It’s never too early to start thinking about your future—especially in terms of where you’d like to be headed after you graduate. And as a current accounting student, you know you’ll probably do well as a regular accountant. But there’s also one large three lettered word that hangs around your peripherals if not at the family dinner table: CPA.
And while the CPA Exam may be daunting (or, in most cases, the thing that really holds most students back), don’t let it intimidate you from a career that’s rewarding financially, professionally, and personally. It’s a decision you won’t regret and you’ll find will be something you need in order to advance in the accounting industry.
So whether you just entered college or are graduating this year, here are some steps you can take to make sure that you get a jump start in your career as a CPA and how these steps can give you a great advantage in preparing you to pass the exam.
Get your degree
This first step is an obvious one. The most popular degree for CPA Exam candidates is Accounting since it ensures you meet all the required coursework. Normally, a Bachelor’s degree only accounts for 120 credit hours, and most states now require 150 credit hours. To make up for the extra 30 credit hours you will need to qualify to sit for the CPA Exam, many consider going on to get their Master’s in Accounting or taking extra courses at an accredited university.
Pick a Specialty
Many CPAs specialize in one or more areas in the practice. The two most widely known are public accounting or corporate/business accounting. Frequently, the specialty you decide to go with corresponds to the accounting degree you received. You’ll find that picking a specialty not only gives you an advantage in being exposed to the field, but also gives you supplemental experience that can help on the CPA Exam and upon hire.
Take the CPA Exam
Once you have graduated and have met the requirements to be eligible to sit for the CPA Exam, it’s time to begin applying to take the CPA Exam and getting a review course. This is the part that most accounting students are looking to avoid, but ask any CPA, and they’ll tell you that the time, energy, and effort it takes to pass the exam is miniscule compared to the amount of benefits and doors of opportunity it opens in the long run.
Land an Entry-Level Job
You can do this step even before you graduate. Look for an accounting internship or volunteer opportunity at local firms or businesses in which you can do accounting duties. Gaining experience to put on your resume will be advantageous especially if you’d like to have a part or full-time job immediately after graduation, in which you can work and study for the CPA Exam simultaneously.
After you have taken and passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam, begin the job application process over, this time as someone who is in the process of becoming a licensed CPA!
Look for Continuing Education
Getting a full-time job makes it easy to be complacent. Especially after you’ve crossed the milestones of graduating college, and passing the CPA Exam. But don’t fall into the complacency trap! Always look for different ways that you can continue to improve yourself in order to climb the ladder of opportunity. Whether that means getting another certificate license, taking some extra classes, being involved in organizations within the industry, or the like. This will show your employer that you are motivated, ambitious, and are always looking for a way to challenge yourself and up the ante on your work ethic.
We wish you all the best of luck as you continue to work toward jump starting your career in accounting, and toward becoming a CPA. To help you along your journey, Roger CPA Review is offering current college students an exclusive 10% discount off a one-time purchase of all Roger CPA Review courses and products. Learn more here: https://www.rogercpareview.com/cpa-courses/discounts/current-college-student