What is Accounting?
The practice of becoming a CPA is an important one, with a varied process for CPA certification and expectations depending upon which state you live in. Maine is no exception, and has their own State Boards of Accountancy which requires candidates to meet a set of general standards for reaching the highest level of accounting licensure, as a certified public accountant CPA.
To become a certified public accountant CPA, Maine State Board of Accountancy requires individuals to earn a bachelor's degree and complete 150 credit hours, have passed all four sections of the CPA exam (AUD, BEC, FAR, and REG), and have completed a certain number of hours of accounting work. Becoming a CPA is challenging but rewarding.
In accounting, also called accountancy, financial and non-financial information about economic entities such as businesses and corporations is measured, processed, and communicated. In accounting, the results of an organization's economic activities are measured and communicated to a variety of stakeholders, including investors, creditors, management, and regulators. Professional accountants generally work in this field. Both accounting and financial reporting are often used interchangeably.
Accounting Education in Maine
- Find and enroll in an accredited university
Before you can take the CPA exam and become a CPA, you will need to begin your education. First, you’ll need to search local universities and select and enroll in an accounting program at one that is fully accredited. The Maine State Boards of Accountancy only accepts degrees from schools that are accredited by an accrediting agency in good standing with the Council of Postsecondary Accreditation. If students have already enrolled in a program, they must confirm that it’s accredited by one of these agencies. You can check for a list of accredited programs on the website of the State Board.
If your educational institute is outside of the United States, you will need to send your transcripts to the Foreign Academic Credential Service (FACS). They will ensure that the level of learning you received was on par with what you would have received in the U.S. The Maine State Boards of Accountancy will then evaluate the results the FACS office provide and determine if you meet the State Board of Accountancy CPA requirements.
Other important information to note when selecting an institution:
- CPA review courses and products are not an acceptable form of study.
- Credits earned at a regionally accredited community college or two-year degree granting institutions are acceptable.
- Additional correspondence and online degrees are acceptable, as long as the university is accredited and what you learn is applicable to accounting.
- Credits by examination (CLEP) are acceptable provided your school decides you're passed the exams.
If you have questions regarding the standing of your current institution or one you’re considering applying to next, contact the board for more info.
- Complete Your Course Requirements
CPA applicants must earn, at a minimum, a 4-year baccalaureate or higher degree. The program must consist of at least 150 credits, 3 of which must be in auditing and attestation services.
Additionally, credit hours covering one or more of the following topic areas must number 15:
- Financial accounting and reporting for business organizations
- Financial accounting and reporting for government and not-for-profit entities
- Audit and attestation services
- Managerial or cost accounting
- Fraud examination
- Internal controls and risk assessment
- Financial statement analysis
- Accounting research and analysis
- Tax research and analysis
- Accounting information systems
- Ethics relevant to the practice of public accounting
Associate Degree in Accounting (AS)
An associate degree in accounting is optimal for individuals who want to begin working in finance fast. Most programs consist of around 60 credit hours and provide a basic foundation in the field.
Bachelor's Degree in Accounting (BS)
A bachelor’s degree in accounting is ideal for traditional accounting students wanting to become a CPA. They generally consist of 120 credit hours, can be completed in about four years, and cover introductory, intermediate, and advanced accounting concepts.
Master's Degree in Accounting (MS or MC)
A master’s degree in accounting is helpful for those seeking administrative or leadership positions as a CPA. Programs consist of 60 credit hours and take approximately two years to complete. CPA licensure candidates are usually required to have graduate degrees.
PhD Degree in Accounting (PhD)
A doctoral degree in accounting is for people seeking top CPA positions in the field (professors, CFOs, policy-makers, etc.). Programs consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours, take four to seven years to complete, and require students to conduct original research.
Online Degree in Accounting (Online)
Online degree programs are available for students who require flexible scheduling options. Program length depends on the degree type sought. Hybrid or partially online options are also common.
Exam Requirements in Maine
Complete Your Exam Requirements:
In order to qualify to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam (Maine offers the same test as most states), you must complete at least 120 hours of the 150 requirement, including the basic courses in accounting and auditing, as well as 15 semester hours in one or more of the topic areas mentioned above. There is no minimum age to take the CPA exam, but you’ll also be required to attain your 4-year baccalaureate or higher degree within 120 days following your first examination. Failing to graduate within this time period will mean no credit will be given for the examination and you’ll be unable to request your CPA exam scores.
In most states before you can take the cpa exam, you will need to fulfill an ethics exam. In Maine, you are not required to take an ethics exam but you are required to take four hours of ethics.
Apply to Take the Uniform CPA Exam:
To become a certified public accountant cpa, you must take the state boards and pass the CPA exam in your state. You can apply to take the Uniform CPA Exam online via the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) CPA Examination Services (CPAES).
Application requirements include:
- Application fee of $150.
- The CPA Examination fee is $208.40 for each section you intend to take: Auditing and Attestation, Business Environment and Concepts, Financial Accounting and Reporting, and/or Regulation. You can apply for as many examination sections as you want, though a testing center might not be open long enough for you to feasibly take all four in one day, especially since they take four hours each.
- Official school transcripts from all schools listed on your CPA application. These must be sent directly from your school to CPAES.
- In your CPA application, you also need to include three reference letters submitted by you or your references, which may not include anyone related to you. Additionally, only one letter may be written by an employer or educator who knows you solely through work or school.
- Notarization form.
- Photo form.
- In your CPA application, you also need to include your certification of Enrollment, if still enrolled, submitted by you or your institution. This may not be necessary if courses in progress are listed on your official transcript(s). Final transcripts signifying the completion of your program must be submitted to CPAES within 120 days of your first examination.
- International Evaluation, if education was received outside of the United States. This must be sent directly from the evaluation agency.
- Testing Accommodation Request Form, if applicable, submitted by you.
- Supporting legal documents (if applicable for background check and security purposes).
Keep in mind that the CPA application and/or CPA examination fees are not refundable. Under extreme circumstances, however, you may request a CPA exam extension or a partial refund for examination fees using an Exception to Policy Form.
You should receive an email once your materials have been received. If you fail to submit any required documentation with 45 days, your CPA exam application will be marked incomplete. On average, it will take between two and four weeks for your application to be processed from that point.
Schedule and Take Your Uniform CPA Exam:
Once the NASBA determines you’re eligible, you’ll receive a Notice to Schedule (NTS). Your NTS will instruct you on how to schedule your exam date via Prometric. Be advised that Prometric does charge CPA exam service fees.
Your exam responses will be sent to AICPA to be tabulated. You should then receive the results via postal mail.
Continuing Professional Education Requirements
Complete your CPE requirements:
Your CPA license in Maine will expire on September 30 of each year. In order to maintain your license, you need to meet the state’s CPE requirements, which consist of 40 hours of continuing education annually. You can view these requirements on the State Board's website. Qualifying programs include:
Acceptable subject matter includes:
- Accounting, Auditing, and Ethics
- Specialized Accounting Areas of Industry
- Administration Practices
- Management Services
The following subjects are acceptable, but must not exceed 50% of your total time spent:
- Communication Arts
- Mathematics, Statistics, Probability, and Quantitative Applications in Business
- Business, Securities, and Administration Law
- Human Resources Policies
- Computer Software Applications
Become an Accountant in Maine
Complete Your Work Experience Requirements:
To qualify for a CPA exam in Maine, CPA candidates are required to work professionally, on site, under the direct supervision of a certified public accountant CPA for two years. Your CPA supervisor can be licensed in any state or territory, as well as board-approved countries. Employment must be at any of the many licensed public accounting firms in the state, unless a non-public accounting position is deemed equivalent by the Maine Board of Accountancy.
During this time, you should gain experience in accounting or auditing skills, including the issuance of reports and, at minimum, one of the following:
- The provision of management advisory
- Financial advisory or consulting services
- Preparation of tax returns
- The furnishing of advice on tax matters
Submit Proof of Work Experience:
Your accounting experience must be confirmed by a licensed CPA. Make sure you use the appropriate verification form for either CPAs licensed in Maine or CPAs licensed in another location.
Getting Your CPA License in Maine
- Check that you have met all requirements:
In order to apply for a CPA license, you must meet the following requirements:
- Score of at least 75% within an 18 month rolling period on all four parts of the Uniform CPA Exam
- Successful completion of the 150 credits including,
at minimum, a baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution
- Two years of professional accounting experience,
verified by a licensed CPA
- Submit the CPA license application:
You can apply for your initial CPA license online or by downloading the application and sending it to the following address:
Maine Board of Accountancy
35 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
A total fee of $76 must also be included. This can be paid online, via check made payable to “Maine State Treasurer”, or by including your credit card information on your printed application.
Careers for Accounting Graduates
- Management Accountant
Management accountants are responsible for helping companies with cost monitoring, sales management, trend prediction, internal financial directing, and auditing. These professionals require a bachelor’s degree in a related field as well as training under the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). Most gain work experience before seeking a CIMA Certificate in Business Accounting or the CIMA Professional Qualification.
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
CPAs are licensed accountants responsible for helping clients with a variety of financial matters, including planning and meeting financial goals. Each state sets its own certification requirements, but most CPAs must have both undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as several years of professional accounting experience. CPA candidates must also successfully pass the Uniform CPA Exam.
- Cost Accountant
Cost accountants are responsible for helping businesses improve their processes in order to save money. They examine every expense carefully, conduct profitability analyses, and prepare budgets. After collecting, reviewing, and compiling the company’s spending, these professionals communicate their findings to leadership and help them identify potential ways to improve financial efficiently.
- Government Accountant
Government accountants are responsible for helping government agencies plan each fiscal year and ensuring taxpayer money is spent wisely. They may work at the federal, state, county, city, or district level. These professionals need a bachelor’s degree in accounting but many also have master’s degrees in accounting, finance, taxation, or business administration.
Maine Average Accountant Salary
In Maine, your salary may start good, but your pocketbook will expand with your experience. Maine accountants with one to three years of experience are paid between $43,700 and $56,763. When accountants pass the five-year mark, their salaries rise to between $66,975 and $84,550 per year. Credentials and specialization counts, too. Maine forensic accountants are able to earn between $67,925 and $105,925 before bonuses and benefits are accounted. For those who rise to the level of CFO, it's possible to earn a base salary of $261,250 per year. It will also matter where you practice. Portland accountants lead the state with a mean salary of $48,000, and Lewiston trails with its accountants earning an average of $51,000/year.
|City||Annual Median Wage|
|Northeast Maine nonmetropolitan area||-|
|Entry Level||Mid Career||Late Career|
- Maine Average Cost Estimator Salary: $50,000
- Maine Average Auditor Salary: $57,000
- Maine Average Budget Analyst Salary: $60,700
- Maine Average Credit Analyst Salary: $45,800
- Maine Average Financial Analyst Salary: 71,300
- Maine Average Personal Financial Advisor Salary: $50,900
- Maine Average Financial Examiner Salary: $60,700
- Maine Average Tax Examiner, Collector, or Revenue Agent Salary: -
- Maine Average Tax Preparer Salary: $49,900
- Maine Average Actuary Salary: $54,500
- Maine Average Forensic Science Technician Salary: -
- Maine Average Payroll and Timekeeping Clerk Salary: -
Maine Accounting Frequently Asked Questions
Does Maine have many accounting jobs available?
According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the state of Maine only had 4,390 jobs for accounting professionals in 2019. The mass majority of these positions were located in Portland, with a decent number available in Bangor. The northeastern non-metropolitan area has significantly fewer opportunities than anywhere else in the state.
How much can you earn with an accounting degree in Maine?
Exact salaries will vary depending on education, professional experience, certifications, and specific job title but the average annual wage for accountants, as reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, was $70,090 in 2019. The city with the highest reported mean wage was Portland.
Which Maine accounting programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)?
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is considered the best accrediting agency for accounting programs because colleges and universities must undergo a rigorous accreditation process. Currently, there are no educational institutions that hold AACSB accreditation in Maine so you should make sure that whatever school you attend is regionally accredited.
Are scholarships available for Maine accounting students?
There are several colleges and universities in Maine that offer scholarships to students enrolled in their accounting programs. Candidate requirements and reward amounts vary from institution to institution. Schools that offer accounting scholarships include the University of Southern Maine, Husson University, and the University of Maine at Augusta.
Do colleges in Maine offer online accounting programs?
Students who need or simply prefer distance learning will have several options to choose from in Maine. Central Maine Community College offers an online associate degree, the University of Maine at Augusta offers an online bachelor’s in business administration with an accounting concentration, and Saint Joseph’s College of Maine offers an online Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree.