How to Start a Career in Accounting
Are you looking for a fulfilling career that requires brainpower, prizes analytic thinking, and allows you to help change people’s lives? If so, you should consider becoming a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA. How to start a career in accounting, you ask? This article will provide straightforward guidance. Above all, accounting is an excellent job for anyone with a good head for numbers. In addition, a sense of the economy is helpful, too. After that, CPAs help people manage their money, create budgets, file taxes, and more.
CPA Firm Technology has a history of supporting the public accounting profession by helping professionals find functional, reliable technology. We’d also like to help empower the next generation of accountants to discover that this is the field for them. Here’s a look at how you get started in accounting, what you can expect from the accounting profession, and what kind of living you can earn as an accountant.
Getting Started on a Career in Accounting
CPAs are highly qualified individuals. Qualification starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In addition, most have found a master’s degree achievable with the 150-hour requirement to sit for the CPA exam. However, many people are hesitant to go back to school right now. With the pandemic still going, colleges across the country are struggling to keep infection rates low and in-person classes safe. Fortunately, there are plenty of online-only accounting programs worth considering. Moreover, there are more pros to an online program than just avoiding COVID. You’ll save money on tuition, parking, childcare, and more.
When you start your degree, be sure to familiarize yourself with CPA licensing requirements in your state. Each state has its own set of rules. Above all, some will require you to take specific course loads before you can qualify. Once you’re through with classes, you can take the Uniform Licensing Exam. This also referred to as the CPA Exam. This test is the same in all states. However, the license you earn will not necessarily qualify you to work in another state unless your state has the same (or stricter) requirements. While it is not easy to pass, there are CPA Exam preparation courses that can help you prepare.
What to Expect in an Accounting Career
Your day to day life as an accountant can vary pretty widely depending on what type of job you wind up taking. Accountants can be self-employed, work for an accounting firm, or work directly for a business as an industry CPA. However, regardless of the specific role, you can expect to spend time building and analyzing budgets, preparing tax documentation, and organizing and reporting on financial documentation. How to start a career in accounting? Consider if you have the core competencies.
Core Competencies of Accountants
You might be wondering: Who thrives as a CPA? Here’s a look at some of the core competencies you need to do well in this field:
- Strong organization: CPAs need to ensure their clients’ records are easy to find and understand. Messy file systems are not an option.
- A mind for analytics: One of your jobs will be evaluating costs and profits to tip the balance positive. You should be able to look beyond the data itself, understand it in context, and make recommendations.
- Interpersonal skills: Sometimes, CPAs deliver bad news. Sometimes they bring clients more work or burst bubbles. As a result, they need to balance a no-nonsense and a customer service mindset to get the information presented without severing the client relationship. Similarly, presentation skills are a plus, too.
Salary and Career Outlook
Your CPA license will give you a significant edge when it comes to earning capacity. Investopedia estimates that certified accountants make 5 to 15% more than their un-licensed peers. They also report that the median annual salary for CPAs in 2012 was $73,800 and topped off at about $124,000. However, experienced CPAs and partners in public practice firm stand to make far more.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for CPAs will grow at a steady, consistent rate of 4% from 2019 to 2020 and beyond. The demand for accounting skills is projected to increase. Job security will generally be linked closely with economic health. Above all, CPAs remain essential even in economic downturns so that you may have some additional protection in your new career.
Start a Career in Accounting Leading to Your CPA Certification
CPAs are a valuable resource when it comes to a business’s or individual’s financial security. In conclusion, there are many paths and specialties open to a career CPA. How to start a career in accounting? A decision to invest in your future with experience and education! If you’re drawn to this line of work and are naturally analytical, this might be the job for you!