Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Career Field

Certified Public AccountantCareer Overview

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the most common license thought of when thinking of the accounting and auditing career field. Accountants and auditors are the financial reporters of the business world. It is their job to ensure that businesses and organizations have accurate financial and public records. They also help to ensure that businesses pay their taxes on time and file accurate and correct tax forms. Accountants and auditors can also spend their time analyzing and communicating financial information to different departments and groups including clients, companies, and federal and state agencies. They may also assist their clients in financial planning, investment planning, and budgeting.

Education Requirements

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or a Financial Field
Master’s Degree in Accounting/Master’s Degree in Business Administration

Most accountants have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related financial field. It is becoming more and more popular for firms and companies to hire accountants with a master’s degree in accounting or a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting.


Tax Preparation
Ethics and Finance Law
Financial Planning
Reporting and Analysis Tools
Financial Reporting Computer Software

Licensing Requirements and Certifications

The Most common professional license and certification accountants obtain is their CPA (Certified Public Accounting) license. Any accountant filing reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s must have their CPA license. It’s required by law.  Most states require CPA’s to complete at least 150 semester hours of college coursework in an accredited accounting program. Of this, 30 hours must be graduate work beyond a bachelor’s degree. Applicants must also pass a national accounting exam to become a CPA. It’s important for perspective accountants to know the CPA requirements for the state they wish to work in.

There are also professional certifications available to accountants. To obtain these professional accounting certifications, applicants must often pass examinations in the accounting field, have years of experience working in particular areas of the accounting industry, and complete continuing education requirements in the accounting field on a regular basis.

School Recommendations

University of Texas, Austin
Brigham Young University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Pennsylvania
University of Southern California

Employment Trends

Jobs Available for Accountants & Auditors in 2008: 1,290,600
Projected job openings for Accountants & Auditors through 2018: 1,570,000
Average Annual Salaries for Accountants & Auditors in 2008: $59,430

Related Jobs

Budget analysts
Bookkeeping and auditing clerks
Cost estimators
Financial analysts
Loan officers
Personal financial advisors
Tax examiners, collectors, and revenue agents

Article Reference: Bureau of Labor Statistics





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