Achieving the Certified Public Accountant designation requires a combination of academic and practical training. The CPA exam is an examination given by recognized test agencies that evaluate students on their knowledge of financial accounting principles. Students who pass the exam are awarded the license to practice as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).
Aspiring CPA candidates must be well informed on tax planning and public finance laws. They should also be knowledgeable about legal regulations governing the audit of financial statements. They must also have good communication skills and be familiar with financial management systems.
There are two types of public accountants; private practitioners and government practitioners. Private practitioners are independent contractors hired by businesses or individuals to conduct financial records for them. Government practitioners are appointed by an elected official and are often employed by government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor.
In order to become a private practice Certified Public Accountant, students must hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent certificate from an accredited institution of higher learning, as well as at least three years of experience in the finance field and a passing score on the examination administered by the National Council for Accreditation of Public Accountants (NACC). The exam must be passed before one can practice as a CPA.
The federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides CPA exam scores to most applicants who apply to become a Federal Employee. Applicants must be authorized to work in the government’s payroll and have not had a prior record of financial problems. In addition to OPM’s exam, most applicants must take a financial management course.
Courses in financial management courses are usually part of a general business administration or management program. The coursework in this area typically is required for a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree. Other programs may also be required to enter the career as a Certified Public Accountant.
The National Academy of Sciences and the American Society for Accountants are two of the largest national certifying agencies for financial management. Most states have their own organizations that certify financial management professionals. Many private organizations offer CPA training in business and private practice, including the CPA Society. The American Society of CPAs (AS) has a national organization that certifies professionals in all states and several foreign countries.
In addition to certification, candidates must pass an examination administered by the National Council for Accreditation of Public Accountants (NACC). A CPA can be a highly skilled position in the financial services field. It provides the tools and training needed for a successful career in the financial management area.
Many accounting and bookkeeping schools offer courses and curriculum in accountancy career training. Online courses are also available. Courses in accounting careers help students understand the basics of bookkeeping, such as creating financial statements and calculating financial liabilities and assets, as well as how to organize financial statements in a format that is easy to understand.
Courses in Accounting careers help students learn the rules and procedures used in bookkeeping, as well as the terminology of accounting. The courses also teach students how to use computer applications and prepare financial reports. Courses provide an overview of financial statements and prepare students for the exam.
Those looking for a rewarding career as a Public Accountant can take classes to become a CPA in any state or jurisdiction. Certification will make job hunting easier. The state where one is certified is the first place one should check for employment opportunities.