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11 Key Employment Opportunities for CPAs

Published on: November 1, 2022

Accountant discussing finances with a couple

While anyone can claim expertise in the accounting field, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an official guarantee of proficiency to potential clients and the general public, as well as to accounting agencies and other potential employers. For this reason, aspiring accountants are wise to pave the way to certification with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from a reputable institution of higher learning. The many benefits of a CPA include greater access to accounting jobs and a higher-than-average salary.

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What Is a CPA? 

The term “Certified Public Accountant” and the abbreviation “CPA” apply to both the designation that the Board of Accountancy confers for each state in America and the professionals who hold that designation. As a credential, the CPA is similar to the chartered accountant (CA) that is common in many countries around the world.

To become a CPA, candidates must pass the comprehensive and rigorous Uniform CPA Exam, which takes 16 hours to complete and consists of 276 multiple-choice questions, 28 task-oriented simulations and three writing sections. CPAs must also meet specific educational and work requirements, including a related undergraduate degree from an accredited institution and at least two full years of public accounting experience. 

How to Choose the Right CPA Career Path

Generally speaking, CPAs serve individual clients and public and private-sector organizations by helping them make practical sense of financial data. According to the national Uniform CPA Exam preparation company UWorld Roger CPA Review, CPA job duties may include any or all of the following:

  • Creating financial statements
  • Handling tax matters
  • Conducting estate planning
  • Acting as an expert witness for legal cases
  • Using financial information to identify and address business risks and opportunities.

With this diversity of responsibilities in mind, you can assess your professional strengths and interests to find a career path that is right for you.

Top CPA Careers

Thanks to their comprehensive accounting knowledge, a CPA can be a valuable asset in a diverse array of professional settings. This makes the CPA designation one of the most versatile professional credentials you can get.

The top 11 employment opportunities listed below demonstrate both the tremendous potential and the vast accounting purview of the CPA in 2023:

Financial Advisor

Financial advisors go beyond tax preparation to help people and organizations budget and invest their earnings. Performing tasks ranging from retirement planning to portfolio management, they operate according to each client's specific wants and needs.

Bookkeeper

You don’t necessarily need a CPA to be a bookkeeper. While bookkeepers are primarily responsible for maintaining financial books, updating financial records and filing financial reports, CPAs tend to focus on the complex analysis of these entities. Nevertheless, large companies with especially complex bookkeeping needs tend to employ CPAs to perform bookkeeping functions that include: 

  • Tracking revenue and expenditures
  • Managing employee payroll
  • Preparing financial statements
  • Overseeing receivable and payable accounts

Tax Accountant

Any practicing CPA should be able to prepare and file federal, state and local tax returns and work with clients throughout the fiscal year to minimize their overall tax burden. Some CPAs specialize exclusively in tax preparation, developing targeted expertise in areas ranging from business expenses and industry-specific deductions to rental property income and charitable giving. 

Auditor

An audit is an objective evaluation of financial records to ensure that they are valid and accurate, that organizations meet relevant regulatory standards, and provide essential information to key decision-makers and shareholders. In its list of the “10 Top-Paying Accounting Jobs,” UWorld Roger CPA Review notes that employment prospects for auditors are expected to grow by 11 percent between now and 2024. 

Budget analyst

Although many budget analyst positions do not require a CPA, all budget analysts can benefit from a depth of knowledge about general accounting principles. Able to perform multifaceted and detailed budget analysis, CPAs are in demand among many government agencies, corporate entities and large nonprofit organizations.

Forensic Accountant

Combining accounting and auditing skills with investigative expertise, forensic accountants examine financial records to track and hopefully recover missing funds. Big corporations, financial institutions, insurance companies and government agencies are typical employers of forensic accountants, who compile financial evidence and then present their findings through a series of detailed reports.

Environmental Accountant

If you have a passion for green causes and a head for numbers, a career as an environmental accountant may be worth pursuing. As more and more businesses and industries turn away from fossil fuel consumption in favor of clean, renewable energy, environmental accountants are in hot demand to track the flow of materials, monitor pollution controls and analyze natural resource consumption.

Consultant

According to the diverse business services provider Delap, CPAs make the best business consultants or advisors because they have a vast base of technical knowledge, are required to adhere to strict professional standards, tend to be highly detail-oriented and have expertise in both internal business controls and external business processes. 

Accounting Professor

Many CPAs are surprised to discover that they can make more money teaching than they can as a practicing accountant. As reported in “10 Top-Paying Accounting Jobs,” accounting professor positions offer some of the highest pay in the accounting profession. In addition to teaching university students and industry professionals, accounting professors commonly conduct in-depth financial research. 

Corporate Controller

A controller is a financial superintendent who tracks and maintains specific financial transactions and accounts for a public entity or a private business. Their responsibilities include tax preparation, budgetary oversight, report analysis and financial strategy. A corporate controller may also manage a broad spectrum of employees across multiple finance departments.

Nonprofit Accountant

Both for-profit companies and charitable nonprofits can benefit from the services of a good CPA. As the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants puts it, “Whether a CPA is on the staff of a not-for-profit organization or serves in an advisory capacity, he or she can help the organization solve tax problems, set up an internal control system, budget resources and prepare financial data for fund raising.”

Earn Your Accounting Degree from Husson University

No matter where your career goals lie, you can benefit from a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Husson University. In addition to qualifying you to take the Uniform CPA Exam, an accounting degree from Husson can equip you with the essential accounting knowledge you need to pass it. Even better, the Husson University accounting program is offered entirely online, giving you 24/7 access to complete degree requirements on your own schedule.

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Sources

https://www.wallstreetmojo.com/cpa-vs-bookkeeper/

https://www.accounting.com/careers/budget-analyst/

https://online.uncp.edu/articles/mba/a-look-at-forensic-accounting.aspx

https://accounting.uworld.com/blog/cpa-review/top-10-high-paying-accounting-jobs/

 

 

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