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A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is responsible for maintaining, analyzing, and preparing financial records and accounts for organizations and individuals. They have met strict educational, testing, and on-the-job requirements, and gained certification to do certain tasks that Accountants have not. They work in every industry and can be found in positions at accounting firms, startups, nonprofits, multinational corporations, government, and more. Some CPAs choose to start their own independent firm instead. CPAs can find work full-time, part-time, or freelance, both in-person and remotely.
Certified Public Accountants may specialize in public accounting, financial analysis, internal auditing, information technology audacity, tax accounting, or management accounting. CPAs perform tasks, such as maintaining a company’s accounting policies, bookkeeping, assisting in budget creation and internal audits, preparing reports for government audits and taxes, preparing balance statements, preparing financial statements for stakeholders, providing counsel on compensations and benefits, managing accounts payable and receivable, and updating policies and procedures based on industry best practices.
Certified Public Accountants should have a firm grasp on accounting and the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). They should understand how to execute bookkeeping tasks, manage accounts payable and receivable, prepare financial statements and reports, compile tax forms, and complete Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) reporting. They should have good ledger and reconciliation skills, writing skills, and strong interpersonal skills. All CPAs must be proficient in Microsoft Excel and/or any accounting or bookkeeping software that their company may use, such as FreshBooks, QuickBooks, or Zoho.
As CPAs prepare reports on a regular basis, they should sharpen their written communication skills to be clear and concise, while also maintaining stellar interpersonal skills in order to meet with their clients on a regular basis to explain these reports. They must be detail-oriented, analytical thinkers who are highly organized. They’ll most likely be working with multiple clients on many different deadlines and need to follow strict guidelines throughout. They should have a deep understanding of ethics and use their critical thinking skills to notice discrepancies and point them out to their company.
Each CPA will need specific knowledge based on their specialization, industry, and state in which they are employed. If they’re working in advising, they will also need to understand compensation, benefits, assets, and company spending so that they can advise their clients on the best choices for them. Advising CPAs will also need to know how to communicate with the IRS and legal counsel.
Accounting involves processing, measuring, and communicating financial information about businesses. Accounting often uses software like QuickBooks, Excel, and other office communication tools.
Quickbooks is an accounting software developed by intuit. Quickbooks is primarily used by small and medium-sized businesses to pay bills, execute payroll functions, and accept business payments.
Bookkeeping is the act of recording the financial affairs of a business. This includes purchases, sales, receipts, and payments. The most popular bookkeeping tool is Intuit's Quickbooks
A Certified Public Accountant in the United States makes, on average, $85,127 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Certified Public Accountants vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Certified Public Accountant salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
Certified Public Accountants must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and pass the CPA exam for certification. The CPA exam consists of four parts and candidates have 18 months to complete its entirety. CPAs must also complete continuing education after receiving their certification in order to maintain it. Each state also has its own requirements for work experience, citizenship, and state residency before taking the exam.
Certified Public Accountants can find work in any industry at companies as small as startups and as large as multinational corporations. There are full-time, part-time, freelance, in-person, and remote opportunities available for this position.
Certified Public Accountants can find jobs on these sites:
Certified Public Accountants can find remote and freelance work on these sites:
Certified Public Accountants are in high-demand but you’ll still need to put in an effort in networking to land a job in this field. Create a list of specific companies you want to work for and seek out jobs on their website, LinkedIn, and job boards. Connect with people who already work at that company through LinkedIn with a genuine conversation starter, such as questions about how they like working there, what the company culture is like, or anything you’re wondering about them. This will help you get a better idea of who you’re applying to and get you some name recognition and rapport within their organization.
Follow up with everyone you meet, including the person to whom you submitted the application. Thnk theme for their time, add a quick sentence about why you love their company, and keep it brief. This comes across as thoughtful and considerate, while also reminding them of your interest in the position.
Certified Public Accountants are usually called CPA or Accountant but can sometimes be titled with their specialization like “Risk Advisor.” There are often junior and senior level positions for this role. Accounting firms have their own structured hierarchy of positions which almost all require a CPA certification, sp CPAs can also look for those positions.
If you’re not yet qualified for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, you can look for roles such as Accountant, Financial Accountant, and Bookkeeper. These roles all have lower annual salaries but serve as stepping stones for a CPA certification. Accountants can work in any field, preparing tax paperwork and maintaining ledgers for organizations. Financial Accountants work in the finance sector for banks, investment firms, and lenders. They’ll utilize similar skills as an Accountant with the addition of finance jargon, financial modeling, and tracking business activities. A bookkeeper is the simplest entry-level position for a CPA hopeful. They maintain the ledgers and accounts of an organization.
Bookkeepers record and manage financial transactions for businesses of all sizes. Often working as part of an accounting team, they maintain a company's books and produce key financial statements. Some may be responsible for handling payroll and reconciling bank accounts. Bookkeepers are important for the accurate recording of financial transactions, which are then analyzed by accountants and CFOs.Learn about becoming a Bookkeeper
An Accountant handles bookkeeping and the preparation of financial documents for a company.Learn about becoming a Accountant
A Financial Accountant is responsible for recording and reporting the business operations transactions over a period of time.Learn about becoming a Financial Accountant