Jan Jagriti Foundation

Everything you need to know about the CPA Exam

certified public accountant

Other states have a one-tier system whereby an individual would be certified and licensed at the same time when both the CPA exam is passed and the work experience requirement has been met. Eligibility to sit for the Uniform CPA Exam is determined by individual state boards of accountancy. Many states have adopted what is known as the “150 hour rule” , which usually requires an additional year of education past a regular 4-year college degree, or a master’s degree. Some universities offer a 5-year combined bachelor’s/master’s degree program, allowing a student to earn both degrees while receiving the 150 hours needed for exam eligibility.

certified public accountant

what is a cpas are usually called CPA or Accountant but can sometimes be titled with their specialization like “Risk Advisor.” There are often junior and senior level positions for this role. Accounting firms have their own structured hierarchy of positions which almost all require a CPA certification, sp CPAs can also look for those positions. Certified Public Accountants are in high-demand but you’ll still need to put in an effort in networking to land a job in this field. Create a list of specific companies you want to work for and seek out jobs on their website, LinkedIn, and job boards. Connect with people who already work at that company through LinkedIn with a genuine conversation starter, such as questions about how they like working there, what the company culture is like, or anything you’re wondering about them. This will help you get a better idea of who you’re applying to and get you some name recognition and rapport within their organization.

Continuing Education

The AICPA requires that all CPA designation holders adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct, which lays out the ethical standards CPAs must adhere to. That is, they put together, maintain, and review financial statements and related transactions for companies. Those who earn the CPA credential distinguish themselves by signaling dedication, knowledge, and skill. CPAs are involved with accounting tasks such as producing reports that accurately reflect the business dealings of the companies and individuals for which they work.

  • We also serve CPA professionals and applicants to the profession by providing complete information and prompt processing of…
  • The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants® represents AICPA® & CIMA® and works to power opportunity, trust and prosperity for people, businesses and economies worldwide.
  • An aspiring CPA can earn the additional 30 credits by completing a master’s degree or a graduate certificate.
  • “CPAs charge more than regular accountants or tax preparers,” says Jiang.

Accounting.com is committed to delivering content that is objective and actionable. To that end, we have built a network of industry professionals across higher education to review our content and ensure we are providing the most helpful information to our readers. More importantly, as a working professional, you can finish your degree faster at Franklin by transferring qualified prior college credits and/or work experience. Earning the CPA credential is a big time commitment, and the exam process is difficult. Still, those with a CPA earn 25% more, on average, than non-CPA accountants. Candidates have four hours to complete each section, with a total exam time of 16 hours. Each section is taken individually, and candidates can choose the order in which they take them.


Some states also allow unlicensed accountants to work as public accountants. For example, California allows unlicensed accountants to work as public accountants if they work under the control and supervision of a CPA. However, the California Board of Accountancy itself has determined that the terms “accountant” and “accounting” are misleading to members of the public, many of whom believe that a person who uses these terms must be licensed.

CPAs have a wide range of career options available, either in public accounting or corporate accounting , or in government service. Individuals with the CPA designation can also move into executive positions such as controllers or chief financial officers . Additionally, keeping the CPA designation requires completing a specific number of continuing education hours yearly. Other requirements for the CPA designation include having two or more years of public accounting.

CPA Requirements

CPA Jenna Carson, a partner at personal finance website MoneyLucid.com, notes that many CPAs spend at least eight years studying and working before obtaining a license. Once you’ve met all your state’s requirements, you can apply to take the CPA Exam. After earning the CPA designation, you’re most likely more qualified to perform highly-specialized tasks that may be more meaningful or interesting. Earning CPA designation can grant opportunities in nearly every industry. CPAs may represent any taxpayer regarding any tax matter before any IRS office, also known as unlimited practice rights. Let us know what type of degree you’re looking into, and we’ll find a list of the best programs to get you there.

Some may be responsible for handling payroll and reconciling bank accounts. Bookkeepers are important for the accurate recording of financial transactions, which are then analyzed by accountants and CFOs. Your financial situation is unique and the products and services we review may not be right for your circumstances. We do not offer financial advice, advisory or brokerage services, https://www.bookstime.com/ nor do we recommend or advise individuals or to buy or sell particular stocks or securities. Once you’ve located potential CPAs, be sure to confirm their credentials at a site like CPA Verify, a free database that centralizes records from state boards of accountancy. Search for any reviews you can find of CPAs you’re interested in and then set up an introductory meeting.

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