You’re already spending an enormous amount of time, money, and energy on your education. Should you really invest even more of those valuable resources in becoming a CPA?
Yes, without a doubt and especially now, according to the US Department of Labor. For starters, the Department’s Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-11 says that accountants in general can expect higher employment prospects for at least the next eight years. But, add to that a professional certification-especially the CPA designation-and you should have the “best prospects” of all.
Besides being “recession-proof,” as leading business publications have called accounting, becoming a CPA promises a host of other advantages beyond the current troubled economy. Throughout your professional life, you can expect superior compensation, career stability, and professional growth as well as an ever-expanding array of intriguing new career options and opportunities.
Not just a job. A highly compensated career.
High demand for CPAs has always meant excellent compensation. Historically, CPA salaries have averaged about 10 percent higher than salaries for non-CPA accountants with comparable responsibilities. Given employment stability and the professional growth potential of CPAs, the long-term earning potential is even more attractive.
For example, corporate controllers average in the range of $80,500 to $180,000 annually. Chief financial officers can earn between $94,250 and $384,000 per year. That could add up to considerable wealth over the course of your career.
Beyond demand and compensation. Limitless possibilities.
Virtually every moneymaking organization in the world-from mom-and-pop storefronts to government agencies to multinational, multi-billion dollar enterprises-require expert public accounting services. After all, every business has to balance and close its books. However, several factors in the business world have coalesced not only to create greater demand for CPAs in traditional roles, but also to open up a new range of interesting, engaging, and exciting career paths and opportunities.
CPAs have always played key roles in ensuring accurate financial recordkeeping, transactions, and reporting. Recent scandals and increasingly stringent regulation, have forced corporations to rely more heavily than ever on CPAs to ensure compliance and internal controls. Not only has this sustained demand for CPAs, but their value to the corporation has also increased and the roles and responsibilities have become more critical to business success.
Greater government scrutiny has also expanded career opportunities in the field of forensic accounting-preventing, detecting, and investigating embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering. Visitors to Becker’s Facebook page have posted observations that the FBI and law enforcement agencies are increasingly looking to CPAs as allies in fighting crime.
On the global business front, the shift to International Financial Reporting Standards will create enormous opportunity for CPAs knowledgeable in international business transactions, foreign trade agreements, and the laws, tax structures, and business practices-and languages-of other nations.
New business models, more complex information, and evolving technology mean CPAs with solid IT skills are needed to design, integrate, and implement advanced software systems. They also serve as consultants to link technology solutions with sound business practices.
Many universities are experiencing a shortage of professors who hold the CPA designation. With a large number of professors nearing retirement age, a career as an academic CPA is becoming an increasingly real and personally rewarding option to consider.
You name it
More than ever, CPAs are seen as professionals who possess the skills and business acumen to lead across virtually all areas of business enterprise. If you envision a career path that extends beyond accounting, the CPA designation can serve as a great foundation and promising starting point. Aim as high as you like. The CFO position isn’t the only spot in the C-suite for experienced CPAs.
Worth the time, money, and effort
In short, all indicators-career stability, excellent compensation, increased mobility, continued career growth opportunities-say investing in becoming a CPA is a smart decision. True, it requires considerably more than completing your undergraduate education. For starters, most states now require CPA candidates to have a minimum of 150 hours of accredited college study. You also must complete the rigorous CPA Exam process.
You have plenty of resources to tap for support along the way, from making the initial decision to preparing for the CPA Exam to managing the application process. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountant’s website www.aicpa.org, offers a wealth of CPA career information. For additional insight into the application process, individual state requirements, and preparing for the exam, visit www.becker.com/cpa.
No doubt about it, becoming a CPA represents a significant investment. Those who have made it say the returns are well worth the effort.
This article was sponsored and written by Becker Professional Education.