17 High-Paying Cities for CPAs (With Salaries and Descriptions)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 3, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Certified public accountants (CPAs) are financial advisers who may assist individuals, businesses or government offices with tax and transaction-related matters. For individuals hoping to find employment as CPAs, it may be useful to know which cities offer the highest salary for these professionals and how these locations can best support your needs.

In this article, we list 17 high-paying cities for CPAs, including salary information, location quotients and descriptions.

Read more: Learn About Being a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)

What are the characteristics of high-paying cities for CPAs?

The primary characteristic of high-paying cities for CPAs is a high average salary. The terms of your wages often depend on your industry or precise region. For this reason, another characteristic involves the location quotient, which is a measure of employment distribution in a certain area.

An increased location quotient reflects a larger amount of individuals in a CPA career, while a lower location quotient reflects a lower number of individuals in that same occupation. If a high-paying city also has a large population, it may offer ample job opportunities for CPAs in a preferred field.

17 high-paying cities for CPAs

Here are 17 cities where the average salary for CPAs is higher than $70,000 per year, along with the location quotient for each region. For the most up-to-date information, click the links below:

1. Miami, Florida

Average salary: $73,571 per year

Location quotient: 1.18

This coastal town in Southern Florida has many beaches and a warm climate, which may benefit CPAs who prefer working in this type of environment. Coastal towns often have increased oxygen levels that can help residents sleep deeply at night, which may also help CPAs remain calm and focused during the workday. The location quotient for CPAs in Miami is over 1.18, reflecting a concentration of CPAs that is higher than the national average. As a result, CPAs may find a strong community of like-minded professionals in this area.

2. Chicago, Illinois

Average salary: $78,166 per year

Location quotient: 1.05

Chicago is a large region in the state of Illinois on the shore of Lake Michigan. As many entrepreneurs open businesses in this city, CPAs interested in managing business finances can find job opportunities here. Chicago is also home to several universities that host high-quality business programs, including undergraduate and master's degrees. This may benefit CPAs who are interested in teaching accounting courses or contributing new research to the academic field.

Related: Guide To Becoming a Certified Public Accountant

3. Atlanta, Georgia

Average salary: $81,384 per year

Location quotient: 1.07

Atlanta is the capital city of Georgia and is one of the highest-paying cities for CPAs in the Southeastern U.S. It typically has a lower cost of living, meaning CPAs can find high-quality housing options, enjoy the city's amenities and save income for retirement in the future. Atlanta also hosts many television production companies, which may interest any professionals with accounting experience in the entertainment industry or who have an interest in switching their previous career focus.

Related: The Top 18 Best Cities for Accountants

4. Denver, Colorado

Average salary: $81,390 per year

Location quotient: 1.83

Denver is the capital city of Colorado and may be an especially suitable environment for CPAs, as it has one of the highest CPA populations in the U.S. While living in this city, CPAs may find both a strong network of financial professionals and high-paying job opportunities in their specific field. Denver also hosts many companies in the technology industry, which may benefit CPAs with experience in technical accounting, expertise in accounting software and prefer a fast-paced working environment.

5. Austin, Texas

Average salary: $83,282 per year

Location quotient: 0.99

Austin is the capital city of Texas and can offer CPAs high salaries in multiple industries. It typically has a lower cost of living, which can allow these professionals to live comfortably and enjoy the city's cultural landmarks and entertainment venues. Universities in Austin also have robust financial programs, meaning CPAs can find valuable networking connections in this city to help them find job opportunities. They may also complete additional coursework to enhance their professional qualifications.

6. Dallas, Texas

Average salary: $83,896 per year

Location quotient: 1.13

Dallas is another metropolitan Texas city and contains a higher number of CPAs than Austin, which may contribute to its higher average base salary. It also hosts multiple companies that make high annual revenues, meaning they often require the services of skilled financial professionals. CPAs with a background or interest in corporate accounting may find lucrative and fulfilling career opportunities in Dallas. As a result, they can explore its educational resources and find high-quality housing options.

7. Los Angeles, California

Average salary: $86,027 per year

Location quotient: 1.16

Los Angeles is the epicenter of many major film and television studios in the U.S. and has a large location quotient for CPAs. As a result, professionals who are interested in working with the entertainment industry can find an accounting position at a studio, advising executives on their financial plans or managing payroll duties for actors and crew members. Los Angeles also has a wide range of other industries that require financial services, including health care and fitness.

8. Trenton, New Jersey

Average salary: $86,585 per year

Location quotient: 1.13

Trenton is the capital of the State of New Jersey, located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. This city offers family-friendly housing, along with good educational opportunities for children, which may make it a promising option for CPAs with children or who intend to start a family. You can also travel to both New York City and Philadelphia quickly by car or bus. This may also make Trenton a valuable option for professionals who plan to spend time in a larger city.

9. Houston, Texas

Average salary: $86,700 per year

Location quotient: 1.15

Houston is the biggest city in Texas and is one of the largest cities in the U.S. As a result, it contains a wide variety of businesses, providing multiple opportunities for CPAs to find financial work helping in a particular industry, such as banking or nonprofits. CPAs in Houston may also enjoy a relatively low cost of living. The range of income levels and the lack of income tax in Houston together help create ideal conditions for entrepreneurship. This may especially benefit any CPAs who prefer to work in a start-up company.

10. Seattle, Washington

Average salary: $90,880 per year

Location quotient: 0.84

Seattle is the largest city in Washington state, and one of the largest technology hubs in the country. It is home to multiple major tech corporations and many smaller companies of all kinds, providing profitable opportunities for CPAs interested in working within the technology industry. As housing prices often increase in locations with a larger number of technology-based companies, earning a CPA salary may also help you offset any high costs of living in Seattle.

Related: 16 Accounting Jobs That Pay Well

11. Boston, Massachusets

Average salary: $92,074 per year

Location quotient: 1.26

Boston is a coastal city in the northeastern U.S. and is the capital of the state of Massachusetts. It has many cultural hot spots and historical landmarks, which may benefit CPAs who prefer working in a nonprofit accounting position. Boston also hosts several large-scale universities with prestigious business and accounting programs. As a result, this city can be a suitable destination for CPAs who work in the education field or contribute academic research to the field.

12. San Jose, California

Average salary: $94,336 per year

Location quotient: 1.52

San Jose is located just south of San Francisco, which may benefit CPAs interested in finding job opportunities in both cities. It's also in Silicon Valley, which has multiple technology-based companies. As a result, CPAs can often find opportunities to help new corporations develop financial plans and navigate how to file state or federal taxes. As San Jose can have a higher cost of living, a CPA's high salary can often help them offset housing expenses, choose a preferred neighborhood and enjoy the city's resources.

13. Washington, D.C.

Average salary: $95,353 per year

Location quotient: 1.51

Washington D.C. is the capital of the U.S. and the epicenter of political agencies in the federal government. CPAs who are interested in working in finances affiliated with governmental bodies or campaigns may consider moving to Washington D.C. It also has a relatively high average CPA salary and a high location quotient. This city also has smaller suburban neighborhoods which may benefit CPAs interested in creating a work-life balance that involves both types of environments.

14. Midland, Texas

Average salary: $98,058 per year

Location quotient: 1.76

Midland, Texas, has a high CPA location quotient, meaning professionals may have a greater chance of finding a job position and valuable networking opportunities. Midland has a strong connection to the oil industry, as it hosts organizations that produce petroleum for gasoline vendors. As a result, CPAs can often find accounting positions in an oil manufacturing company, helping executives prepare annual production budgets and predict monthly revenue. Midland also has a lower cost of living, so CPAs may find high-quality housing options and save more funds.

Related: How Much Do CPAs Make? Salaries and Factors That Can Affect Income

15. New York City, New York

Average salary: $102,190 per year

Location quotient: 1.48

New York City is a center for financial activities and cultural events in the U.S. It comprises five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island. Each one has a different cultural atmosphere, which may allow CPAs living in New York City the opportunity to choose a neighborhood that best suits their interests and housing needs. With an average salary of over $100,000 per year, this is one of the highest paying cities for CPAs in the U.S., meaning CPAs may have ample opportunities to expand their assets.

16. San Francisco, California

Average salary: $104,616 per year

Location quotient: 1.15

If Los Angeles is the most well-known city in the south of California, San Francisco may be the most well known in the state's north. While San Francisco can often have a higher cost of living, CPAs often experience higher average salaries, which may offset these expenses and give these professionals the opportunity to enjoy the city's amenities and historical landmarks. The high proportion of tech companies based in San Francisco may be responsible for this higher salary, as financial work in the tech industry can be a lucrative option for CPAs.

17. Salinas, California

Average salary: $120,050 per year

Location quotient: 0.44

Salinas, California, is a relatively small metropolis located south of San Jose on the western side of the state. Its lower CPA quotient may benefit professionals who choose to live there, as companies may require their financial expertise. As a result, professionals can often find high salaries and access to comprehensive benefits, including health care insurance and investment opportunities. Some common industries in Salinas that often hire CPAs include manufacturing, construction and health care.

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