Accountancy is a very attractive career prospect for those with great numerical aptitude and a love of problem-solving. Newly-qualified accountants with a relative degree can expect to earn around $50,000; but you can increase those earnings to $73,000 with a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) license. CPAs on top salaries can eventually make up to $124,000.
Accountants prepare and examine financial documents, ensuring that they are accurate and that all debts and taxes are paid when they should be. They are relied upon in business to ensure the effective running of the business and that it functions within its financial limits.
Here is the typical education and career trajectory of a top accountant – if you’re considering following in similar footsteps, read on to find out how!
⦁ Earn a Degree
But, not just any degree. Of course, Accounting is the obvious choice; but don’t panic if you decided to keep your options open with your degree and went for a broader subject. Finance, math, business studies or related subjects can be accepted as a route into accountancy, especially if you achieved top grades.
⦁ Select a Speciality
Most accountants specialize in a specific area of accounting: like the public, corporate, or business accounting. There are also more niche routes to investigate when deciding on a specialism like environmental, forensic, investment, internal auditing, and more.
⦁ Accountant vs CPA
At this point, you’ll need to decide to become an accountant or a CPA – there is a difference!
Accountants prepare financial statements and tax returns but cannot audit or conduct reviews. They may take further exams to expand their skills and abilities but are not qualified to do all that CPAs can.
A CPA is qualified to a higher level and can, therefore, command a higher salary. They have passed several exams and worked under a senior licensed CPA for a set number of hours to gain appropriate experience – usually around 1800 hours. These well-practiced and licensed individuals, therefore, have more authority and knowledge to undertake more complex accounting business.
Most CPA exams are split into four parts, which are:
⦁ Auditing and attestation
⦁ Financial accounting and reporting
⦁ Business environment and concepts
These are offered on a flexible basis over a period of 18 months: you may take the parts of the exams in whichever order you wish. (Don’t leave the ones you find the hardest until last!)
Become a licensed CPA by enrolling on a course with Yaeger CPA Review, who package all exams and tuition into several different courses to choose from.
⦁ Get an Internship
It’s advised that you undertake an internship or work experience either during your studies or afterward, prior to looking for a permanent job. As with any industry, it’s become imperative for employers to know that you not only have the knowledge and skills necessary but can apply them in practice.
⦁ Find a Graduate Job
Once you’ve aced all your exams and gotten some real-life experience in accounting or the financial sector, you’re ready to track down your first entry-level job. Create a resume, network, join LinkedIn, call up companies – explore all avenues, and prepare to start in a low position within a small company. This is a good starting point to prove yourself in the industry before large companies will consider taking you on.
⦁ Look Out for Further Educational Opportunities
After landing your first job, taking a well-deserved break from education to focus on your career is tempting – but diving straight back in is a good idea to keep up momentum and show that you’re always willing to learn and improve. Now is the time to start planning your next move, and how you’re going to get there. There is always further training available, whether through your job or an external organization. Earning another certification or a master’s degree will increase your earning potential and help you climb further and faster up your chosen career ladder.
Will is the Executive Managing Editor at Feedster. Will and his team from Content HOW work with venture capital, marketing co-ops, and companies to attract and gain qualified leads.
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