various sectors.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Illinois varies, with Chicago being more expensive than other parts of the state.

Quality of Life: Illinois offers a diverse cultural scene, great food, and a rich history, contributing to a high quality of life.

Work-Life Balance: The state’s central location and thriving job market provide CPAs with a balanced work-life scenario.

5. Florida: Sunshine and Opportunities

Salary and Job Market: Florida is becoming an increasingly popular destination for CPAs, offering competitive salaries averaging around $73,000 per year and a growing job market.

Cost of Living: The cost of living in Florida is relatively moderate, and there is no state income tax, which is an added financial incentive.

Quality of Life: With its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and vibrant cities, Florida offers an exceptional quality of life.

Work-Life Balance: The laid-back lifestyle and growing economy in Florida contribute to a healthy work-life balance for CPAs.

Best States for CPA Based on Salary

New York, California, and New Jersey tend to offer the highest average salaries for CPAs, reflecting the high cost of living and concentration of industries in these areas. In New York, particularly, the presence of Wall Street and numerous corporate headquarters elevate the demand and salaries for financial professionals.

CPAs in these states can expect to earn significantly above the national average, although this is balanced against higher living costs. It is crucial for CPAs to weigh the potential for higher earnings against these factors when considering relocation for salary benefits.

Best States for CPA Based on Cost of Living

States like Texas, Georgia, and Florida are often highlighted for their relatively low cost of living combined with competitive salaries for CPAs. Texas, for instance, offers a thriving job market in cities like Houston and Dallas without the high price tag associated with living in coastal metropolitans.

Additionally, the absence of a state income tax in Texas and Florida makes these states attractive for financial professionals looking to maximize their take-home pay. CPAs looking to balance a reasonable cost of living with professional opportunities should consider these regions.

Best States for CPA Based on Job Availability

Texas, California, and New York stand out for their abundant job opportunities for CPAs, thanks to their large economies and diverse industries. In Texas, the energy sector provides a steady stream of opportunities, while California’s technology and entertainment industries drive demand for financial professionals.

New York’s status as a global financial hub ensures a constant need for CPAs and other accounting professionals. CPAs aiming for a wide array of job opportunities should target these bustling economic centers.

Best States for CPA Based on Happiness

States that consistently rank high in terms of quality of life and overall happiness include Minnesota, Utah, and Colorado. These states boast a balance of economic opportunity, recreational activities, and community well-being, contributing to the overall happiness of their residents.

For CPAs, the presence of a strong job market combined with a high quality of life makes these states attractive options. When prioritizing happiness and well-being, CPAs might find these states to offer the ideal balance for a fulfilling professional and personal life.


Choosing the best state for your CPA career depends on various factors including salary, cost of living, job opportunities, and personal preferences. Texas, California, New York, Illinois, and Florida each offer unique advantages and opportunities for CPAs.

Evaluate your priorities, research thoroughly, and choose the state that aligns best with your career goals and lifestyle preferences. Remember, the perfect balance of professional growth and personal fulfillment is key to a successful CPA career.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the cost of living significantly impact a CPA’s salary in different states?

Yes, the cost of living can significantly impact the effective value of a CPA’s salary, with higher salaries in states like California and New York often offset by higher living expenses.

Are there more job opportunities for CPAs in certain states?

States with larger economies and more corporate headquarters, such as Texas, California, and New York, tend to offer more job opportunities for CPAs.

How does the work-life balance for CPAs vary by state?

Work-life balance can vary significantly, with states that have a high cost of living and competitive job markets potentially offering less work-life balance despite higher salaries and more opportunities.

Is it easier for CPAs to find jobs in certain industries in specific states?

Yes, certain states offer more job opportunities in specific industries; for example, New York is a hub for finance and accounting jobs due to Wall Street and numerous corporate headquarters.