Are you considering a career in accounting? One of the most prestigious and respected positions in the field is that of a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA.
What is it like to work as a CPA?
Working as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can be a rewarding and challenging career. CPAs are highly trained professionals who are responsible for providing a wide range of financial services to businesses, organizations, and individuals. These services can include preparing and examining financial records, tax planning and compliance, and consulting on financial matters.
Variety of work
One of the benefits of working as a CPA is the variety of work available. CPAs can work in a variety of industries, including public accounting firms, private companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations. This means that a CPA can choose to specialize in a particular area of accounting, such as auditing or tax preparation, or work in a more general capacity.
There is also a high demand for qualified CPAs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 4% between 2019 and 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This growth is driven by the increasing complexity of the tax code and the need for organizations to have a strong financial foundation.
Working as a CPA also carries a high level of responsibility. Because they handle sensitive financial information, CPAs are held to strict ethical standards and are required to maintain confidentiality at all times. In addition, CPAs must stay current on the latest laws, regulations, and best practices in the field of accounting, which requires a commitment to ongoing professional development.
Despite the challenges, working as a CPA can be very rewarding. In addition to the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients and organizations, CPAs also enjoy competitive salaries and job stability. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for accountants and auditors was $71,550 in May 2020, and the top 10% earned more than $122,840.
Overall, working as a CPA requires a strong foundation in accounting principles, excellent problem-solving skills, and the ability to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.
If you have these qualities and are interested in a career that offers a high level of responsibility and the opportunity to make a positive impact on organizations and individuals, becoming a CPA may be the right career path for you.
If you’re still interested in becoming a CPA, here is a step-by-step guide on what you need to do:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Most states require CPAs to have at least a bachelor’s degree, and many employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed a degree program accredited by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
- Pass the CPA Exam. The CPA Exam is a rigorous, uniform assessment designed to test your knowledge and skills in the field of accounting. It is composed of four sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). You will need to pass all four sections to become a CPA.
- Meet your state’s experience requirements. In addition to passing the CPA Exam, most states require candidates to have a certain amount of work experience in the field of accounting before they can be licensed. This experience is typically obtained through an internship or by working in a related field such as auditing or tax preparation.
- Obtain your CPA license. Once you have met all of the requirements set forth by your state, you will be eligible to apply for your CPA license. This typically involves filling out an application, paying a fee, and submitting to a background check.
- Maintain your CPA license. In order to maintain your CPA license, you will need to complete a certain number of continuing professional education (CPE) credits each year. These credits can be obtained through a variety of methods such as attending seminars, completing online courses, or participating in professional development programs.
Becoming a CPA requires dedication, hard work, and a strong commitment to your education and professional development. However, the rewards of this career path are numerous, including job stability, high earning potential, and the opportunity to work with a wide range of clients and businesses.