4 Steps You Need to Take When Thinking About Becoming an Accountant

Jun 21, 2019 by

The decision to go into the accounting field is one that will offer the candidate an amazing level of job security. Nearly every business around the world, nonprofits, and government agencies as well, use the services of accountants for tax and payroll purposes. Natural candidates for the position are those that enjoyed math and data projects in high school and have the determination to complete their education. Here are the four steps needed to prepare for an accounting career.

Step One: Earn a Degree

An associate degree in accounting is suitable for those that want to work as a basic accountant or to find a position as a bookkeeper. To become a CPA, the student needs to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Make certain the program chosen is with an accredited school and offers an adequate number of hours.

Competitive individuals will want to continue their education to receive their master’s degree. Employers typically prefer CPA’s with advanced degrees for their upper management positions. However, it is possible for anyone with the ability and the ambition to reach the pinnacle of their industry with a bachelor’s degree.

Step Two: Choose a Direction

Accounting majors need to decide on the direction they hope to take their career. The main decision is if they wish to become a public accountant or a private accountant. Public accountants work for financial companies that offer accounting services to other businesses or to individuals. Private accountants work as a staff accountant for an organization.

The difference is not only about what each requires for a degree. The direction can determine the work hours, the income range, and more. Students need to decide their path while still working towards a degree to enable them to take the courses beneficial to their future goals.

Step Three: Prepare for Exam

Only people with extensive knowledge pass their CPA exams. Candidates take exams broken into four parts that cover all the responsibilities a CPA could have in their career. Testing takes place quarterly and for the first two months of each quarter. To pass, the individual must pass all four parts within 18 months, or they must start over. The average fail rates prove it is not a simple test. The highest pass rates in the United States occur in Utah, according to NASBA (The National Association of State Boards of Accountancy), and are around 62 percent.

Most accounting candidates do not want to delay their entrance into the working world. The ability to pass the exam on the first try on each part takes extensive preparation. Many receive the preparation through CPA review courses. The program allows people to take the courses at their own pace and have a thorough idea of what to expect when exam time arrives.

Step Four: Pass the Exam

Candidates must prove their eligibility to the state board before they can take the CPA exam. After the individual receives authorization, they will schedule their test date. Test takers must have a passing grade of at least 75 to move from one section to the next. The questions in each section come in the form of smaller tests that vary in the value of how much they affect the final grade. It is not a matter of just answering correctly a certain number of times.

A CPA certification is proof of the dedication and hard work the individual put towards their education. Employers appreciate that level of effort and reward their employees with careers that have endless opportunities for improvement. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the need for CPAs to outpace other occupations, so it is a potentially profitable option for the right candidates.

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