Scores of colleges and universities offer the chance to major in accounting, because of how versatile the degree is. Indeed, by taking plenty of business courses with a focus in accounting and financial management, you’re diversifying yourself in order to fit into a number of different industries. But just because you graduated with a degree in accounting doesn’t automatically make you an accountant.
Becoming a certified public accountant, or CPA for short, is a benchmark many choose to go on and accomplish, because it greatly increases their employment opportunities. CPAs tend to be in high demand because their services are just as good as those of tax relief attorneys but at typically more affordable rates. Plus, CPAs can provide auditing services to the public, as well. Since becoming a CPA is a significant commitment, here are a few items you definitely need to know before you consider it:
You’ll need a college degree.
Just like you can’t be expected to become a plumber without having the necessary training first, you likely won’t be able to pass the CPA exam without a number of years of college under your belt to lay the groundwork. Your degree track might be very regimented, but take courses in business law and other areas of management, too, in order to get a full education in the field. Then, the real fun can begin.
You’ll need to study. A lot.
The best form of CPA training and practice is to simply bury yourself in books for the months leading up to the exam. The CPA certification requirements always involves successful completion of the examination, which is uniform across all 50 states and in Guam, Puerto Rico and the nation’s capital. Think of it as the bar exam but for accountants and you’ll be able to view in it the appropriate context.
You could benefit from CPA training courses, too.
Familiarize yourself early on with the CPA requirements. If they sound absolutely overwhelming to you and you begin to hyperventilate, it might be a good idea to look into some CPA training classes to help prepare you. The CPA exam is particularly daunting, too, since it’s comprised of four different sections, all of which need to be studied for at great length. Everyone learns differently, and if you think you could learn well in a CPA training course, definitely get involved — sooner rather than later.
The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that passing the CPA exam is an investment in your future. Once you obtain your certification, you’ll also need to amass plenty of on-the-job experience, too, to truly learn how to be the best accounting professional you can be. CPA is just a title, and you want to show your employers how valuable you the person can be to their organization. It takes time, but when it comes to CPA training and preparation, it’s always time well spent.