What does a CPA do?
Certified Public Accountants typically work for accounting firms or CPA firms, but they may also work as self-employed individuals. They work closely with company Executives and finance professionals to organize financial documents and implement efficient accounting procedures. Their job is to oversee company employees to ensure they implement effective accounting procedures and answer questions about financial reporting. They may also participate in court cases to provide witness statements about financial details on their client’s behalf.
CPA skills and qualifications
CPAs need a high degree of technical skill in accounting. Other important skills and qualifications for CPAs include:
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Ability to explain complex accounting data in a simple way
- Ability to analyze complex systems
- Problem-solving skills
- Verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
- Knowledge of accounting and financial software
- Willingness to stay up to date with latest accounting methods and technology
- Excellent attention to detail
CPA salary expectations
A CPA makes an average of $66,565 per year. Salary may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.
CPA education and training requirements
Certified Public Accountants need at least a bachelor’s degree. They also need to pass a state licensure exam in order to become CPAs. After passing all portions of the exam, they need a certain amount of experience working under a current CPA before being able to officially apply for a CPA license. The length of experience varies from state to state. On-the-job training is most common, and it includes working with experienced CPAs until they meet the work experience requirement to apply for a license. Internships during an undergraduate program are also valuable training experiences.
CPA experience requirements
Entry-level CPAs should have the minimum experience requirement needed to apply for a license, which is somewhere between six months and two years. For positions in larger companies or with more complex duties, CPAs should have at least three years of experience. Senior-level CPAs and those in leadership roles, at least five years of experience is preferred. Experience in the same industry is also valuable for Certified Public Accountants.
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