15 Mar How Do You Become a Certified Public Accountant?
A Brief Look at Becoming a Certified Public Accountant
Unless you’re a certified public accountant, you might not really appreciate just how much work goes into becoming one. As with most finance-based professions, becoming a certified public accounting is a long, often daunting process that requires a dedication to education and a real drive to succeed.
At Jeff Pickering, CPA, we understand this drive and offer our team the opportunity to further their education and achieve certifications. To help our clients better understand the work that goes into providing our extensive services, we’re taking a brief look at what it takes to become a certified public accountant in this blog.
An Education in Accounting
In order to get onto the path towards becoming a CPA, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. This means completing at least 150 hours of study in order to later get a license. When looking for a school that offers accounting degrees, it’s useful to keep in mind that some will offer a combined bachelor’s and master’s course.
While this will be longer and more intensive, it will give you a better head start. The reason why having at least an undergraduate degree in accounting is so important is because these courses will teach you the essentials, from accounting theory to cost accounting.
Do I Need a Graduate Degree?
As mentioned above, some colleges and universities will offer combined courses that lead from BA to MA level. However, if you have already completed an undergraduate degree in accounting, it might be worth considering getting a graduate or postgraduate degree. While it may not be essential to becoming a certified public accountant, it will give you a more advanced understanding of the work involved – as well as an increased chance of employment.
Real World Work Experience
Whether you complete both a bachelor’s and master’s, or just a bachelor’s degree, getting real experience is essential. The certification for actually becoming a certified public accountant is a separate process from your education, and you are usually required to have at least two years of relevant work experience.
Many accounting firms, like Jeff Pickering, CPA, will offer opportunities to work and continue education to get certification. Otherwise, working in the accounting department of a larger company can also count towards this important experience.
CPA Qualifications and Ongoing Education
Once you have the necessary education and experience, you’ll need to take the certification exams. These exams are designed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and every candidate must complete all four in order to become a CPA. The exams test everything from what you would have learned during education, to more complicated and detailed topics that experience will equip you for.
Upon successfully completing these exams and becoming a certified public accountant, you will always be expected to keep your education up to date. Tax and financial regulations are always changing, and a CPA must always be on top of new developments.
Contact a Certified Public Accountant
If you’re looking for professional help, advice, and guidance for tax preparation for your business or personal finances, we can help. With the knowledge and experience outlined above, Jeff Pickering, CPA can organize and streamline your financial processes, making sure your budget is in place and that all your finances are in order. Take a look at the full range of accounting services we offer, or contact our accounting firm today.