CPA Career Options

CPA Career Paths

As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), you will have a lot of career options. You can choose your accounting specialty and even be picky about the industry. As a license granted by state boards, the CPA certification is a career choice, but it is certainly not a limited one. In fact, you have more CPA career options than ever before, so learn all about them to discover the career that appeals to you.

What Do CPAs Do?

A CPA is an accountant, and the primary duty of an accountant may be to prepare and correct financial records. In addition, CPAs also may prepare tax returns, align companies’ financial statements with state and federal laws, report any findings to management, recommend ways to decrease costs and increase income, and provide sound financial advice to private clients.

According to the AICPA, a CPA is a trusted financial advisor who helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their financial goals. Those goals can involve saving for retirement, expanding a business, or completing a multi-billion dollar merger, and a CPA can do it all.

No matter where they work, CPAs can offer financial advice, manage money, handle taxes, supply information, interpret data, make decisions, lead projects, and plan for the future. CPAs provide the insight individuals and companies need to determine when to invest more capital, take the steps to grow or downsize, or adjust processes in order to comply with current laws.

Along with a solid grasp of accounting and its associated tasks, CPAs also possess the following:

  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Analytical and research skills
  • Personal skills
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Strong communication abilities
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Familiarity with emerging technologies
  • Focus on the market and client
  • High ethical standards
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Project management skills
  • Keen business sense
  • Awareness of current events
  • Constant desire to learn

Where Do CPAs Work?

CPAs can work for companies ranging from small, local businesses to massive, international corporations. Just about every company in the world needs financial services, so the sky’s the limit when it comes to where you can land your dream job. Here’s just a sampling of the industries in which you could find yourself as a CPA:

  • Aerospace
  • Business
  • Commercial banking
  • Construction
  • Education
  • Energy
  • Environment
  • Government
  • Healthcare
  • Information and management technology
  • Internal auditing
  • Law
  • Law enforcement
  • Manufacturing
  • Media and entertainment
  • Non-profit
  • Real estate
  • Restaurant
  • Retail
  • Savings and loan
  • Service
  • Sports

Within these industries, CPAs can have all kinds of jobs. Their positions may fall within the following departments:

  • Auditing
  • Business valuation
  • Compliance
  • Corporate accounting
  • Corporate finance
  • Corporate governance
  • Due diligence
  • Financial accounting and reporting
  • Financial advisory
  • Financial analysis
  • Financial forensics
  • Forensic accounting and restructuring
  • Fund accounting
  • Information technology
  • IT auditing
  • IT consulting
  • Internal Auditing
  • Management accounting
  • Management consulting
  • Personal financial planning
  • Private accounting
  • Public accounting
  • State and Local Taxation
  • Tax accounting
  • Treasury/cash management

What Positions Do CPAs Hold?

All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. As the CPA designation demonstrates your knowledge, skill, education, and experience in accounting, it qualifies you for a greater number of career possibilities. As a CPA, your official title could be

  • Accountant
  • Accounting Information Systems Auditor
  • Accounting Manager
  • Accounting Professor
  • Audit Manager
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • Corporate Accountant
  • Corporate Controller
  • Corporate Entertainment Accountant
  • External Auditor
  • Financial Accountant
  • Financial Analyst
  • Financial Controller
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Fund Accountant
  • Governmental Accountant
  • Internal Auditor
  • Investment Service Advisor
  • IT Auditor
  • Managerial Accountant
  • Partner
  • Personal Financial Advisor
  • Research Professor
  • Senior Accountant
  • Staff Accountant
  • Tax Accountant
  • Tax Advisor
  • Tax Manager
  • Tax Professional

How Do I Become a CPA?

To earn this prestigious and flexible certification, you must meet the CPA requirements known as the “4 Es”:

  • Examination: you must pass all four sections of the CPA Exam
  • Education: you must earn 150 credit hours
  • Experience: you must have at least 2 years of public accounting experience
  • Ethics: you must pass your state board’s ethics exam

While the specifics vary per board, the majority of state boards hold to these requirements.

How Do I Prepare for the CPA Exam?

Every state board that grants CPA licensure requires candidates to pass the CPA Exam. Most state boards also expect you to finish 120 credit hours (the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree) in order to sit for the exam. After you’ve acquired the credit hours you need to take the CPA Exam, you must apply to a state board, schedule a testing appointment, and begin to study with a CPA review course. The right course for you should detect your strengths and weaknesses, adapt to your learning preferences, offer complete CPA Exam blueprints coverage, and provide on-demand analytics about your progress. With our innovative SmartAdaptTM technology, Gleim CPA Review does all this and more. No other course on the market features a review platform developed by CPAs specifically for CPA candidates like you. Therefore, Gleim CPA Review prepares you to pass better than any other course. Discover just how efficiently and effectively you can study by accessing our free CPA course demo today.