Certified public accountants are some of the most sought after jobs in the United States. CPA is a prestigious title that pays well and lets you choose a career with just about any type of corporation imaginable. The pros far outweigh the cons when it comes to becoming a CPA unless of course you just hate numbers, in which case this job might not be for you. While it takes intense commitment, a lot of time and a decent amount of smarts to get certified, the end definitely justifies the means. Let’s look a little deeper at what exactly CPAs do and why this can be such a rewarding field to get into.

What they do

CPAs assist anyone from individuals to governments or multi-national corporations with their finances. As a CPA, your job will be to keep your company financially secure by tracking records, helping with tax preparation as well as making sure your company is meeting all federal regulations. CPAs know the laws of the land – not only the ones that can hurt the company but the ones that can save it thousands of dollars.


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After becoming certified, your career can take a multitude of different paths. Many people assume CPAs do nothing more than help during tax season – but this could not be further from the truth. As a public accountant, you could end up working in public accounting or in a more corporate business setting. These areas could lead into any of a number of cool jobs, from environmental account management to information technology positions that combine your knowledge of computer systems with your prowess at accounting. Another interesting job for the ambitious is forensic accounting, where you can trace the money trail, or look for evidence of fraudulent actions like money laundering.

What you should know

You generally just can’t show up and apply to be a CPA. You should have a college degree in accounting or finance and then you will have to pass the dreaded CPA exam if you want to earn the real money. If you plan on passing this test, pay for the review course. They aren’t cheap, but the benefits you get are going to outweigh the costs and time needed to take the test a second time. Different areas of the country have varying requirements for passing the exam, including hours spent in either accounting or business instructional settings. Check with your local CPA exam jurisdiction to make sure you are all checked off.  It’s a long and arduous process, but when you finally get to take the exam you should already be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

Why it’s worth it

Aside from the endless possibilities of interesting job positions for virtually any important company or government in the world, the monetary benefits of a career as a CPA are monumental. The median salary in the US for CPAs is around $73,000 and often times approaches or even exceeds six figures. Generally, the bigger the city, the higher the pay for CPAs. Being certified also makes you much less likely to be unemployed in comparison with individuals of other specialties, and this trend should only get better as more and more companies are expected to need CPAs over the coming decade.

CPAs can find jobs in any area of the country whether you want to work for a prestigious company like Wallace & Associates APC or a small internet startup, the jobs are there if you know where to look.

CPAs are listed as one of the best jobs in America, and probably for good reason. It is a rewarding and challenging career for most, with so many possibilities to grow and learn.