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Certified Public Accountant

Summary

Certified Public Accountant or CPA provides accounting services to the public and organizations. They are primarily involved in auditing and attesting procedures. They are very well versed with the accounting principles, business and financial concepts, law, tax, etc. CPAs are hired by organizations in the role of finance manager, financial analyst, chief financial officer, etc. There is an examination which is conducted by American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and is called as Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination. In order to practice as a CPA, one need to pass the examination conducted by AICPA. The CPAs are hired by various consulting firms, auditing firms, they can provide service in any area of finance broadly in corporate governance, financial accounting, estate planning etc.

Career Opportunities as a Certified Public Accountant

  • Public Accounting
    CPAs are required in the accounting domain and managing the finances of the public. They are hired by private and government organizations for advisory roles. There are various CPA accounting firms and the CPAs obtain the role of staff auditor wherein they are involved in detailed financial work, tax staff wherein they handle the spheres of tax, management services, etc.
  • Management Accounting
    As a CPA, you need to prepare budgets and financial documents, evaluate and refine accounting procedures, and consult with management teams to help them make good business decisions.
  • Financial Analysts
    As a financial analyst, you have to support the growth of the business by analyzing financial data, preparing reports to illustrate technical information, interpreting data affecting investment programs and helping management make informed decisions.
  • Government Sector
    CPAs in Government have responsibilities in the areas of auditing, financial reporting and management accounting. They have the power to work with the policies which are made at various levels of Government. CPAs provide the information as in how the finances can be used in the best possible manner.
  • Corporate Accounting
    CPAs are hired in corporates for handling Accounts wherein they handle the accounting, auditing and the finances. They manage the pay rolls, property and financial statements. They are considered as the strategic business partners of the organization. They also work as Internal Auditors which contribute to company’s operations by examining risk management issues, financial data and operations, and control processes.
  • Tax Accounting
    As CPA, you have to maintain tax records and complete tax returns to guide companies in tax strategies, compliance, and tax laws and regulations.
  • Non-Profit Organizations
    CPAs are also employed in the non profit organizations as they help NPOs to manage their revenue, understand the best practices of managing financial systems and taxes. CPAs are hired by NGOs or they can work as a freelancer wherein they can work with multiple organizations.

How to Pursue a Career as a Certified Public Accountant

Stream Graduation After Graduation After Post Graduation
Path 1
CPAs are also employed in the non profit organizations as they help NPOs to manage their revenue, understand the best practices of managing financial systems and taxes. CPAs are hired by NGOs or they can work as a freelancer wherein they can work with multiple organizations. Pursue Bachelor’s degree in B.Com (H)/ B.Com/ BBA or a Finance Related Field. Along with that pursue Chartered Accountant/ Company Secretory along with your graduation. Pursue Masters of Commerce (M.Com) or Masters of Business Administration (MBA)Appear for CPA Examination. CPA Exam consists of 4 parts i.e. Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG).

Important Facts

  • Must have Passed class 12th board examination with 60% including English.
  • In order to become a CPA three ‘Es’ are taken into consideration which are Education, Examination and Experience.
  • Education- A bachelor’s & master’s degree in a field which is related to finance and accounting along with either Chartered Accountant or Company Secretory.
  • Examination- This includes the CPA examination which consists of 4 components which are Auditing & Attestation, Business Environment & Concept, Financial Accounting and Reporting &Regulation. The passing score is 75 on a 0-99 scale.
  • Experience- In order to appear for CPA exam, there is no work experience required but experience of 1-2 years under a CPA is required in order to obtain the license to practice as a CPA.
  • You need to be a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India or a Member of the Company Secretaries in India.

Leading Institutes

Top Certified Public Accountant Institutes in the World
Institution Location Website
American Institute of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA) United States www.aicpa.org/content/aicpa

Work Description

  • The job of CPA involves maintaining and auditing the financial records of the public or organizations.
  • CPAs also come up with strategic ways for budgeting and using the money in the most efficient way possible.
  • They act as a consultant in the areas of accounts, finances, budget, etc.
  • CPAs also attend to tax related work wherein they make sure that the taxes are paid on time by analysing financial information properly.
  • It is a job of responsibility as they also have to report any form of fraudulent work, tax related issue or any other financial issue to the organization.

Pros & Cons of a Career as a Certified Public Accountant

Pros
  • CPAs can work in a vast range of industries, because every business needs an accountant in their firm.
  • Excellent opportunity for CA/ ICWA/ CS/ Law/ MBA (Finance), M.Com and Commerce Graduates who aspire for an International Certification.
  • A CPA certification would allow you to have a knowledge of US GAAP, GAAS and US federal taxation and business laws.
Cons
  • They undergo an intensive amount of stress as they are handling the legal documents of the organization.
  • Professionals might have to work for long hours and stick to the deadlines.
  • At times, the work could become monotonous & dull.
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