Are you a high school student curious about resumes? Or the CPA exam? Or the size of your future paycheck? Enter your question below and we’ll have a real-life CPA answer it.
If you are in college or beyond, get the answers to your questions by contacting the Academic & Career Awareness team.
Check out these questions or ask your own.
You can get prepared for college by getting a head start in high school. Some ways to get ahead of the pack if you are interested in going to college to study business or accounting include:
- Look for high school courses that prepare you to take exams through CLEP (College Level Examination Program). Pass the CLEP and you may request to be waived from a comparable course in college. You’ll not only save big on college tuition, you’ll earn three to 12 college credits.
- Consider Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Same principle as CLEP. Pass the AP course final exam and you’re three or four college credits ahead of the game.
- Learn and earn online. Log on to more than Facebook. Earn high school and college credits by enrolling in online classes.
- If your school offers an Academy of Finance (AOF) program, consider signing up. AOF not only prepares you for a job in the banking, finance, financial planning and accounting fields, it can help bankroll your education. A three-year program, AOF offers business courses, a course where you can earn college credits, a paid summer internship and access to national scholarships.
More ways you can get ahead of the pack before heading to college, join organizations like Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and Business Professionals of America (BPA). They’re great resources for leadership training, networking and internship opportunities.
I am a CPA and currently work in the non-profit sector and did not require any special training. Throughout my career, I have gained the ability to effectively research the area in which I am working to ensure I stay up to date on current events occurring within that sector.
Carver Smith, Permanent Staffing Leader
To answer the question fully, it is important to know what you WANT to do. What type of accounting career are you interested in?
Regardless, I think it's important to know that "CPA" can be viewed as a specific "job" such as being someone's public accountant, who gives tax advice, prepares financials, etc. for an individual or another company. You also can have your "CPA", an important credential in the accounting field, but not practice as a public accountant. In other words, you can earn your CPA license and designation and not BE a public accountant, working for a CPA firm.
Obtaining your CPA is arguably the top credential in the accounting field. I would strongly encourage anyone who wants a career in accounting, to obtain the CPA designation as it is a sign of your commitment to your career, a demonstration of your intelligence and overall motivation, that employers often require, or at a minimum prefer.
There are many accounting career paths and having the CPA gives you credibility in all of them. The rules for getting your CPA still vary somewhat by state, so you don't always have to get your Master's in Accounting to get it. Simply having an undergraduate degree with extra credits to get you to 150 in total is often enough (sometimes obtained with a double degree or as a result of changing degrees).
So, if you want to have a career in accounting, I strongly encourage you to go for your CPA license. You can determine if you want to get your Master's as a part of that process. Keep in mind though, having a Master's in Accounting is now more the norm than the exception, and may be a differentiator when a future employer is looking at two resumes side by side!
Ben Ellingson, Partner
My advice to someone pursuing a career in accounting is to keep an open mind – an open mind for the variety of options that will present themselves. A career in accounting provides the foundation for an endless number of opportunities, from public accounting to private industry to opening your own business. If you find that you are not enjoying one particular aspect, remember that it’s a multi-dimensional career and, with this great foundation, you will have the chance to find a perfect fit for yourself.
What I like about my job is the fact that I am always challenged. I never walk away from work thinking I had a boring day which is really fantastic. What I sometimes dislike about my job is that by always being so challenged, sometimes it is hard to come home and turn off work. However, since I have been in my career, I have found things that I like to do (e.g. meeting friends for dinner, working out, talking a walk, watching a movie, etc) which give me the ability to turn off work leading to a healthy balance between my work and personal lives.
I don’t think it is difficult to obtain a job in the profession today as long as you put effort into getting a good education and obtaining the certifications to back up the education. Plus, a good work ethic and a willingness to learn go a long way towards securing a good job in the accounting profession.