While the two may seem similar, a CPA differs from an accountant. A CPA or a Certified Professional Accountant is an accountant by profession with the license to practice in a state or city. Their expertise covers various fields, from tax preparation and forensic accounting to financial planning and internal auditing. Despite the fact that all CPAs are also accountants, not all accountants are CPAs.
To become a Certified Professional Accountant, you must earn a professional license through relevant education, training, and experience. All eligible candidates must have an undergraduate degree in accounting, business, or finance and at least two years of work experience.
After which, they can sit for the CPA exam and become certified accountants after clearing it. Once you gain this designation, you can distinguish yourselves from other professionals in your field. However, to keep the CPA designation in force, you must meet a particular number of continuing education hours annually.
With so many challenges that come with acquiring a CPA, it’s easy to wonder if it’s even worth it. And to help you see why your efforts will be well worth it, here are seven reasons you must consider for becoming a CPA:
7 Reasons You Should Consider Becoming A CPA
1. Variety of career paths
When you’re working towards becoming a CPA, you must extensively study and work in a broad range of areas and sectors of your field. The skills and knowledge you acquire along the way make you an ideal candidate for various industries. Since you won’t have to specialize in any specific area, your diverse qualification opens up job prospects all over the industry.
More importantly, courses like those offered by Wiley CPA present you with simulations and questions related to real-life situations. Learning to solve these effectively will open doors for you in the accountant world, far beyond your imagination.
Career options that are out of reach to unlicensed accountants are readily available to CPAs. You’re also more likely to become potential candidates for more managerial or leadership roles than your non-CPA counterparts.
2. Job satisfaction
Unlike regular accountants, CPAs benefit from working in a broad range of niches. Instead of having only specific job roles to fill, they can choose the kind of work they want to do depending on their interests.
Since their training and education make them multi-talented, they can perform several complex and specialized jobs an ordinary accountant can’t do. The constant challenge of working on high-profile cases and the opportunity to switch niches when they want to allow CPAs to have greater job satisfaction.
With rapid globalization and countries becoming more connected across borders, professionals have a rising opportunity to work internationally. Accounting firms are more likely to send their highly qualified members to gain global business work experience than less skillful staff.
3. Greater earning potential
One of the most critical things while considering an additional qualification is the return on investment and if it’s worth it. Not surprisingly, salary plays a massive role in helping individuals choose a career pathway, ranking it right after passion. Fortunately, as a CPA, this is one of the things you don’t have to worry about.
Since you’ll have abundant opportunities to work, from public to private sectors and non-profit organizations, you’ll also be well-compensated. A survey on accountant salaries showed that while non-CPAs earn $53,402 annually, CPAs can earn money up to $91,608 the same year.
Additionally, you must understand that a CPA isn’t a job. Instead, it’s a series of stepping stones in the shape of various job openings it provides that will eventually come to a head into a successful career.
4. Prestige and respect in the professional world
Passing the CPA exam, fulfilling all its requirements, and becoming better and wiser isn’t easy. Therefore, those professionals who become certified accountants are often seen as a set of elite and skillful experts—and rightfully so.
Since this designation is the highest level an accountant can achieve, a certain aura of prestige gets automatically associated with it. Clients will want to listen to you, firms will want to hire you, and your non-professional acquaintances will want to be you.
Besides academic guidance, the CPA license tests you with rigorous job training and challenging circumstances. Consequently, your experience and proficiency will take you beyond the expertise of a regular accountant and grant you the respect you deserve in the industry.
5. More incentives and benefits
It’s common practice to grant senior staff members and more-qualified members of the team special incentives and benefits. Therefore, CPAs receive compensation and annual benefits as one of the most skillful professionals in an organization. Managers want top talent to stay in their firm, so they offer market-competitive salaries.
However, it doesn’t just stop here. As a CPA, your qualification and experience put you in an ideal position to ask for a well-rounded package. Health insurance, paid time off, flexible work schedules, Remote working and on-site amenities are only some of the perks your employers may grant you.
Depending on your work performance, your accounting firm may offer bonus plans or cash-based incentives—chances of which significantly improve when you’re a CPA. These may include retention, sign-on, annual, or spot bonuses.
6. International recognition
Contrary to accounting stereotypes, you don’t have to sit behind your desk all day and go through spreadsheets. One of the biggest advantages of a CPA qualification is it’s an internationally recognized certification.
While your license will be specific to the country you gave your exam in, you can take a few equivalency exams that make you eligible to work in another country. As a result, the CPA designation opens up a world of professional opportunities on a global scale. If you’re someone who loves to travel and experience new cultures, this can be an ideal career pathway for you.
7. Better able to handle challenges
The extensive education, training, exams, and exercises you must undergo to become a CPA equip you to address complex challenges in business. For example, a standard accountant better works toward dealing with technical aspects of the field, such as tax treaties and auditing. But your broader qualification, which covers a range of accounting skills, can allow you to look into more strategic facets of the business.
While everyone can become an accountant, it takes exceptional talent to become a CPA. It may be the most nerve-wracking and wild experience of your life. But after all your time and effort, it will also be one of the most rewarding things to come out of your career. And everyone from your work colleagues to potential employers knows that, recognizes it, and will want to appreciate it.