Advice for a non-accounting major.

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JDavisNJ in Fair Lawn, New Jersey

86 months ago

Hell all, my name is Joe and was wondering if I can get some advice. I'm 22 and am about to graduate college with a History degree. Why would I be interested in accounting you ask? Well, I flip-flopped majors several times (stupid decision), and I will be graduating with a degree in history. I can't change that and have accepted it.

My plan, within the next two years is to attend graduate school for accounting. There are several good schools in my area and I'm confident that I can get into one. I expect my GPA to be around 3.3 upon graduation.

The problem I'm having is, how to find an entry level accounting position with no experience in the field, and without a business degree under my belt? I'm pretty good in Excel and am good with numbers, but am not sure who would hire me. I was told to look for "clerk" positions in accounts payable, or something related.

Basically, I want to gain some experience in a company before I apply to graduate school. I know this whole idea seems redundant and a stretch, but if anyone could help me out that would be much appreciated. Thanks,

-Joe

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Joe in River Edge, New Jersey

82 months ago

Hi Vince,

Thanks a lot for the reply and your advice...much appreciated. Well, I actually just graduated, and unfortunately my GPA was JUST shy of 3.0, I mean severely close lol. A bit of a bummer, but I suppose if my GMAT scores are sufficient enough I can still have a shot at being accepted to graduate school.

So, basically your advice is to attend a graduate program right away? I was considering this as well, but I was under the impression that most graduate programs require work experience as well as outstanding academic performance. In this case, which kind of jobs would you recommend to someone in my situation?

I was also considering possibly going back for a bachelor's in accounting. I already have all of my prerequisites for my school, so it would probably take me around two years. It just seems like entry level accounting jobs (other than clerk positions), pay pretty decent. Without the degree, it seems like I am at a disadvantage.

-Joe

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michele in Los Angeles, California

82 months ago

received a 1099 for a house that we foreclosed on. We earned no income that year and we were selling everything that we owned. Do we still need to pay taxes on the home that was foreclosed on.

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anon in New York, New York

82 months ago

You don't provide enough information. Was debt forgiven, so you have COD income? Or, Do you qualify for an exclusion for a 108 insolvency? Was it refied, so you don't qualify for a purchase price adjustment(and are personally liable on debt) - or was it the original lender ? Was it non-recourse, in which case it reduces your basis (gain,) etc. Too many unknown variables to help you.

You probably can't answer this on your own. Why don't you go to a free self help clinic for low income taxpayers? If you live in LA, probably UCLA, USC or LLS offer free tax clinics at their law school.

michele in Los Angeles, California said: received a 1099 for a house that we foreclosed on. We earned no income that year and we were selling everything that we owned. Do we still need to pay taxes on the home that was foreclosed on.

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Beverly in Virginia Beach, Virginia

81 months ago

Hi Joe, Hi Vince (i'm your neighbor in VA Bch!),

I know u wrote this 4 months ago but hopefully this will still help.

Congrats to both of you guys on your decision to switch over. I too am a History major. I graduated 2 years ago and this past January I finally decided to go back to school. I'm in my first semester of my Master's in Accounting and Finance Management degree. I think our decisions will pay off. Anyhow, I recommend going straight to the graduate program! You already have a bachelor's so why get another bachelor's when you could get a Master's! Having a Master's will definitely make you more marketable. You may have to take a few pre-requisites but having the master's will already give you an edge over other accountants when you're finished.

I am attending Keller graduate school of management, an online school. I didn't need any previous accounting experience however I did need a few pre-reqs. Tight on money, take your pre-reqs at the closest community college then apply to grad school. I did my research and I feel Keller, by far, one of the better online schools for accounting! It's program has a prepatory program for the CPA exam. I'd recommend looking into your CPA/cma/cfo requirements for your state b/c getting your CPA or any of the certifications will help you in your career later. Online is great too because it allows me to continue working my full time job! Believe me, I need the money!

I wish I could give you more advice on job experience. I currently work in my family business which peaked my interest in accounting. I'd recommend trying to become a financial planner assistant. Although it isn't accounting, finance and accounting often work hand in hand. you'd be applying much of what you learn in accounting into the finance field. Furthermore, being exposed to another side of the business world may give you a deeper insight of the accounting/finance world so you have more to offer as an accountant.

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michele in Los Angeles, California

81 months ago

Hi Beverly, You emailed the wrong person. This email is for Joe or Vince.

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Joe in River Edge, New Jersey

81 months ago

Hi Beverly,

Thanks for your reply! Much appreciated. Yeah, most of my friends and family that are in accounting have said the same thing. To just go straight for the graduate program. I'm hoping that my GPA won't hold me back in that respect. I guess I should try to score the highest I can on my GMAT exams.

My cousin basically told me that the experience gained in graduate school will matter more (in most cases) rather than your previous work background. I'm sure this isn't true for everyone, but it will probably help me in the job hunt greatly.

Once again, thanks for the reply!

-Joe

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michele in Los Angeles, California

81 months ago

To Joe, I am not Beverly. You have the wrong email address.

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CJ in San Juan, Puerto Rico

79 months ago

Beverly I dont think Keller is one of the best schools. Plenty Online schools with Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

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michele in Los Angeles, California

79 months ago

You have the wrong email address. I am not Beverly.

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lemealone in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

Neither am I, please don't email me.

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CJ in San Juan, Puerto Rico

79 months ago

I havent e-mail anybody...
I guess if you click on the option of e-mailing you when someone post you will get a e-mail. Next time dont click on EMAIL ME WHEN NEW COMMENTS ARE POSTED TO THIS DISCUSSION

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Beverly in Virginia Beach, Virginia

79 months ago

CJ in San Juan, Puerto Rico said: Beverly I dont think Keller is one of the best schools. Plenty Online schools with Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Hi CJ, I suppose it is a matter of opinion. I chose Keller because I felt their program was very strong regardless of the accreditation. Plus the CPA prep component to their program made it quite attractive which closely followed the Virginia CPA standards. And we all know in today's working world, it is so important to get certified in order to further your career, whether it is to be a CPA, CMA, CFA, or CIA, etc. Yes, there are plenty of other colleges out there, better colleges out there, if you may, but it is what you do with your education that matters most. I felt like Keller was the better school for me. When I begin working, I don't think the first question that my employer will ask will be whether my school was accredited under the AACSB however, I can almost gaurantee that as a public accountant, they will ask me if I am a CPA.

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CJ in San Juan, Puerto Rico

79 months ago

OK,
I was thinking of going to keller a long time ago... Until I start reading online forums, reading about the school.
Also why go to keller if others ranked schools have online programs and are AACSB.

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Beverly in Virginia Beach, Virginia

79 months ago

Personally, I like the fact that the degree is a "Master's in Accounting and Finance Management" so I have the flexibility of using it in the business/investment world. Most schools are an MBA with a concentration in either accounting or in finanace, so you have to choose one or the other. In addition, if not an MBA, you usually have to choose between a master's in accounting or a master's in Finance. Again, there are many schools out there. Keller fits my needs and my schedule. It is best that you find the right school that fits your needs. I am very pleased with their curriculum and the lack of accreditation will not define my career. Passing the CPA exam is the real test. I will go on to pursue a CPA and build the resume I want. That is what really matters. Education will not stop in the classroom for me. If you feel an accredited school will give you the boost you need, I would look into an acreddited school. Some employers do consider accreditation. I am looking for an employer who looks at a hard-working well rounded individual. Regardless of where I go, having a Master's and the CPA cert is what I feel will open doors. I currently own a retail business and plan on continuing to be a business owner. My purpose is further my education to help me in whatever I do and I feel that I am achieving that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. That is why I go to Keller. I know why I chose Keller and I would not knock anyone for choosing any other school. Any one who furthers their education deserves a pat on the back. It is a personal decision. What school did you choose?

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lemealone in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

Hey Beverly,

You are right in thinking that the CPA is what matters. Noone really cares where you got your masters in accounting from, what they care about is that you got the hours, worked hard and got the CPA. It's not like an MBA, where you should try to get a "top 20" school pedigree or whatever. I'd avoid University of Phoenix at all costs though, Talk about a horrible reputation! Please, stop being so defensive about your choice of school, you sound like you're trying to convince yourself. Its pretty obvious by your determination that you are going to be successful, so don't worry about convincing everyone that your school is great!

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Beverly in Virginia Beach, Virginia

79 months ago

Thanks lemealone. I apologize if I sound a little defensive. I am not trying to convince myself, I'm am just answering CJ's question....

"why go to keller if others ranked schools have online programs and are AACSB."

I don't mean for everyone to get these emails.

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Adam Evanovich in Iowa City, Iowa

79 months ago

lemealone in Norfolk, Virginia said: Hey Beverly,

You are right in thinking that the CPA is what matters. It's not like an MBA, where you should try to get a "top 20" school pedigree or whatever. I'd avoid University of Phoenix at all costs though. Its pretty obvious by your determination that you are going to be successful, so don't worry about convincing everyone that your school is great!

I certainly agree with this. I am working on a master's degree right now, but I know that the CPA exam will help me the most. A question from me though:

Is it tough? How long does it last? Someone told me about 4 days...

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Vince AKA Lemealone in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

I haven't taken the CPA exam yet, but I do work in public accounting. I too am entering a master's program for Accounting. After talking w/ Managers and Partners in Accounting, I can tell you that the CPA certificate is what matters and noone cares where you got your 150 hours from. They want to know what youve done w/ it. And yes, from all accounts the CPA exam is tough. Its 4 parts, check out the AICPA website for details.

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Adam Evanovich in Iowa City, Iowa

79 months ago

Vince AKA Lemealone in Norfolk, Virginia said: And yes, from all accounts the CPA exam is tough. Its 4 parts, check out the AICPA website for details.
Yeah, I have yet to browse the accounting websites in great detail, but I guess I should get on that, huh? =)

Thanks for the reply. I also have to check out what the requirements are for different states in this country. I know they differ, but not by a lot...

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Vince in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

Hi Lindsay,

You're right, University of Texas at Austin is ranked No.1 and University of Michigan at Ann Arbor is right up there in the top 5. If I lived in one of those 2 states, that's where I'd be applying. I live in Va though, and the best 2 schools there are UVA and the College of William and Mary. They both have impressive curriculums and recruitment as well. Virginia Tech also has a strong program. I'm trying to avoid out of state tuition. Thanks for the advice, I just received a pretty good score on the GMAT, so I'm weighing my options.

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Vince in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

Lindsay,

Oh, and also, I was born in Ann Arbor, but my parents moved away when I was 2. Is it nice there?

Thanks

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Zeta Jeremiah in Los Angeles, California

79 months ago

HI EVERYBODY !!

I am planning to continue my maters dergee in Accounting at California State University of Los Angeles. Can anybody tell me the reputation this university has in the market. I am pretty good in Accounting and I am confident that I will graduate with a very good GPA.

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carter in Chennai, India

79 months ago

CJ in San Juan, Puerto Rico said: Beverly I dont think Keller is one of the best schools. Plenty Online schools with Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).

Worst is keller

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Beverly in Virginia Beach, Virginia

79 months ago

Thank you all for bringing this to my attention! I think Keller has a pretty decent program that is an online but of course it can't compete with a regular University. It's been difficult finding a course that's completely online and keller was so easily accessible. I've since done more research and I am now accepted into the University of Maryland (aacsb accredited) this summer. I went through each of the AACSB accredited schools to see which ones had online programs. It took forever but I came across UMUC and it's something I've been looking for. Thanks everyone!! Goodluck to everyone in their studies & finding the right school!

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VInce in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

Good job Beverly,

Most of the online programs that advertise heavily on the internet are considered a joke to employers. I mean, a school's reputation should be enough to bring in students. If a school has to advertise heavily, then something's not right. It pays to research a school, just my opinion.

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Ray Jones in Marietta, Georgia

79 months ago

To Zeta:
I took a summer class at Cal State LA and i'll tell u, its a crapy school. They lack customer service and good luck getting information from a live person. There are much better schools like CSU Fullerton, CSU Dominguez or CSU Northridge. CSU fullerton has the best business school compared to the others listed above.

Hope this helps and good luck.

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ED ED ED in Epsom, United Kingdom

79 months ago

point of note - have you seen this - www.wikijob.co.uk/wiki/accountancy-professional-services ?

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Vince in Norfolk, Virginia

79 months ago

thanks, that was an interesting article

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ED ED ED in Epsom, United Kingdom

78 months ago

no probs.. check the forum too... www.wikijob.co.uk/forums .. :)

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Daniel in Lomita, California

78 months ago

Hello everybody,

I am a recent graduate at UC San Diego and I graduated with an economics degree. After a year of thinking about what I wanted to do, I decided that I wanted to get my CPA. I heard the best way to qualify to sit for the exam is to get a masters in accounting or business taxation. However, I did very poorly towards the end of my undergrad and ended up with a GPA of 2.5. What is the best way to go about obtaining my CPA? It's gonna be tough for me to get into graduate schools b/c of my gpa. Should I just take some courses at a nearby Community college and raise my gpa before applying to grad schools? Should I focus on my GMATs? Any information would be very helpful. Thank you!

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Prissie in New Orleans, Louisiana

76 months ago

JDavisNJ in Fair Lawn, New Jersey said: Hell all, my name is Joe and was wondering if I can get some advice. I'm 22 and am about to graduate college with a History degree. Why would I be interested in accounting you ask? Well, I flip-flopped majors several times (stupid decision), and I will be graduating with a degree in history. I can't change that and have accepted it.

My plan, within the next two years is to attend graduate school for accounting. There are several good schools in my area and I'm confident that I can get into one. I expect my GPA to be around 3.3 upon graduation.

The problem I'm having is, how to find an entry level accounting position with no experience in the field, and without a business degree under my belt? I'm pretty good in Excel and am good with numbers, but am not sure who would hire me. I was told to look for "clerk" positions in accounts payable, or something related.

Basically, I want to gain some experience in a company before I apply to graduate school. I know this whole idea seems redundant and a stretch, but if anyone could help me out that would be much appreciated. Thanks,

-Joe

Go to USAJOBS.com - the website for the federal gov't. They have entry level accounting tech positions all over.

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Adam in Iowa City, Iowa

76 months ago

Joe,

Unless you're looking at a small business, I doubt you're going to find anything, because most of the accounting work, from what I've seen anyway (even with the AP and AR sides) are becoming incredibly complex because of the technology that's involved with sifting through all of the financial data. If you want the truth in the matter, I doubt you'll be able to get an AP/AR job in a large company without a degree in (at least) a business field, but the smaller business market might be better.

Just being truthful...

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Jennifer Cheng in South El Monte, California

76 months ago

Accouting is my marjor. Right now I am experiencing a hard time choosing what university I should go to.Either Cal State LA and Fullerton.
Becuase I live much close to CSLA, but I am worry that CSLA has lower reputation than Fullerton. Can anyone give me some good advices?

Sincerely.

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Kirk Ward in Ellijay, Georgia

75 months ago

Multiple degrees are a great asset, especially if you can learn how to use one with the other. For example, if you wanted to be marketable as a top executive, a finance degree, a marketing degree, and a technical skills degree such as engineering, could very well project you to the top in that particular field.

Since accounting doesn't really have a marketing major, as such, take a look at instantpracticebuilder.com

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Tara in Chicago, Illinois

74 months ago

Hello,

I have a BA in Anthropology. At the undergraduate level, I have one general Math/Algebra class and one Statistics class (both of which I received As in). I have no prior accounting or finance experience. For a career change, I plan on attending graduate school for a Master of Science in Accounting degree, then pursuing the CPA credential.

My question is; how important is the reputation or ranking of the school from which I receive my MS (considering that I also plan to become a CPA) when it comes to getting hired by a company?

The schools I am looking at in Chicago are:

DePaul (AACSB)
Loyola (AACSB)
University of Illinois at Chicago (AACSB)
Roosevelt University (ACBSP only)

The first 3 schools have pretty good reputations, but I'm not sure about the last one (Roosevelt). It only has the ACBSP accreditation, but it is very inexpensive.

I would hate to incur more debt of $35-40k for a degree when a degree from a much more affordable school would get me "almost" the same type of job.

What do think I should do? Fork out the cash for a better school or go with the less prestigious cheaper school. As long as I have my CPA, will it matter?

Thanks!

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Vince in Norfolk, Virginia

74 months ago

Although I can't comment on those particular schools, I'd recommend going with the one that you feel will give you the best education for the money. Since you don't have a background in accounting, I'd go for the most rigourous program you can get into. this will help prepare you for the CPA exam and will give you the tools you need to succeed in the profession. I'd shell out the cash, CPAs make good money so it is a solid investment if you know that you want to be one. Just my advice.

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Monica in Whittier, California

66 months ago

Daniel in Lomita, California said: Hello everybody,

I am a recent graduate at UC San Diego and I graduated with an economics degree. After a year of thinking about what I wanted to do, I decided that I wanted to get my CPA. I heard the best way to qualify to sit for the exam is to get a masters in accounting or business taxation. However, I did very poorly towards the end of my undergrad and ended up with a GPA of 2.5. What is the best way to go about obtaining my CPA? It's gonna be tough for me to get into graduate schools b/c of my gpa. Should I just take some courses at a nearby Community college and raise my gpa before applying to grad schools? Should I focus on my GMATs? Any information would be very helpful. Thank you!

Hey...ya I have the same situation...have you received any advice?

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Reyup in Chicago, Illinois

66 months ago

Most states require 150 hours of college credit in order to sit for the CPA exam. So getting a masters is the preferable way to go. I was a marketing undergrad, and returned for my MSA 7 years after finishing. My undergrad GPA wasn't great, in the 2.9 area. In my opinion it is not the difficult to get into a decent grad school. As long as you're not looking for something Ivy league level, if you score decent on the GMAT, you'll be surprised where you can get in.

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LucyJane in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

Hi, I'm in the same boat as Monica and Daniel. I did duel degree in undergrad, so I have a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Econ - only my gpa is 2.6. After a few years of working, I've now decided that I want to go into accounting and be a CPA. Any advice for those of us who want to re-enter academia in accounting but have low GPA's?

Thanks in advance - so far this forum has been very helpful!

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Will in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

65 months ago

Daniel and/or LucyJane, did you ever receive advice on the low gpa question? I am curious about that situation also.

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LucyJane in Richmond, Virginia

65 months ago

no, I haven't received any advice yet. Are you in the same but as us too, Will?

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CK in Fairfax, Virginia

64 months ago

Hi LucyJane,

My friend graduated with a BS in Medical Technology - 2.7 from GMU. After 5 months of doing nothing, he went back to a local community college and received an associate in accounting. Worked 2-3 years for a local insurance company doing a dead-end job, applied to the University of Richmond, accepted, and he kissed good-bye to his former job.

PS. He studied GMAT like there is no tomorrow!

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DJ Drummond in Houston, Texas

64 months ago

Perhaps I can be useful. I just earned my MBA from UH-Victoria, with a concentration in Accounting. UHV is AACSB accredited in Business, and the faculty is shared with the UH Bauer School of Business, so it's a decent school. My BA was ... English (don't ask me why) and it was back in 1983. I got the MBA because in addition to 30 hours upper-level Accounting courses you need 24 hours upper-level Business courses, so the MBA did that, mostly, and got me a higher degree as well. lemealone in Norfolk is right that the CPA license is HUGE, you get that and where you went to school is a lot less important.

I have 2 reasons for posting here. First, some encouragement: My undergrad GPA at Baylor was - gulp - 2.1! I only had a chance because I finished a LOT stronger and my last 60 hours BARELY met the 2.5 GPA requirement for consideration. What got me in was my GMAT; I got a 730 on my first and only try and the school gave me a chance to take part in the MBA program. I finished my MBA with a 3.941 GPA and here I am. There was no chance I could get into some of the top programs, not with my grades even so long ago, but a good GMAT score opened the door. So while grades are important and can limit schools or make some interested in you, there are options. Study for the GMAT unti you are sure you'll get an 800, then you're ready to start really studying the GMAT!

My other reason for posting is a question - does anyone know how someone can earn accounting experience for the CPA license without starting all over as an intern? I'm 49 and have a ton of management experience, and one reason I want the CPA is that my company considers it a must-have for all senior managers. Would SOx audits count as acceptable work for the Accountancy Board if a CPA supervised me?

Thanks and good luck!

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Aneetha in Stamford, Connecticut

64 months ago

Hi I too have a similiar question. I studied in India, and am an engineer, and also hold an advanced diploma in business management. I did my diploma from ICFAI (an institute which is banned in US). Can i count this degree for the pre requirement to sit for the CPA exam?

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Future Accountant in Houston, Texas

64 months ago

carter in Chennai, India said: Worst is keller

Carter, How do you know? You live in India!!!

Beverly, I admire your enthusiam in pursuing your goal. Keep at it.

God Bless.

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S E Smith in Aurora, Colorado

64 months ago

Joe,

Does your current school offer a grad program? As a current student of the school, they might overlook some of their requirements. I attend Regis University. Very good school, excellent reputation and you can take your entire program online since you are in another state. They are a private institution so the cost would be more than at the state college level but it can be done. They do require two years work experience but it does not require that employment be in accounting.

I believe you can start off in a clerk type postions. These typically can start at about 15/hr (at least here in CO) not sure about your market. It is a good way to get in the door and tune your skills up. I would suggest learning the most you can of excel. that is the ULTIMATE requirment these days for an accountant. You have received advice taking you in a lot of directions but ultimatley you have to seek and find what works best for you

Someone said ealy in the forum that you history degree could help....I disagree. Again, this is based on the Colorado market. Compnaies out here will not likely hire someone in accounting with a degree outside of that unles its business.

Master's program is great (i start in jan) but nothing is better than working your way up..IMO

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JR 1985 in Las Vegas, Nevada

63 months ago

BTW, UMUC isn't AACSB. It's IACSB.

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Vick in Naperville, Illinois

58 months ago

I am a CPA. I personally don't see the big deal. I wish I had stayed in Human Resources. Good Pay and easy work. Also, I was rewarded and had no reason but to be honest.

In the accounting profession, its a man eat man world. The CEO doesn't know anything about accounting, the CFO has been around so long he slipped through without a degree in accounting or a cpa. Then you have an a**hole Assistant Controller. These are people who nothing else is important in their lives but accounting. I have worked in the public, private and government sections. All the same, you will work for some of the dumbest and dishonest people in your life. Get out and stay out while you can. It is not what it is cracked up to be. I'm a CPA, so what! Dishonesty and pure greed will get you far in this field, you just will have to sell your soul along the way. I wish someone had told me this years ago. Work smart, not hard. Wish you well! The decision is yours.

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Mickey in Pekin, Illinois

52 months ago

Hi everyone,

I have a Bachelor of Science in Public Health with a 3.95 GPA and am currently in physical therapy school. After I graduate from physical therapy school, in May
2012, I want to get a certificate in accounting from a community college, but
want to know if the certificate alone will allow me to get a job in accounting?
The community college by my house also offers a Certified Management Accountant(CMA) preparation certificate. I'm interested in physical therapy and accounting, but want to be able to do both. I read the experience requirement for the CMA exam on the IMA website, but I need two years of full-time experience in management accounting or financial management. I've met the education requirement because all that's required is a bachelor's degree, in any field. Do I have a chance of getting into the accounting field that will allow me to gain the work experience that I need to
take the CMA exam with no accounting experience?

Thank you!

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