Choosing a career in Public Accounting Career
Choosing a career path is one of the biggest decisions in life. If you’re good with numbers and enjoy paying attention to detail, becoming a public accountant can provide you with a long and fulfilling career. Once you’ve become a CPA, you’ll be able to serve individuals and companies in many different capacities.
The most important part of becoming a certified public accountant is of course to pass the CPA exam. Depending on where you live, you may need to meet certain pre-qualifications. These educational and experience requirements vary widely from state to state.
For example, in Minnesota, you will need a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, or a bachelor’s degree in a non-accounting field along with at least twelve months of applicable experience, or at least three years of applicable experience along with at least two years of college. High school graduates with a minimum of five years applicable experience can also qualify to take the CPA exam in Minnesota.
Once you have the appropriate education, you’ll likely need to spend several months preparing to sit for the exam, which takes two days to complete and is quite comprehensive. Many CPAs study for the exam concurrent with their post-college employment in a more junior capacity at an accounting firm or within an accounting department.
Becoming a CPA is about more than just knowledge and experience, however, and passing the test is only the first step towards being approved by the board that will grant your certification. It is important that you understand the ethical obligations of the profession as well. Your commitment to these principles will be tested as well, by an “ethics exam” that you must pass before you can be certified.
After you’ve gone through this long period of preparation and have finally met your goal of becoming a CPA, you’ll have several options as far as which way to go with your career.
The great thing about being an accountant is that you can work for virtually any type of business there is – because one thing all businesses have in common is their need to keep accurate books. You can find opportunities in any sector, from the government to big business to non-profit.
Whether they are government-funded, publicly traded, or classified as a tax-exempt charitable organization, most businesses have special accounting regulations under which they function, in addition to their basic bookkeeping and reporting. When audit time rolls around, having a CPA on staff is quite valuable.
Many certified public accounts choose to make their career at an accounting firm. Businesses employ accounting firms when they need services beyond those they can provide in-house. Much like a law firm, most accounting firms consist of partners and associates. For someone who is ambitious and wants a situation that will allow them to keep moving up, this can be a wonderful opportunity.
Becoming a CPA means you have a proven and marketable worth to many companies. Regardless of where in the business world you decide to make your home, you can count on being welcome.