How Do I Become a CPA

People who are good with numbers and who want to help individuals and businesses reach their financial goals may be wondering, “How do I become a CPA?” This is a great career choice for people who are looking for a job where they will be working regular hours. There may be certain times of the year where they will need to work longer hours, such as tax time or when working on audits, but most CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) work between 35-40 hours per week.

A CPA must have good communication skills (oral and written), since this work also involves analyzing figures and explaining the results to supervisors, coworkers and clients. Some travel may be required with this type of position as well, depending on where clients are located.

Education Requirements to Become a CPA

Becoming a CPA is a challenging goal, and the first step in the process is to complete an undergraduate degree. The curriculum for a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting includes the following types of courses:

• Accounting Ethics & Professional Responsibilities
• Accounting Research and Analysis
• Advanced Financial Management
• Auditing
• Business Law
• Corporate Governance and Internal Control Assessment
• Cost Management
• Federal Income Tax
• Financial Accounting
• Fraud Examination
• Income Tax Planning
• Interviewing Techniques for Fraud Investigations
• Introduction to Microeconomics
• Management Accounting
• Marketing
• Principles of Finance
• Principles of Management

State Board of Accountancy Requirements

The role of a state board of accountancy is to issue licenses to Certified Public Accountants in its jurisdiction. In most parts of the country, the minimum level of education required is 150 semester credits from an accredited college or university. If your goal is to become a CPA, you will want to be sure that the program you select has the required number of credits.

Along with a minimum number of academic credit hours, a future CPA will need to have a certain amount of practical experience. In some jurisdictions, a future Certified Public Accountant must work for a minimum of two years under the direct supervision of a licensed CPA before you will be eligible to write the CPA exam. You may also be required to complete an ethics course beforehand as well.

Uniform CPA Exam

The next step to on the road to become a CPA is to write the Uniform CPA Examination. It is made up of four sections:

• Auditing and Attestation
• Business Environment and Concepts
• Financial Accounting and Reporting
• Regulation

This exam is a very rigorous one, and it takes 14 hours to write all four sections. This exam is currently offered in a computerized format. Less than half of applicants who write each section of the exam will attain a passing grade on their first attempt. If you fail one part of the test, you can retake it up to four times a year. Candidates writing their CPA exams who pass one section are usually required to write and pass the other three within 18 months.

The answer to the question, “How do I become a CPA?” is that you will need to complete an undergraduate degree and working for a few years before you can write the very challenging certification exam required for this career choice.

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