The following article discusses the career path of Certified Public Accountant. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Certified Public Accountants.
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) deal with the accounting, audit processes, and tax reporting of individual clients, corporations, or governments. They have varying duties depending on who they work for. However, they often have to prepare documentation in relation to tax, audit, and finance, review financial information, and stay up to date with regulatory changes. They also often conduct audits and make recommendations to improve record keeping and bookkeeping.
Usually, CPAs will work in an office and their hours are often long. They can work in small or large firms, government organizations, or be self employed. Many specialize in a certain area of finance and accounting, such as valuation, auditing, taxes, or financial planning.
Other duties of a certified public accountant are:
- To ensure all federal and state regulations are complied with
- To interpret data to create financial statements and records
- To ensure that records of financial activities such as taxes, profit and loss, liabilities, and assets are maintained following the generally accepted accounting principles
- To study financial data for the creation of financial reports
Where We Work
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,397,700 accountants and auditors in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals are:
- Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services: 25%
- Government: 8%
- Finance and insurance: 8%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 7%
- Self-employed workers: 7%
How to Become
Each state has its own specific requirements for those wishing to become a CPA. However, a bachelor’s degree plus additional credit hours is always required, which is why most complete a master’s degree. Additionally, they must pass the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants) four part examination, after which they can become a CPA. They must then also meet their state’s individual licensing requirements.
They can file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because they are certified. Becoming a CPA means that they have to complete education beyond their bachelor’s degree and pass the CPA exam. All CPAs have to pass this, which is why most have the master’s degree as this enables them to meet and exceed the 150 semester hours of coursework requirement for the certification examination. The CPA examination is offered by the American Institute for Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). CPA certification must be maintained through continuous education.
CPAs usually start their career at an entry level position and then grow into supervisory roles, becoming managers and eventually even partners. Some start as junior internal auditors or cost accountants, for instance, rising through the organization over time. It is also common for CPAs to move between internal auditing and management accounting so that they get more varied experiences.
A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum requirement, with a major in accounting, finance, or related field.
Those with a master’s degree are usually in higher demand, particularly those with a master in business administration (MBA) with an accountancy concentration.
Other certifications can also be beneficial for someone working as a CPA, including:
– Certified Management Accountant (CMA) offered by the Institute of Management Accountants
– Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) offered by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA)
– Certified in Control Self-Assessment (CCSA) offered by the IIA
– Certified Government Auditing Professional (CGAP) offered by the IIA
– Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA) offered by the IIA
– Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) offered by the IIA
– Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) offered by ISACA
– CPA Accredited in Business Valuation (ABV) offered by AICPA
– CPA Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP) offered by AICPA
– CPA Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) offered by AICPA
Traits & Qualities
The most effective CPAs have the following traits to some degree or other:
– Strong analytical skills
– Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
– Detail oriented
– Excellent mathematical skills
– Strong organizational skills
The national average salary estimate for Certified Public Accountant was $82,242. This number is estimated from over 1,705,536 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $42.83 and monthly of $6,854.
- Most Reported
Salary by State
The following section lists Certified Public Accountant salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, Michigan had the largest quoted salary of $102,691 while South Dakota had the smallest quoted salary of $50,856.
Top 20 National Employers
According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Certified Public Accountant. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.
|Employer Name||Location||Average Salary|
|VLPLUS Certified Public Accountant||New York||$200,000|
|Six X Four Companies Certified Public Accountant||Florida||$200,000|
|Harper Associates Certified Public Accountant||Michigan||$182,203|
|WLA Executive Search Certified Public Accountant||Kansas||$164,322|
|ALC Staffing Associates Certified Public Accountant||Connecticut||$162,478|
|The Walker Group Certified Public Accountant||Florida||$150,000|
|Kforce Finance and Accounting Certified Public Accountant||New Jersey||$146,391|
|The Forum Group Certified Public Accountant||New York||$134,751|
|DeBellis, Catherine & Morreale Certified Public Accountant||New York||$134,174|
|Daley And Associates, LLC Certified Public Accountant||Massachusetts||$131,402|
|Laurus Group Certified Public Accountant||Pennsylvania||$130,681|
|Global Interworks Certified Public Accountant||Missouri||$130,000|
|Providence Partners and Associates Certified Public Accountant||Texas||$130,000|
|Placement Valley Certified Public Accountant||New Jersey||$130,000|
|Clark Davis Associates Certified Public Accountant||New Jersey||$129,904|
|Harhswal & co. LLP Certified Public Accountant||New Mexico||$125,000|
|Marcum Search LLC Certified Public Accountant||New Jersey||$124,888|
- California Board of Accountancy – Official Site
- Board > Home – Accountancy Board of Ohio
- Board of Public Accountancy | Mass.gov
- Salary Outlook with MBA Finance vs Accounting
- Salary Outlook with an Accounting Degree
- Online Accounting MBA Degree Programs
|Career Name||Average Salary|
|Business Systems Analyst||$82,655|
|Senior Business Advisor||$82,555|
|Labor Relations Specialist||$81,212|