To become an accountant, you will require to have formal certification, advanced education, and a form of commitment to learning this trade. These are the top secrets that anyone who wants to learn how to become an accountant should take into consideration. You should ask yourself whether you have the necessary skills that a person requires to become an accountant or CPA. You could be asking yourself whether you can begin a successful accounting career after being in college for four years or you have to earn a master's degree. Do you have to search for a big firm or corporation or can you be better off on your own? All these are questions that people who want to learn how to become an account ask themselves day and night. There is a high possibility that you have never gotten someone to give you the right answers to your questions. This article is here to make sure that you have the right knowledge on how to become an accountant. The guide will not leave any stone unturned for anyone who has an interest in this career. We will define the job description of a typical accountant, how to earn an accounting degree, and the steps you need to take to become an accountant.
1. Earn a Degree in Accounting
Even though this is not the most, most accounting professionals will attend college to earn a bachelor’s degree in the field. Having a bachelor's degree in accounting or any other related field is considered to be the minimum educational requirement for anyone who wishes to become a CPA. We have States that need advanced coursework beyond the accounting bachelor’s degree like auditing, taxes, financial reporting, and some non-accounting business areas. Most states require 150 credit hours in accounts and other related areas. If your interest is to become an accountant, check the specific academic expectations that you need to have in your jurisdiction. Most of the CPAs also proceed with their post-secondary education to earn themselves a master's degree.
Accounting degree programs are popular and you can readily find them in several universities and colleges in the region. You can also access some of them through distance learning. As a prospective student, you have to confirm that the course has full accreditation before you enroll to study.
2. Pick a Speciality
Virtually all CPAs and accountants specialize in one or multiple areas of practice. The two general specialization areas are business or corporate accounting and public accounting. There are also several sub-specializations such as taxes, managerial accounting, internal auditing, and environmental accounting among others. The specialty that you choose should often coincide with the accounting degree that you hold.
3. Decide Between CPA and Accounting
There is a big difference between a Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and an accountant. Accountants are also referred to as public accountants and are persons who businesses hire to work in their accounting departments but don’t have several professional qualifications like CPA. For instance, accountants may not have state licensure or certification. Accountants perform certain limited duties like the preparation of financial statements. These professionals can also prepare tax returns as long as they have passed the right IRS test or have a Preparer Tax Identification Number. However, accountants may not review financial statements or conduct audits.
On the contrary, CPAs have to meet several specific requirements comprising of earning a college degree and passing all the sections of the CPA exams and working for a particular number of hours under the supervision of a fully licensed CPA professional. CPAs can perform all the tasks that accountants do in addition to reviewing statements, audits, and representing customers before the IRS.
While determining the kind of accounting career to pursue, you should honestly evaluate your goals and willingness to invest in the right amount of effort and time that you need to become a CPA.
4. Pass the CPA Exam
In all states, all CPA candidates must pass the four sections of the CPA exam. The four parts include Business environment and concepts; Regulation; Financial Accounting and Reporting; and Audit and Attestation. CPA exams are offered in the first two months or every quarter and typically runs for several days. The student can take any part of the test in order that he prefers but after passing one part, you can proceed to the next part within eighteen months. The exams have a high level of difficulty and a deep breath of the subject matter. Most candidates prefer to enroll for private CPA test preparation classes.
5. Get an Entry-Level Job
Before graduating, it is good to look for an accounting internship job or look for the best way of getting some experience to build up your resume. Take the relevant steps in creating your resume including signing up at various career-focused media platforms like LinkedIn. When the right time comes to apply for an entry-level accounting job, you will be ready to hit the ground running. Sites such as LinkedIn have excellent job postings and you can apply for some of these jobs on the site directly. You can also check the job listing of your school and watch out for the available networking opportunities. Visit both international and local job search sites to see whether you can get something. Also, check for sites that are specifically created for new graduates.
6. Look for Continuing Job Opportunities
After landing your first job, it can be tempting to sit back as you enjoy the ride after working hard in college. However, this is the right time to start thinking about the next moves you will require to move up the career ladder. You can boost your career climbing by earning a master's degree in accounting or a certification in an accounting specialization. If you have not earned your CPA, you may have to consider it down the road. These tips will walk you through the journey on how to become an accountant.