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Accounting Careers in Washington

Written by AnonymousMay 12, 2011

Examining Accounting Careers in Washington

Washington State is a great place for accountants! Sure, the number of accountants practicing here has decreased slightly, but salaries have actually gone up. In 2006, Washington accountants earned an average of less than $60,000. Today, they earn well over this amount. Plus, accountants in Washington can find lots of opportunities in progressive cities such as Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver.   

To become an accountant in Washington, you have to have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. If you want to work for a top 100 company, you’ll need a master of accountancy (MAcc) or an MBA with an accounting focus.

Salary Trends for Accountants in Washington

Accountants across the U.S. averaged $67,430 in 2009. Washington accountants averaged $65,210. Although Washington accountants average slightly less overall they average more today than they earned in 2006. Salaries jumped from $59,360 to $65,210. Washington accountants also average more than accountants living in at least a dozen other states such as Arizona ($58,500), North Carolina ($63,750), and Nevada ($59,250).

Accountants living in the largest metropolitan areas in Washington earn the highest salaries. They are:

  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA: $67,050
  • Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA: $63,190
  • Spokane: $61,030

Employment Trends for Accountants in Washington

Nearly 22,000 accountants practice in Washington. Many live in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA area (14,690), the Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA area (8,300), Spokane (1,670) and Olympia (1,060). Across the U.S., the number of accountants will grow by 22 percent in the coming years, but it is unknown whether Washington will add or lose more accountants.

Having a CPA license will increase your chances of landing a lucrative position in Washington. But to qualify, you must meet some hefty education requirements. You need at least 150 semester credits of college education, including 24 semester credits in accounting subjects with 15 credits at the upper or graduate level, and 24 semester credits in business administration subjects.

Career Outlook

There’s a place for all types of accountants in this growing industry. CPAs will be in high demand as well as specialty accountants such as forensic accountants. Forensic accountants participate in trials as expert witnesses and they investigate white-collar crimes such as money laundering, bankruptcy and securities fraud, and embezzlement.  The need for accountants of all kinds will continue to grow based on increased public and private scrutiny of companies’ financial activities and an increase in unlawful financial pursuits by companies, crime syndicates, and individuals. 

For more information about what it takes to become an accountant in Washington, visit the Washington State Board of Accountancy.

Note: The statistics in this article are taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.