Working as a certified public accountant, or CPA, is a great career option for candidates who enjoy working with numbers. CPAs work in accounting departments of companies around the world, and job duties include managing assets, budgeting, performing audits, preparing and analyzing financial reports and managing costs. A CPA plays an important role in protecting the company's financial condition. Those who have interest in this type of career path can work for private or public companies, government agencies and other areas of the business world. CPAs should pay close attention to detail, since they analyze detailed reports and track finances.
CPA Job Education Requirements
In order to qualify for the CPA exam in most states, applicants must complete at least 150 hours of post-secondary education from an accredited college or university. This roughly equates to the amount of education required to obtain a master's degree. Therefore, most CPAs have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting, as well as an MBA or MAC (master of accountancy). After completion of this education, candidates can then take the local CPA exam. Many accountant jobs require that applicants have the CPA license in order to qualify, so most accounting students take the exam after graduation.
CPA Job Market
As regulations around businesses of all sizes continue to increase, CEOs are looking for qualified and experienced CPAs who can stay on top of the changing requirements and ensure their companies meet compliance requirements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that CPA jobs will increase by about 13 percent by 2022, which is a similar growth rate to other positions. However, this number correlates with the economy; accounting jobs increase when economies thrive. Those who are just starting out in the accounting field may have to put in longer work weeks to keep up, as well as during busy season.
CPA Job Salary Information
A CPA might start out in an accountant position, but there are options to move up and advance within companies. Many businesses have an accounting manager who oversees members of the department. There is also an option to become the chief accounting officer, which is a more lucrative job opportunity that comes with more detailed responsibility. The median annual salary for accountants was $63,550 in 2012. Those working in upper level management positions have the potential to earn much higher wages, often in the six-figure range.