What You Should Know About the CPA
Pursuing a career of a certified public accountant requires the candidates to pass the CPA exam and meet some other criterion to obtain the relevant industry credential. Although it may seem like too much work, this career is worth it: this job is always in demand, and usually comes with an excellent salary. To be legally eligible to start your CPA practice, you need to obtain your CPA certification from the state where you intend to work.
CPA test information can be found in many different locations and areas. If you would like to learn more about the tests required for the CPA and what you need to do to receive your own CPA certification or even how you can take a CPA practice exam, then you may want to look at various organizations within your area. You can find out when the CPA exam is being held, how you can register and sign up to take your own.
A CPA degree will allow you to work as a qualified accountant within the United States. You must pass the Uniform Certified Public Account Examination and have also met additional state education and experience requirements to become a CPA in your state.
Study for the CPA
CPA self study is often an option but ultimately, you will have to take the standard CPA exam with the uniform CPA exam material and have the other qualifications to become licensed within your state. In most U.S. states, only CPAs who are licensed are able to provide to the public attestation opinions on financial statements. There are some exceptions to this rule, which applies in the states of Arizona, Kansas, North Carolina and Wyoming, where although the "CPA" designation is restricted, the practice of auditing is not.
CPA exam simulations are a good way to prepare yourself for the CPA exam. You can practice with pressure like the real thing and it also gives you opportunity to see what will be on the exam and what you will be required to know. There are also many books you can read and online sites that can help you study and prepare for the CPA exam. You may even be able to find study groups of other people in your area that are going up for the CPA exam that you can prepare with.
CPA Exam Preparation
CPA exam preparation is very important if you want to excel at your exam and be sure to pass. Depending on your state, there may be lower tiers of accountant qualifications under CPA. For example, there may be PA (public accountant) or some other option that falls in the same related field. You do not want to go up to the CPA exam and then fail so you will want to be sure you are prepared to pass it your first go round. If you do not, you may have to wait for a later date to retake the test which will hold you back from certification and from practicing in your state as a licensed public accountant.
Many states prohibit the use of the designations "Certified Public Accountant" or "Public Accountant" (or the abbreviations) by a person who is not certified as a CPA or PA in that state so be sure you have become certified before you claim to use the title. In many circumstances, an out-of-state CPA is restricted from using the CPA designation or letters until a license or certificate from that state is obtained. This means that if you live in one state and practice as a CPA and then move to another state, you may be required to regain your certification in that new state before you are allowed to claim yourself as a CPA.
How to Become a CPA
So what exactly do you have to do to become a CPA? In the United States, you need to sit for and pass the Uniformed Public Accountant Examination or Uniform CPA Exam, which is given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. This CPA exam is administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy.
What kind of eligibility requirements do you need to become a CPA? It can vary from state to state but usually they require is to have a Bachelors degree in accounting and at least one additional year of study in your field. This often referred to as the 150 hour rule and it is used by most state boards across the United States today. There are some states that have exceptions but this is the general rule. To find out the requirements for your state, contact your State Board of Accountancy.
What if you live outside of the United States and you want to become a CPA? There are certain qualifications that you must meet but you can check to see if you are eligible for the International Qualification Examination to take as an alternative to the Uniform CPA exam.
What are the State Requirements?
State requirements for the CPA qualification are generally summed up with the "Three E's" - Education, Examination and Experience. To find out the specific rules and eligibility requirements of your state, or a state that you plan to move to soon, you will need to contact that state's Board and talk with them.
What Does a CPA Do?
There are different services that a CPA can provide either to the public directly or when employed by associates and businesses. Regardless of which way you work, you can work in a variety of different financial fields such as:
- Audit, Assurance and Information Integrity
- Financial Accounting
- Management Consulting and Performance Management
- Information Technology, especially as applied to accounting and auditing
- Corporate Finance (Merger & Acquisition, initial public offerings, share & debt issuing)
- Financial Planning
- Financial Analysis
- Venture Capital
- Forensic Accounting (preventing, detecting, and investigating financial frauds)
- Tax Preparation and Planning
- Corporate Governance
When you take and pass your CPA exam, you will be fully ready to pursue any of these means of finance and accounting works.