Did you know that there are nearly 135,000 open jobs for certified public accountants in the United States?
A certified public accountant (CPA) handles leadership and management while focusing on taxes.
If you are organized and enjoy working with numbers, this might be an excellent career for you.
Continue reading to discover how you can become a certified public accountant CPA starting today!
Figure Out Your Goals & Passions
The first step in becoming a certified public accountant CPA is to identify your goals and passions.
When you are in high school or considering going to college, you should be thinking about what you enjoy learning about. Many people who review certified public accountant guides become overwhelmed. Especially if they don’t have a passion for numbers and management.
You can take career aptitude tests to determine if CPA is the right career path for you or try taking accounting classes to see what they are like. Don’t rush the process of identifying your goals, as they will help motivate you through your education.
Apply to a School
Once you have decided to follow a CPA career path, you can begin applying to colleges and universities.
Depending on your financial situation, it might be best to start at a community college and then transfer to a 4-year degree university. The application process is typically done a year in advance of when you want to start and there is often an application fee.
Write down a list of schools that have good accounting programs. You should consider applying to at least 3-5 schools so that you have a selection to choose from. Not all of these schools may accept you, which is another reason to give yourself options.
Work Through Your Courseload
One of the best certified public accountant tips to follow is to pay attention in school.
While you are obtaining your degree, you will be exposed to a lot of information about your field. You will learn about the advantages and struggles of people who follow the CPA major, along with details about how to be successful.
The more that you pay attention and study, the easier it will be when you have to pass your CPA exam. Many people say that the CPA exam is as intensive as the BAR exam, so take it seriously during your courses.
By talking to professors and utilizing their office hours, you can develop a better understanding of concepts and get good grades.
If you have the opportunity, it is a good idea to start gaining accounting experience while obtaining your CPA degree.
You can gain relevant experience in the accounting field by volunteering at companies during tax season. Another way to gain experience is to do shadow work or networking. Most college programs have upcoming conferences where you can meet professionals in the field and get advice from them.
Those that are limited to accounting firm opportunities can focus on transferrable skills.
Working at a bank or any job that handles money can help you gain experience that is relevant to a CPA. Management and consulting jobs are also good to have. This is because you obtain the necessary skills to become a successful certified public accountant.
Get an Internship
While you are finishing up your degree, you should speak with the head of your department about internship opportunities.
Internships can be paid or unpaid, but are a great way to prepare you for the field. As a CPA intern, you will be able to focus on research and preparing financial reports. You will also help with reconciling accounts and taking care of taxes for individuals and businesses.
This is a great way to get experience that will closely resemble what you are doing once you graduate.
Take the CPA Exam
Since the beginning of your college education, you should be preparing for the CPA exam.
The CPA exam is administered by the AICPA and consists of 4 separate exams.
Each section will have a time limit of 4 hours to complete. The areas include auditing and attestation and financial accounting and reporting. Along with regulation and business environment and concepts.
To take the exam, you will need to have 150 semester hours of college completed (related to accounting). You will also need a couple of years of accounting experience.
Look for Jobs
If you have passed the CPA exam, it is time to start applying to jobs.
Many people recommend checking out www.taxfyle.com/cpa-jobs for current job postings. This is a great site, along with many others that can find you the job of your dreams. Pay attention to the location of the jobs you are applying for and the requirements that the company is asking about.
Even if you don’t hit all of the qualifications, it is still recommended that you apply. With the shortage of CPAs right now, you might be able to learn some of these skills after getting hired.
Prepare for Interviews
Looking for jobs is easy, but interviewing for them is an entirely different realm of skills and work.
You should have a strong resume at this point and have practiced interview questions. Go online and look up common interview questions so that you don’t get surprised by any when you are talking to interviewers. When interviewing with a company, stay calm and collected to show that you are professional.
Always thank the person(s) who interviews you with a follow-up email. In the email, you can ask further questions or reassure them that you are interested in working at their company.
Become a Certified Public Accountant CPA
If you enjoy working with numbers in an organized manner, you should consider becoming a certified public accountant CPA.
CPAs specialize in accounting for individuals and businesses, depending on who you prefer to work with. The process can take up to 7 years in total, but the salary is worth the commitment. Many people decide that they want to go into accounting when they graduate high school or at the beginning of their college career.
Don’t be afraid to start the process of becoming a CPA, there are many opportunities for hiring right now.
Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about certified public accountants and following your career path!