You might say that certified public accountants have a left brain profession requiring exceptional attention to detail, not to mention a very specific set of skills that make them able to calculate numerical data quickly. Furthermore, they know how to use advanced software that streamline processes of auditing, tax preparation and other tasks.
These high profile accountants are trained to handle the most difficult of tracking tasks, which requires certification. The good news is that once you do achieve a higher career level, the job market will open up.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 15.7 percent growth for accountants over the next decade. This is actually a faster rate than the average career choice, and means about 190,700 new jobs opening up.
Breaking Into the Career Field
The average salary is between $62,000 and $109,000, while the lowest end is $39,000 annually. Trends and statistical data suggest that the best compensated workers in the CPA profession work within the federal government, followed by those in the securities and commodities sub-field.
Of course, location is also a major factor and those located around New York, San Jose and other metropolitan locations are sure to get the most business and the highest paying clients.
In general, more education is favorable for the CPA career path, starting with a bachelor’s degree but ending with the official Certified Public Accountant title. This requires completing a uniform exam created by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Before you can take the exam, at least 150 hours if not more will be required (and this differs from state to state).
In addition, more CPAs are finding open doors when they go one step farther and complete a Certified Management Accountant exam by the Institute of Management Accountants.
Looking to the Future of CPA Jobs
CPAs will always be in demand, but the market does seem to be shrinking more non-certified accountants. However, education is no easy task, considering that workers have to take continuing education classes each year.
Troublesome yes, but it does ensure that they stay compliant with state law, and thus that employers can entrust them with an enormous level of responsibility. Not only can you expect a more productive interview, but employers will be more inclined to give you the salary you deserve.
Another angle is to specialize in a sub-field of accounting, such as forensic work or managerial services. This puts you in a special consultation role and gives you the leverage needed to charge more and to build a base of clients that rely upon your unique expertise.
Last but not least, don’t forget to brush up on basic accounting skills, particularly before an interview. Employers need to know that you have a solid foundation of accounting practices and will not have to be held by the hand as you delve into these complex procedures.
The job market is inviting and lucrative for students who apply themselves and because masters of their chosen field.