Many accountants entering the profession are curious about the benefits of becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) so they can decide if it’s really worth dedicating the time and energy towards pursuing this achievement. The certification process can certainly be rigorous and demanding, but success confers several notable advantages for those working in business or finance. Most states in the US have their own board that oversees the certification of public accountants in their jurisdiction. The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) offers resources regarding certification and directly provides licensing services in Colorado, Georgia and New Hampshire.
The CPA exam requires an advanced education, usually through a combined bachelor’s and master’s program, as well as diligent study and preparation for the exam itself. While these activities are essential for achieving certification, they are also big benefits on their own. The certification process allows both new and experienced accountants to test their abilities, refine their skills and increase their knowledge of the discipline overall. Prospective applicants can learn more about the details of the licensing process through their local state board and visit NASBA’s website for information regarding the uniform CPA exam.
More Employer Demand
There are several factors contributing to the rising demand for CPAs across the job market, so the trend is likely continue into the foreseeable future. Accountants who obtain their CPA earn an average of 10 percent more than non-CPA peers and they have more opportunities for developing their career. Certification is required for many senior and management positions in both private and public sectors. Becoming a CPA can also be a huge boon when job hunting as it showcases professional commitment and helps the applicant stand out from other candidates.
Expanded Job Opportunities
It’s easy to think of accounting as a narrow and limited profession, but that’s very far from the truth for certified professionals. CPAs serve in a variety of roles in all kinds of non-profit organizations, private sector businesses and government agencies. Certification proves qualification for auditing, business strategy, bookkeeping and forensic accounting among many other specialty areas. Becoming certified opens the doors to hundreds of different career paths and is particularly important for international positions.
A much greater degree of professional freedom is another big benefit CPA certification gives accountants. Certified professionals can provide services on their own as consultants or as founding members of a firm. It is an important career step for those who want to leverage their own reputation or personal services. The skills and knowledge required for certification are also very useful for individuals interested in business leadership, so it also serves as a solid foundation and credential for budding entrepreneurs.
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It’s very possible to pursue a full and satisfying career in accounting without becoming certified, but many people who pursue the profession relish the opportunity to expand their horizons and challenge themselves by becoming a CPA. Students of accounting can prepare themselves during their education by scheduling courses that will satisfy current certification requirements and taking internships to gain practical experience. The many benefits of CPA certification for accountants show no signs of abating, so it’s a solid goal for anyone entering the profession.