The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that demand for accountants and auditors will grow by 10% between 2016 and 2026 and add up to 140,000 new professionals to the field. The growth in Hawaii specifically is projected to add 8% in additional accountants by 2024, at which time approximately 5,660 accountants will be at work throughout the state. The median wage for accounts in Hawaii was $57,550 in 2016, making this a career path that is both lucrative and in demand. Use this comprehensive guide to learn and gain a comprehensive view of the requirements CPA candidates must meet to be licensed in Hawaii according to the Hawaii state board of accountancy.


Education Requirements

The Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy sets the standards that candidates must meet in order to obtain Hawaii CPA licensure. The process begins by satisfying strict educational and learning requirements for students. Hawaii has specific requirements to become an accountant, including a bachelor's degree, but you could make a first step in the right direction by earning an associate degree in accounting at a community college or other school. This lower level degree can help you find employment opportunities with firms while you work toward a higher level of education and answer any general questions you might have about spending your career in accounting. Learn more on our associates page. Follow these steps:

Complete 150 semester hours or 225 quarter hours of college education from an accredited institution. Correspondence, online, and community college courses all count as long as they are earned through a qualifying four-year institution and appear on an official transcript.

  • A candidate must earn a baccalaureate degree or higher or be able to provide evidence proving acceptance to an advanced degree program with appropriate content.
  • At least 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours must be in accounting courses. Applicable courses include accounting, auditing, taxation, reporting, and managerial accounting. At least 18 of those hours must be in upper level (Junior or Senior) or graduate-level courses.
  • At least 24 semester hours or 36 quarter hours in upper-division or graduate-level accounting or non-accounting business-related courses. Applicable courses include marketing, finance, United States business law, business ethics, and many more.

Candidates with degrees from international institutions may apply college credits earned abroad as long as they are submitted to a foreign education evaluation and determined to be equivalent to an American institution. Contact the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASB) to request service on an evaluation. You can do this by email or phone.

Degree Requirements for Accountants in Hawaii

1

Associate Degree

Upon graduation, you’ll be able to handle basic accounting and business ledger work as you aid your employer to keep their records accurate. Learn More

2

Bachelor’s Degree

After earning your BBA-Accounting, you’ll be prepared to walk into one of several accounting fields. You may also decide to go into graduate school. Learn More

3

Master’s Degree

You may choose to earn your Master of Accounting, which teaches you about assurance, taxation, financial reporting, and a fuller understanding of accounting knowledge, along with the challenges of the field. Learn More

4

Doctorate or PhD

A well-designed PhD program in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting may result in your transition into academia, preparing you to teach or do research in accounting. Learn More

5

Online Degree Programs

Enrolling in an online degree program in accounting may prepare you to work as a paraprofessional in an accounting office or agency or give you access to positions in public accounting offices, small businesses, non-profits, or government organizations. Learn More

Exam Requirements

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The next step is to take the exam known as the Uniform CPA Exam created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Typically, applicants take the exam after earning a degree and months of study, but only the following CPA requirements must be met in order to schedule the exam:

  • Completed 18 hours of upper-division or graduate-level coursework in accounting and auditing.
  • Have a statement certifying the candidate will graduate from a baccalaureate program within 120 days of taking the exam.
  • Have a statement certifying any accounting degree earned abroad.

You can take the four sections in any order, but you must complete them all within an 18 month time frame. As long as those conditions are met any candidate is allowed to access registration to take the Uniform CPA Exam by following these steps:

Visit the website for CPA Examination Services (CPAES) to register for the exam and download the official application form. In addition to the form, applicants must submit the following documents and pay all fees in order to sit for the exam.

  • An official college transcript in a sealed envelope
  • Payment for the exam fee
  • A foreign education evaluation form if applicable
  • An ADA accommodation form if applicable
  • A certificate of enrollment form if the candidate is still completing a degree

Send all of the necessary documents to the CPA Examination Services - HI, PO Box 198469, Nashville, TN 37219.

Wait for the NASBA to send a Notice to Schedule (NTS) alerting the candidate that they are eligible to take the uniform CPA exam.

Access the Prometric website to plan and schedule a time, date, and testing center site.

Prepare for the test with CPA review courses and arrive at the testing location a little early to check in and get past security.

You'll gain access the test scores at 48 hours after taking them; you should get an official notification from the NASBA.

Experience Requirements

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After completing a degree and passing the uniform CPA exam it's possible to secure work as an accountant in a number of settings. CPA practice privileges are granted, allowing candidates to work under the supervision of a CPA from Hawaii who already has a license. This experience requirement allows the professional to have reviews of all necessary tasks including auditing, attestation, reporting, providing financial advice, accounting technology systems, and much more. The policy is that candidates must gain a certain amount of on-the-job experience before becoming eligible for full CPA licensure:

Option 1 – A candidate may complete 1500 chargeable hours in auditing while employed full time (a minimum of 35 hours a week) at a public accounting firm that follows the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and best practices for audit.

Option 2 – A candidate may complete two-years of full time (a minimum of 35 hours a week) work in any of these industries:

  • Private Industry
  • Government
  • Education – Teaching classes on accounting and auditing at the higher under-gradate or graduate levels.
  • Public Accounting Practice – Work not focused on auditing like preparing taxes or issuing reports on financial statements.

Obtain the Application for License-CPA packet and complete Part 1 of the Certification of Public Accountancy Experience form.

The candidate's supervisor completes Part 2 of the form and returns it to the candidate. The form is then included with the rest of the documents for the CPA license.

Licensure Requirements

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Hawaii does not require candidates to pass a state-specific test to earn a CPA license. After a candidate has earned a Bachelor of Science accounting diploma, passed the Uniform CPA Exam, and met an experience requirement the only thing left is to apply for the license:

Complete the CPA license package issued by the state of Hawaii. Candidates are allowed to apply after passing the Uniform CPA exam, but they will not be granted a Permit to Practice until the education and experience requirements have been fully met as well. In order to apply a candidate must be over 18 years of age, a US citizen, a US national, or an alien who is authorized to work in the US. The following documents are required at submission:

  • The Application for CPA License form.
  • Three Certificates of Competence (included in the CPA license package). These must be completed by non-relatives who can attest to the candidate's professional competence. The certificates must be signed in the presence of a notary public.
  • Certified college transcripts from the institution that issued the baccalaureate degree.
  • The Certification of Public Accountancy Experience form completed by the candidate's supervisor.

Send all documents to the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy, DCCA, PVL Licensing Branch, P.O. Box 3469, Honolulu, HI 96801. Also include a check or money order for $195 if the license is issued in an even-numbered year or $127 if the year is odd-numbered.

Wait for the Board to send official notification that a CPA license has been granted.

Fulfill the continuing professional education (CPE) requirement of 80 hours every two years. This is required in order to receive a Permit to Practice. Passing the Uniform CPA exam is counted as 80 hours of CPE as long as the permit is issued within two years of the candidate passing the exam.

Send in the Application for Permit to Practice. Two copies of the form must be included along with any applicable fees. The application is sent to the same address as the Application for CPA License.

Expect to have the Permit to Practice within 30 days of filling the application.

Candidates who have a CPA license in another state and wish to practice in Hawaii must follow the above steps for applying for a license and permit. Hawaii does not have reciprocal license agreements with any other state. These candidates must also submit supplemental documents:

  • Obtain the Verification of License and Exam Scores from the CPA license packet. Complete the top parts, then forward to the state where the previous CPA license was obtained. Those officials complete the remainder of the form and then submit it to the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy.
  • Candidates who have held a CPA license in another state for at least 10 years and have been actively practicing public accounting for at least 5 years may be eligible for a waiver from Hawaii's education requirements. For consideration, submit a waiver request in writing to the Hawaii Board of Public Accountancy.

Continuing Education Requirements

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In order to keep the skills of CPA sharp and current, Hawaii requires all CPAs to complete a prescribed amount of continuing professional education (CPE) in order for a Permit to Practice to be renewed:

CPAs are required to complete 80 hours of CPE every two years.

  • 4 CPE hours must be focused on ethics and professional conduct.
  • CPAs may carry over 40 hours of CPE credit to the next two-year period.
  • One hour of CPE credit is considered 50 minutes of class or program time.
  • A 6-hour day program is counted as 8 CPE hours.
  • A college credit course worth one semester hour is counted at 15 CPE hours.
  • A college non-credit course worth one semester hour is counted at 1 CPE hour.

CPE hours must be focused on subjects related to accounting and auditing. Common subjects are listed below, but the list should not be considered complete:

  • Finance
  • Business management
  • Auditing
  • Insurance
  • Marketing
  • Economics
  • Computer Science
  • Statistics
  • Financial Planning
  • Taxes

Only some types of study count as CPE hours. For instance, reading a book on accounting is not considered continuing education. Credit is only awarded when education is offered through one of these platforms:

  • Taking courses at a college or university
  • Teaching courses at a college or university
  • Delivering lectures, discussions, or speeches at events offering CPE credit
  • Participating in interoffice quality review programs
  • Writing books or articles relevant to accounting
  • Completing individual self-study programs that offer a certificate of completion

Keep documentation of all completed CPE hours going back five years. Documentation should include:

  • The CPE sponsor's name
  • The identification number of the sponsor
  • The course title
  • The dates attended
  • The CPE hours earned

Accountant Career Concentrations & Salaries in Hawaii

1

Bachelor of Business Administration with a Major in Accounting

Gain the skills and knowledge you need to work as a professional accountant or advance into an MBA program, which allows you to move up into more specialized positions. You’ll have the foundation to move into any one of a variety of accounting careers. The accounting portion of your degree teaches you all about advanced accounting practices.

2

Master of Business Administration in Accounting

This type of graduate program can give you an opportunity to earn your degree in less than two years. An online degree program may not even require GMAT scores to be accepted and, in some programs classes are self-paced.

3

Accountant

You may need to have as many as 4 years of working experience and a bachelor’s degree to qualify for this position. This full-time position requires that you be self-motivated and have the ability to multi-task; you’ll also need to have strong customer service and organizational skills, as well as computer knowledge.

You’ll prepare and organize files, prepare financials for a company, offer customer service, and you may need to help with collections by reviewing and/or printing collections letters. Learn More

Accountants in Hawaii enjoy a range of salaries, yet all are doing quite well. If you live in Honolulu, you are likely to do a bit better than those in Maui, Kauai, or other non-urban areas. Honolulu accountants have average salaries of $61,200, while their non-metropolitan cohorts average between $50,860 for tax preparers, and $54,440 for accountants. If you work for private industry as a controller or CFO, your salary could top $100k per year. In the ten-year span 2012 and 2022, Hawaii projects that job growth in the accountancy sector will be 11.7%, or 1.7% more than the national average.

City Annual Median Wage
Honolulu $61,200
Hawaii / Maui / Kauai nonmetropolitan area $54,440
Annual Mean Wage 10th Percentile 25th percentile 50th percentile 75th percentile 90th percentile
$64,410 $41,570 $50,090 $60,300 $75,790 $94,500

Hawaii Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

1

Do colleges in Hawaii offer online degrees in accounting?

From associate, to bachelor’s and master’s degree level, it’s possible to earn your degree by taking your classes 100% online in Hawaii.

Classes run five to eight weeks, allowing students to take multiple classes during the semester. You’ll earn your degree in roughly the same time period as someone attending traditional classes.

2

What can an accountant earn in Hawaii after earning a degree?

Your average annual salary before profit-sharing and bonuses will be $51,000. Accounting early-career salaries average around $40,000 and mid-career salaries rise to $68,000.

3

How many accounting jobs are available?

You can expect fewer than 5,000 accounting positions to be available in Hawaii as you begin to apply for a position. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 4,770 jobs are currently filled in Hawaii. The BLS report of the annual average wage agrees with that of PayScale.

4

Can a graduate with an AAS work in accounting?

After you earn your AAS, you’ll be able to find employment and anticipate career advancement. You can begin by working in entry-level positions such as accounts payable/receivable, payroll, bookkeeping, inventory, and other positions. An AAS position helps to prepare you to transfer to a 4-year program.


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