Why Become a CPA?

why become a cpa

If you’ve decided to pursue a career in accounting, you’ve probably heard about the CPA. The CPA credential is one of the most well known in the industry, and your accounting professor or manager may have already encouraged you to attain the CPA license. Maybe you’re interested in following his or her advice, but you’re still wondering: Why become a CPA? If you’re looking for a few good reasons to secure the CPA, we’ve got some really good ones to share with you.

If you’re eager to learn everything you can about the CPA, access our free CPA Exam Guide.

Contents

  1. What is a CPA?
  2. What Does a CPA Do?
  3. Why Become a CPA?
  4. How to Become a CPA
  5. How to Pass the CPA Exam

What is a CPA?

If you’re still unsure about what a CPA is, it’s understandable that your lack of answers in this area have left you hesitant to sign up for the certification.

The CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is the only licensing qualification in auditing and accounting in the United States of America. Certified Public Accountants are accountants that serve as trusted financial advisors. They help individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their financial goals. Those goals can include investing in a retirement plan, growing a business, or completing a multi-billion dollar merger.

What Does a CPA Do?

The primary responsibility of an accountant is to prepare and correct financial records, but CPAs can also can 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.

CPA career options are almost endless. Job titles that CPAs are capable of capturing include Accounting Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Controller, Internal Auditor, or Partner. No matter the title or place of employment, a CPA can manage money, handle taxes, interpret data, supply information, offer financial advice, make decisions, lead projects, and plan for the future. CPAs do all these things while exemplifying problem-solving abilities, analytical and research skills, keen attention to detail, strong communication abilities, and personal skills.

Why Become a CPA?

A variety of experts in the condition of the accounting and finance industries have confirmed that there are plenty of very impressive reasons to become a CPAThese reasons include the following:

  1. Increased earning potential

According to the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide, hiring trends in accounting and finance continue to favor the job candidate. The guide reported that firms across industries are increasing compensation and “companies frequently offer salaries above market rates even before negotiations with candidates begin.” Some companies are also offering bigger bonuses, more perks, and additional vacation time in order to attract recent college graduates with accounting degrees. The CPA will definitely help you land a much bigger starting salary than you could without it. With the CPA license, you can make 10-15% more than the average salary in public and private accounting. Depending on the type of accounting, the size of the company, and your role within the company, your annual paycheck could add up to totals like these:

Position

Public Accounting

Staff Accountant

$68,000

Senior

$84,250

Manager

$122,500

Director

$158,750

Position

Corporate Accounting

Tax Accountant

$83,000

Senior

$102,250

Manager

$126,250

Controller

$138,250

Certified Financial Officer

$236,500

Position

Auditing

Internal Auditor

$83,000

Senior Auditor

$102,250

Manager

$132,250

Chief Audit Executive

$210,500

Even though technology is steadily revolutionizing the job market, many companies from all kinds of industries continue to rely on experienced financial staff to handle their accounts, and as a CPA, you may be selected for high-level positions with even higher salary ceilings. Technology will only increase the value of the CPA, which will only increase the limits of your earning potential!

  1. Increased benefits and incentives

Companies expect more from you when you have the letters “CPA” behind your name, and with these letters, you can also expect more from them. When you’re a highly-skilled professional (which the CPA affirms), you can anticipate not only a competitive salary but also your choice of equally competitive benefits, incentives, and perks. The majority of companies determine salary increases by merit calculation, and many also determine bonuses by individual and company performance. Therefore, you can take your career advancement into your own hands by earning an accounting certification, and you can reap the rewards of your efforts with a variety of company benefits and incentives.

The most common benefits offered include

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Employee assistance program
  • Reimbursement for tuition/professional certifications
  • Healthcare flexible spending account
  • Dependent-care flexible spending account

The most common incentives include

  • Spot awards for individual or team achievement
  • Profit sharing
  • Retention bonuses
  • Stock options, restricted stock, or performance shares
  • Deferred compensation
  1. Increased career opportunities

The CPA opens up a world of career possibilities. You can work in just about any industry once you get certified: aerospace, business, commercial banking, education, energy, entertainment, government, healthcare, law, media, non-profit, restaurant, sports, and many more. Robert Half reports that hiring is especially strong in the construction, healthcare, non-profit, real estate, and technology sectors.

If you stay within the accounting and finance industry, you’ll see your skills grow and mature substantially. Accounting and finance companies are now placing a greater emphasis on professional development, and for the sake of securing a candidate that is strong in certain skills, organizations are more willing to train for other skills after hiring. Firms are more frequently targeting candidates with technological abilities as well as traditional accounting and finance skills, so you can utilize your current technological skills within your future accounting position. With large companies growing and connecting communities across America and around the world, you can also work almost anywhere. Or, you can use the CPA to achieve ultimate career independence by becoming the boss of your own freshly-opened firm.

  1. Greater job stability

The CPA credential is in high demand. Retiring CPAs are leaving a gap in the market, and higher standards of accounting are putting the pressure on companies to hire more knowledgeable and qualified individuals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 10% increase in demand for accountants, auditors, and financial specialists through 2026. This growth rate is faster than the average for all occupations. In order to retain valued employees who are tempted by the clear path to success they can see elsewhere, companies are offering mentoring programs and making the steps to promotion more evident in their establishments. Many organizations are also making improvements to their corporate cultures. Perks that keep popping up include free snacks, free or subsidized meals, subsidized gym memberships, regular social events, and casual dress codes. When companies are pulling out all the stops to ensure their employees don’t slip away, you can count on your CPA license securing you a position in the company for years to come.

  1. Greater job flexibility

If you like to travel, the CPA can take care of that. With globalization boosting the global economy, you can travel all over the world exploring other cultures while gaining critical career experience. Depending on the company you commit to, you may actually be able to work wherever or whenever you want, as many managers are offering job candidates and employees more scheduling flexibility for the sake of achieving a better work-life balance. Along with flexible work schedules, many firms are also providing compressed workweeks and telecommuting.

  1. Prestige and respect

The CPA is an undeniable demonstration of your commitment to the profession, and people can’t help but respect that. When your peers and colleagues see that you believe in the value of accounting and that you have taken the steps necessary to preserve the integrity of the practice, they’ll allot you a great deal of admiration.

As a CPA, you’ll be charged with protecting the public interest, and taking up that noble cause will place you in an elite group of professionals. A contributing factor to the exclusivity of this group is successfully passing the CPA Exam. Part of the purpose of the CPA Exam is to verify your thorough understanding of professional responsibilities and ethics, so passing it proves that you are capable of applying your accounting knowledge with good judgment.

The CPA Exam is quite the mental beast to conquer, so when you pass it, you’ll possess a great sense of pride. You’ll also prove yourself to be more than just a standard accountant, and in doing so, you’ll earn a reputation for excellence.

How to Become a CPA

As mentioned, one of the CPA requirements is passing all four sections of the CPA Exam. The other requirements are the education, experience, and ethics requirements. The details of these three requirements will differ based on the CPA state board of accountancy you apply to, but completing the Uniform CPA Examination is standard across all jurisdictions.

How to Pass the CPA Exam

As you can see, the effort and cost of obtaining the CPA certification make up for themselves many times over. Now that you have tons of tremendous reasons to become a CPA, start by preparing for the CPA Exam. Equip yourself with everything you need to pass by selecting a CPA review provider with a history of exam success. In 40+ years, Gleim has helped accountants pass over 1 million CPA exams, so we have the knowledge and experience necessary to create CPA review that will prepare you to pass better than anything else. See why Gleim CPA Review is the best choice for exam prep by accessing our free CPA demo today.