Still on the fence about whether or not you should take the CPA Exam? Be ambivalent no more! Although the CPA Exam has gained fame as one of the toughest exams to take, trust us; there’s a method behind the madness. Here’s how receiving your CPA designation will help boost your career to the next level (and why everyone’s doing it!).
If you have ever dreamt of being able to travel the world for work, the CPA designation is for you. Even though we are still in a pandemic, eventually, global mobility will become important once again within the accounting profession. Overseas businesses will resume wanting to work with U.S. CPAs. So, CPAs will have the opportunity to work and live abroad anywhere from days to years at a time. In addition, because you have a CPA license, your clients will have the confidence to let you work from anywhere in the world.
Whether you are set up for multiple contracts in multiple countries, cities, or states, most CPAs who express their interest to travel usually get the chance to do so. What better way to see the world than with a designation that is highly valued across the globe and is always in high demand? And, if at any point you decide that you have had enough of the sight-seeing and culture-diving, your experience of being well-traveled will stand out on your resume, letting your future employers know that you are well-rounded with a great diverse perspective. This will give you a large advantage over those competing for the same positions as you.
Plus, it kind of makes for an awesome conversation starter in any situation: So, when I used to work and live in Tokyo…
While you do not need a degree to get a start in accounting, you do need a bachelor’s degree if you’re looking to go into Management Accounting. As a first-year cost accountant at a large company, you can expect a salary range between $43,000-$53,750, while a controller for a smaller company could earn anywhere between $71,500 and $99,750. Without a CPA designation, most accounting positions cap off at this range.
But if you are looking to skip ahead and take it a step further into public accounting and beyond, a CPA is recommended. Starting off as a staff accountant or auditor, CPAs can work their way up to senior auditor with promotions and thereafter from manager to senior manager. In bigger firms, CPAs can become partners in 10-13 years. For mid-sized firms, the beginning salary for first-year auditors ranges from $52,750-$64,750 with a managerial advancement ranging from $91,000-$126,500.
Although the above types of promotions are common in public accounting firms, there are of course plenty of other areas of accounting where promotions can begin as soon as 1-2 years with the advancement in different financial positions. These include becoming company executives, budget directors, controllers, chief financial officers, or presidents of a corporation or business. Those with a CPA license will have the best prospects of growing into a career path with better salaries, choice of tasks, and opportunities to contribute to the financial integrity of both public and private sectors.
Some people are under the impression that to be a CPA means to work for public accounting firms where the stress levels are high, and the sleep levels are low. But that does not have to be the case. In fact, one of the greatest advantages of having your designation is being able to dip your toes into any industry you would prefer. Because CPAs are in high demand, they do not only have job security, but they also have better opportunities in small, medium, or large, public, or private, profit or non-profit businesses that are looking for CPAs to inhabit their financial directing, maintenance, and controlling roles. You do not have to be constricted to a suit and tie every day of the week.
If you were a kid who has ever dreamt of being an astronaut or working alongside models in the fashion industry, you can still certainly become involved in these things to some capacity as a CPA. Although you will not be the one blasting off into space or the designer the model wears down the runway, every sector of business needs some type of financial advisement, management, and overall help. Being a part of such companies allows you to be enveloped in that atmosphere and industry, surrounded by people and projects that do all sorts of interesting, innovative, and amazing things that add to our lifestyles and cultures every day.
Another great option that many CPAs do not consider is going into education. If you have a firm understanding of all those accounting and business concepts that were taught in school as well as on your CPA Exam review (and you enjoy wielding power in the classroom), teaching could be a great and rewarding option for you to help future candidates receive their CPAs.
If you explore and have experience in different industries, you’ll definitely gain recognition for your diverse work history and can become a valuable asset to your next employer.
Memberships to Professional Organizations
Memberships in professional organizations will boost your career. Being actively involved in any professional organization is what many employers are looking for. Because these organizations require adherence to technical and professional standards, it ensures that the quality of CPAs’ services is reliable and top-notch. Think of your involvement in an organization as an ethical track record that ascribes to what your resume cannot show, such as your personality traits, your interests, the areas you’d like to or already have made an impact in, etc.
In a sea of CPAs, your involvement may be just the thing that makes you stand out above the rest not just for employment considerations, but promotional ones too!
So, the question isn’t whether you can afford to become a CPA, but rather can you afford not to?