How to Become a CPA: Steps and Skills

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how to become a certified public accountant

Before taking the licensing exam, you need to earn between 120 to 150 post-secondary credit hours. A bachelor’s degree program will cover the required 120 credit hours. For states requiring 150 credit hours, a master’s degree program in accounting will ensure you have sufficient credit hours. It is also possible to participate in graduate certificates at colleges and universities to specialize in an area of accounting while earning your additional college credit hours. The University of West Florida offers a Master of Accountancy that can be completed entirely online. UWF’s MAcc offers a focus in either Professional Accountancy or Professional Taxation and is designed to prepare students to take the Uniform CPA Exam, and enter careers in accounting, finance, and business.

He also worked at an accounting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia, that provides tax and consulting services to small business owners. The cost of taking the CPA exam depends on the specific jurisdiction. For example, Florida charges a $170 application fee, $75 registration fee, and $226.15 examination fee for each section. Aspiring CPAs should apply for the CPA exam and submit the required verification documentation through NASBA’s CPA central portal. Verified applicants receive a notice of schedule , which allows them to schedule their exam section through Prometric.

Initial CPA Certification Requirements

The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants® represents AICPA® & CIMA® and works to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide. It represents 689,000 members, students and engaged professionals in public and management accounting and advocates for the public interest and business sustainability on current and emerging issues. With broad reach, rigor and resources, the Association advances the reputation, employability and quality of CPAs, CGMA designation holders and accounting and finance professionals globally. A degree in accounting is a great place to start any career in business. When I was in business school, the investment banks loved to hire CPAs or students with undergraduate accounting degrees and accounting experience.

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However, some senior business partners were reported to have the qualities of introversion and intuition. This led the investigators to conclude that introversion and intuition were attributes just as valuable as extroversion and sensing for upper management and executive positions. Develop the analytical skills needed to not only become an accountant—but to continue your evolution. Program outcomes vary according to each institution’s specific curriculum and employment opportunities are not guaranteed. Represent a client being audited by the federal government and answer questions on the client’s behalf.

Program Requirements

Advising CPAs will also need to know how to communicate with the IRS and legal counsel. They must be detail-oriented, analytical thinkers who are highly organized. They’ll most likely be working with multiple clients on many different deadlines and need to follow strict guidelines throughout. They should have a deep understanding of ethics and use their critical thinking skills to certified public accountant notice discrepancies and point them out to their company. But candidates should be aware that there are very extensive controls and checks of grades before initial release. The likelihood of a grade being changed based on a review or appeal is negligible. After you have been determined eligible to sit for the computer based examination, you will be sent a “Notice to Schedule” .

What Can CPAs Do that Accountants Cannot?

CPA is a credential earned by accountants. As such, CPAs are often accountants that perform the same duties and functions as an accountant without the designation. CPAs, however, are granted certain roles that only they can perform. These include performing audits of public U.S. companies and preparing audited financial statements for a company, such as a balance sheet or an income statement.

If you want to become a CPA, you’ll need a four-year bachelor’s degree plus additional credits. Currently, nearly 1.4 million people are employed as accountants. As far as career offerings go, there are many opportunities for you to start your career as an accountant. Keep in mind that many online courses prepare you for the CPA exam in a specific state. You’ll need to ensure that the courses you register for will adequately prepare you to take the exam where you wish to work. This article was co-authored by John Gillingham, CPA, MA. John Gillingham is a Certified Public Accountant, the Owner of Gillingham CPA, PC, and the Founder of Accounting Play, Apps to teach Business & Accounting. John, who is based in San Francisco, California, has over 14 years of accounting experience and specializes in assisting consultants, bootstrapped startups, pre-series A ventures, and stock option compensated employees.

Apply to Take the CPA Exam

This will keep you in the loop about industry news and research. Furthermore, it’ll offer discounts on conferences, scholarship opportunities, discounts on services and products from partners, and more.

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