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.
Katrina Lucero, Experienced Tax Manager
There are many reasons why becoming an accountant would be a good choice for your future. For me, it was because I enjoyed working with numbers and had strong analytical skills. I am also very outgoing; a strength that is important when you work with clients and colleagues. Becoming a professional was exciting. Like doctors and attorneys, CPAs are given a high level of respect and trust. I enjoy working in an environment where respect and integrity are expected and practiced. I have remained in public accounting because boredom is my worst enemy. There is nothing more exciting to me than a brand new day in public accounting.
If you desire a future of constant growth and change, accounting will certainly provide that. Not to mention the financial rewards, the personal and professional rewards are unlimited. An accountant can fill many different business positions and roles. The opportunities are great and you can actually find that perfect job – the job just for you. You can work for yourself, a public accounting firm, a company in a particular industry, or government, to name a few. An accounting degree can also compliment other professions such as banking and wealth management.
As a manager I have never been in a position of saying we are not hiring. I have always been able to say that I can interview and hire if we find someone with a great resume. Most often firms and employers are willing to pick up great candidates even if the timing isn’t quite right. The reason being that the market is short of strong candidates and when someone worthwhile comes along we hire them. This is why it is important to start early with your career and do well in school. Market yourself from the beginning by joining organizations and taking on leadership roles. This experience also transfers over to the professional world, where again, you will do the same thing.
In addition, statistics are showing an increase towards balance of men and women in the profession. A once upon a time male dominated profession, public accounting firms are making it a strategic priority to attract and maintain qualified female professionals.
It is notable to mention that the rewards of becoming a CPA far outweigh obtaining your accounting degree alone. Why not take the next step and become certified? It was the best investment I have ever made.
Invest in yourself further. Becoming a CPA is a must! It will set you above the rest!
Wow . . . that is a lot of questions wrapped into one. I don’t think that accounting is boring, but I also think that because I like what I do and never leave work thinking I had a boring day. The great thing about accounting - which only gets better when you get your CPA license because more career options are available - is that there are so many different industries and positions that you can go into. You can be an accountant/ CPA in an industry that you finding interesting and find a position which you enjoy while getting paid well and adding value to that industry.
Most colleges have an accounting major that has required classes to graduate in that major which will give you the necessary classes to become a CPA. Depending on your state, you might have to take a few additional classes to be able to sit for the CPA Exam. I defiantly recommend you research your state so you can graduate college with all the required accounting and general education classes to be able to sit for the CPA Exam so you don’t have to go back to school or pay the extra money for a master in accountancy. Once you sit for the CPA Exam and pass, you must meet an experience requirement which varies by state to then obtain your CPA license.
Hope that answers your questions. Good luck! It is well worth the effort!
Wade G. Becker, Regional Managing Partner
I think your concerns are valid and given that you are evaluating activities you love to do in correlation to a career demonstrate some great reasoning skills you have developed very early in life. The field of accounting as well as obtaining your CPA can lead you in many different directions. Those directions can be as varied as being a sole practitioner, fraud and forensics investigator, FBI agent, CFO, CEO, business manager for a professional sports team, or a business owner to name just a few.
I always like to say that accounting is the “language of business” and earning your CPA demonstrates to the world that you are fluent in the “language of business.” The accounting discipline and the obtaining of a CPA license can springboard your career into any business or industry line in which you want to become involved as all industries and business lines typically have some level of fiscal accountability and reporting involved. If you love problem solving as mentioned, you will be presented many opportunities to reason and solve situations when helping maintain fiscal accountability and developing fiscal reporting within any organization. I have never been bored by my career to date and doubt that will ever happen as every day presents new situations and opportunities.
Tara Hagan, Audit Manager
What a great foundation. Accounting is a type of puzzle. With journal entries and other documentation, you can piece together how a business is operating. Understanding the nuts and bolts of a business - how it operates, how it mitigates risks, how it makes money, etc - is an invaluable skill. So if you decide to pursue another career later on, you'll have already built a great business foundation.
You can use accounting as a gateway into areas of interest. Are you interested in the fashion industry, sports industry, finance industry? Would you prefer a large company in a metropolitan area or a small, private business in a small town in another country? Accounting might be one of the only professions that would be useful and always in demand across industries, companies, and countries.
It's not easy. You can't just leave at 6 every day. Whatever you are working on -- producing financial reports, analyzing estimates, closing the books -- has deadlines. It's a challenge that requires you to constantly brush up on your current events, current accounting updates, and staying aware of business activities within your company.
Accounting is basically the use of data for decision making. Sometimes the decisions aren't easy and sometimes you have to confront others. Accounting requires more than just critical thinking. It requires standing up to others, supporting your opinions, and standing firm when your opinions differ.
Jimmy Williams, Partner
One of the most important advantages of being an accountant, in particular a CPA, is the number of opportunities you may encounter in your career. CPAs can be found in all industry sectors and public services. The education and training you receive to qualify for the CPA credential is ongoing. You will not only have opportunities to seize in your career, you will also have a lifetime of knowledge to contribute to your favorite charities or assist others during your retirement. No matter the economy, a CPA will be needed to provide guidance, direction and counseling in the operation and development of products, companies and market sectors.
Although I don’t believe this is a disadvantage, some individuals do not desire to be challenged by an ever-changing business environment. I personally thrive on the challenges and seek these situations as opportunities for further growth in my experience and knowledge. Overall, the profession of an accountant is very rewarding and maintains a significant ability to enhance one’s lifetime earnings.
Becoming a CPA doesn’t restrict you to just one state or jurisdiction. Although a CPA does need a state license (and can hold licenses in more than one state) to perform audits, there really isn’t any particular state that provides “better experience”. The fortunate thing about being a CPA, is that you can gain valuable insight and knowledge really by focusing on the kinds of businesses you are interested in. Once you focus on the type of experience you are most interested in, you can decide if a career in public accounting or a career in business and industry is the right path for you. Usually, a student coming out of school might not know what industry or type of business they are interested in and might choose to go into public accounting so they can gain a wide array of experience and exposure to see what “fits best” in their career choices down the road.
Also, the AICPA is currently working on an initiative we call our “Mobility” initiative that allows CPAs performing audits to have reciprocity from state to state. That means, when enacted, a license in one state can be used to perform audit work in another state.