Choosing a CPA Career Path in Academia


When most people think of accounting positions, they think of public or private. The accounting world isn’t nearly so limited, though. One often overlooked option is a CPA career path in academia. While different from traditional accounting positions in a number of ways, it has its own appeal and rewards.

What Accounting in Academia Entails

As an accounting professor, a CPA would be a member of the faculty at a business college, professional school of accounting, graduate business school, or community college. Job responsibilities would include teaching courses in all areas of accounting, including financial accounting, taxes, auditing, professional ethics, managerial accounting, and more. Professors are also often expected to continue their own research and education and to pursue publication, giving ample opportunity for self-improvement and personal success through the publishing of papers, books, and lecturing.

Why Choose a Career Path in Academia

There are many reasons for CPAs to consider careers in academia. Data shows that there is great demand for accounting faculty and with the average age of current faculty being 60, these tenured professors will soon be up for retirement, leaving their positions to be filled. While professors are in short supply, demand for accountants is very high, so there is little chance those positions would be tenuous ones.

A career as an accounting professor has other benefits, as well. While traditional accounting jobs can require long hours that fluctuate throughout the year, a professor’s hours are very consistent, with the professor often able to have input into how they would like their schedules to be set up. This allows for more work-life balance, and, particularly for those with families, this can be an appealing feature of an academic career that few other accounting positions can offer.

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In addition to these perks, universities often offer a tenure track that can translate into long-term job stability. With tenure, a person can expect to have a permanent position until they retire of their own will. Retirement income for professors is another draw.  Retirement plans in education are some of the finest out there, and the authority and renown that comes with a position at a reputable university is appealing as well.

There is also an element of giving back in an academic career that is lacking from some accounting jobs. At a time when more and more people are looking for careers that are steady while also providing a sense of personal satisfaction and opportunities for personal growth, the desire to teach and have an impact on students’ lives motivates many to pursue careers in academia.

Lastly, transitioning to academia after a period of time in public or private accounting can be a welcome breath of fresh air. Time spent in the public sphere can offer great information and perspective for an accounting professor that can be shared to benefit their students.  Whatever path you make for yourself in accounting, let UWorld get you off to the best start. UWorld Roger CPA’s award-winning CPA Review combines time-saving technology with the highest-quality questions available, resulting in the industry’s highest pass rate. Sign up for a free trial today. 

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