So you’re about to spend a bunch of time, effort, and money to pass your CPA exam. You may be wondering, what do I need my CPA for? Do the jobs that require the CPA exam even interest me?
For the most part, you can get an entry level accounting or bookkeeping job without being a CPA. But if you’re at all interested in advancement (and pay raises), you’re going to have to pass the exam and get that license.
Jobs That Require The CPA Exam
Accountants can prepare financial statements and taxes, but only CPAs can officially validate a company’s financial information or reports. So if you plan on working in public accounting and managing an audit or a tax preparation, you’re going to need your CPA.
Most accountants will hit a ceiling at public companies, corporations, or consulting firms. There will be a point where you won’t have opportunities for advancement without a CPA license. When I worked in public accounting, you couldn’t be promoted to manager unless you had your CPA.
CPAs have to adhere to stringent education, ethics and professionalism requirements, so it makes sense that a CPA license is required to provide high level services.
Getting your CPA is awesome, and you’ll gain respect from your peers for having it, but you don’t necessarily need it. If you’re working in a public accounting firm or working for a private CPA firm, it’s probably best that you go for your CPA license. But if you are going down a different path, another designation might be appropriate.
For example, if you are going into internal audit, it might be better for you to consider the Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) license. Or maybe you want to go into cost accounting; it would be appropriate to get your Certified Management Accountant license (CMA).
The Verdict: Designations Are A Good Thing
The bottom line is that designations are always a good thing; they’re going to give you immediate respect as an expert in your particular area. Whether you want to become a CPA, a CMA, a CIA, or any other host of acronymed words, designations are going to help you advance in your specific field. And, as I’m sure you know, advancement often means pay raise (yay!).
So use this post as motivation to get your studying on. And good luck my CPA friends!