How do

I Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Why?

How do I Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Why?


The term "certified public accountant" (CPA) refers to an accounting professional who has fulfilled the education, examination, and experience criteria to be licensed by a state board of accountancy. You must pass an exam proving you have the technical expertise required to offer services for financial accounting, auditing, financial reporting, attestation, regulations, business settings, and business principles in order to become a CPA.

The CPA test is governed nationally by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), and Prometric. However, each jurisdiction continues to have its own standards for certified public accountants.

Due to their considerable expertise in tax law, auditing techniques, management practices, and other crucial facets of firm financial operations, CPAs are highly sought after by corporations and nonprofit organizations.

You can work as an advanced accountant if you have a CPA license, which is granted by the state where you want to work. You must pass all 4 parts of the CPA examination in order to become licensed as a CPA. Once you've passed them and obtained the necessary work experience, you apply to your state board of accountancy for a CPA license.

What does a CPA do?

Like the majority of accountants, CPAs provide a wide range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services to large and small enterprises, governments, non-profits, and private citizens.

As a CPA, you can be in charge of drafting financial statements for your customers and submitting reports to the SEC. You must be a CPA to create and submit reports in accordance with SEC standards.

In order to assist clients in resolving their tax issues, you will also represent them before the IRS. Only CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, and enrolled actuaries are permitted by the IRS to act directly on behalf of their clients.

As a certified public accountant, you'll have the ability to provide financial and tax advice to people and organizations across a range of sectors. You might decide to focus on a specific area, such as forensic services, taxation, or working in the healthcare sector. As an alternative, you can focus on a broad range of accounting services depending on your professional path.

Why is Becoming a CPA Beneficial?

The most prestigious professional accounting credential is the CPA designation. The esteem and recognition that come with being a CPA can present you with a variety of fascinating professional prospects.

The advantages of becoming a CPA include the following:

Earn more money: CPAs typically make more money than non-CPAs with equivalent training and experience. CPAs with one to 3 years of public accounting experience, according to Glassdoor, make an average salary of $74,529 annually, as opposed to their non-CPA counterparts, who get an average pay of $57,607 annually.

Greater Opportunities: You can explore a variety of professional avenues in the accounting industry by becoming a CPA. As a CPA, you can work for private businesses, government entities, nonprofits, and public accounting firms.

Additional employment options include those in management consulting, information technology, instructing, and financial planning. Despite the fact that they may not appear like the conventional careers for accountants, many businesses depend on financial skills.

A Sense of Achievement: You may demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed in your field by passing the CPA Exam. It's a difficult exam; on average, just 52% of first-timers clear all four parts.

Credibility: Your success and the success of your clients depend on your reputation as a reliable financial and business consultant. By earning your CPA designation, you demonstrate to your clients that you have undergone testing on the subject matter you are speaking about in addition to your knowledge of it. That's crucial because it encourages them to trust your advice.

How do I become a CPA?

Getting a degree is the first step on the route to becoming a CPA. After passing the CPA exam, you can apply for a license in your state. To keep your license, you must meet continuing education requirements.

Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

Each state has its own criteria for CPAs. The majority of accounting majors can fulfill the most of the educational requirements, however certain states need 150 semester hours of college credit before you can sit for the test. This implies that in addition to the coursework needed for your bachelor's degree, you will also need to complete 30 additional hours of study.

Accounting undergraduate and graduate programs offer the fundamentals for completing the academic requirements for licensing. These courses give you an introduction to both individual and corporate financial accounting, auditing, and taxes concepts. They also provide you the chance to practice operating computer programs and apps that are accepted in the business.

If you want to become a certified public accountant, you might look into enrolling in an online accounting degree program. These programs are convenient and flexible, especially if you already have a job. Additionally, online programs could provide a flexible or expedited style.

Pass the CPA exam

To be eligible to take the Uniform CPA Exam, you must meet the requirements established by each state. Most states need or require 150 hours of post-high school education, and many states require you to have a bachelor's degree. Candidates for CPAs must be at least 18 to 21 years old in some jurisdictions, and a few further need that you be a citizen or legal permanent resident.

Gain Experience

While each state has its own requirements, the majority demand at least two years of experience working in public accounting before you can sit for the CPA Exam. However, you will often require more years of such expertise. Some states accept different experiences, such as working in government or business.

Get Licensure

State boards of accountancy issue CPAs licenses. To find out what you must do, contact the state board of accountancy and check out their website.

Most states require that you have:

  • Fulfill academic requirements

  • Pass the Uniform CPA exam

  • Fulfill experience criteria

  • Pass the CPA ethics exam

Continue Your Education

You must complete continuing professional education (CPE) as a CPA, typically every two years.

There are two primary types of CPE:

  • Courses - formal programs

  • Reading journal articles or enrolling in an online course as a self-study

It's necessary to keep in mind that the dates and criteria for CPE vary per state. For instance, different states have varied requirements for the number of ethics CPE hours you must complete and accept various forms of training. Before commencing on your CPE journey, it is preferable to review the laws and regulations of your state.

The CPA exam procedure is challenging, and earning the certificate requires a significant time investment. Nevertheless, CPA holders make 25% more money overall than non-CPA accountants. Additionally, CPA-certified accountants typically rise to roles with greater responsibility between one to two years and are frequently promoted to senior-level positions within a few years afterward.

Explore further by reading our blog on the same subject: 7 Promising Career Benefits of taking a CPA Course