Tips for students and professionals looking to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

I have been trying to get my mom to “choose herself” (advance her personal brand) for a while.  She is a CPA who was a non  traditional student.  She went back to college and studied at night to earn her CPA license which ultimately allowed her to triple her income.  Other people will find value in the things she has learned so that their path toward earning their CPA certification is easier and less confusing. Here is an excerpt of an email she sent to someone seeking to become a CPA.

1. What is the best way to gain the year work experience to obtain the license and meet the minimum requirement if not already in the accounting profession?
Check with your employer.  If you let your supervisor or others in your organization know you are pursuing your CPA license, they should be able to direct you to someone in your organization that can sign off on your experience. 
The key is to network.  It is important to find people in your field that you can connect with that will offer guidance as you pursue your career.  You may find someone in your network that could offer the one year experience or know someone that can help you, or you could find a colleague that is going through the same process. This will also expose you to the profession. 
2. What is the best way to prepare for test? The best study methods and exam prep courses etc.

The best way to study for the test is to study.  Every review program has a study schedule based on the number of weeks you will be studying for the exam. Use their guidelines.  Some people like the self-study programs and others like the live classes.  Take the practice exams, do the simulations, just focus on learning the material.  If you put in the time you will pass.  You can always research different study plans or methods on YouTube or through google.  

3. What is the career progression and growth potential in the CPA field and the future outlook for CPA’s?

Regarding career progression and growth potential as a CPA, I would say these are both positive.  I generally speak to people looking to go into public accounting, which is the area I work in, and there is a solid career progression.  Usually, we hire right out of college as a staff account, you work for 2 years and are promoted to a senior accountant, work 2 years and then promoted to a supervisor, then manager, senior manager, and partner. 
But there is growth.  Just the nature of the profession requires you to grow because you are always challenged with different opportunities.  I believe you can grow as much as you want to depending on how hard you are willing to work.  And the work is not just work in side the office, as you progress in public accounting you are expected to bring in clients and take on additional responsibilities which include managing jobs and supervising others.  Similar to any other job.
I am linking an article that I found on the web regarding the accounting profession.  I don’t keep up with the statistics, but I know the outlook is great and I still see students being hired and the courses continuing to be offered in the schools.  🙂
I also wanted to add, if you are considering going into public accounting or just in general, strive to excel in your classes and get involved with the on campus accounting societies.  Not just as a member, but take on a leadership role. Employers really like stellar students and leaders. 
I hope I answered your questions.  If not or if you have more, please feel free to email me. 
Marjorie McPike
Look out for more articles from Mrs. McPike via the Todd Capital blog in the near future.

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