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What is a CPA? What Does CPA Stand For? What Does a CPA Do?

February 10th, 2012

The acronym “CPA” stands for “Certified Public Accountant”. A CPA’s duties can be very diverse, but the typical CPA job description can include some or all of the following:

-Filing taxes for small businesses-Doing accounting tasks (such as financial planning and bookkeeping) and reporting for companies, government agencies, and/or other organizations.
-Performing auditing and analysis of financial records for corporations.
-Provide financial advice to clients, for example on budgeting and how to save money.

Becoming a fully-licensed CPA is not an easy undertaking. There are many requirements that need to be satisfied before one can be CPA licensed, including certain education and experience requirements, as well as the passing of the CPA exam.

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CPA Requirements

February 10th, 2012

Although the requirements to become a CPA are different for every country, and for every state (if you live in the States), they can be summarized in 4 words: Education, Examination, Ethics, and Experience. Below are some generalized CPA certification requirements.

Education – If you want to become a CPA, the minimum education level you need to have is a bachelor’s degree that includes at least 24 hours of accounting courses and 24 hours of business / management courses. A minimum of 150 college credits are also required. Having stated the minimum CPA education requirements, many larger companies nowadays will expect you to have a master’s.

Examination – This refers to the infamously difficult-to-pass CPA exam. The typical CPA exam pass rate is less than 50% – essentially less than half of those who take the exam will fail. To adequately prepare yourself for this exam, it is recommended that you use a good CPA review course (compare the different courses by clicking here).

Ethics – After you’ve passed the CPA exam, you will need to either take a course in ethics and/or take an ethics exam, depending on which state you wish to get licensed in.

Experience – Another crucial CPA requirement is a certain amount of actual work experience in the accounting field. Again, CPA experience requirements are different from state to state. You will need to have completed a certain CPE (continuing professional education) hours in a certain time frame. Check the website of your state’s board of accountancy for CPA licensure requirements by state.

For detailed CPA requirements by state, please see this website.

Average CPA Salary – How Much Does a CPA Make?

February 1st, 2012

One of the main reasons why many accountants choose to become qualified as a CPA is the higher salary associated with the CPA title. Just how much DO CPAs make? According to Payscale.com, the average CPA salary for a CPA working in the United States ranges from $39,668 – $89,973 per year.

This is a wide range, and the variance can be attributed to many factors, such as the particular company, job location, the candidate’s work experience and level of education, the industry the job is in, and the particular work position and duties.

If you are an accountant or accounting student considering getting CPA certified, you’d probably want to know how much MORE money you can expect to make after you become a CPA. The answer, according to ThisWayToCPA.com, is 10-15%.

Exactly how much is 10-15%? Well, if you’re a Jr. level public accountant with 1-3 years of work experience, working for a small firm, with your current salary being $50,000, then you can expect to be making $55,000 – $57,500 after getting your CPA license. And of course, as your work experience increases, your salary should increase accordingly, which would make the 10-15% translate into increasingly larger amounts.

You may also be interested in knowing the following trends with regards to CPA salary data for the United States:

-The average salary of a CPA varies from city to city, with New York paying the highest salaries ($63,067 being the median), followed by Chicago ($61,963), Los Angeles ($60,300), Boston ($60,248), Houston ($60,181), Dallas ($59,738), and Atlanta ($54,718).

-Generally speaking, CPAs earn more than the other types of accountants. For example, a senior tax accountant with 20+ years of work experience makes around $60,000 – $85,000 a year, whereas a CPA with the same level of experience makes $65,000 – $110,000 a year.
(Source: http://blogs.payscale.com/salary_report_kris_cowan/2010/04/cpa-salaries.html)

However, a salary increase isn’t the only perk you will enjoy as a fully licensed CPA. Aside from salary considerations, you should also know that being CPA licensed comes with it additional job security, as well as more career path choices, in your future working years. According to the AICPA, 75% of the currently working CPAs are expected to retire in the next 15 years, many of them occupying upper management positions such as CEO/CFO positions. What this means is that by getting your CPA early on, you’d be significantly increasing your chances of getting into management later.
You may have heard many people say that the CPA exam is very hard to pass, and therefore you may be tempted to put this monstrous task on hold. I’ve got one piece of advice for you: DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! The earlier you get started on preparing for the CPA exam, the less time and effort it will take you, because 1)the longer the you wait after graduating from school the more academic materials you will forget and have to relearn, and 2)the older you get the longer it will take you to study and learn materials, and your ability to retain the knowledge you learn will decrease with your age.
So, don’t put it off any longer!

You know you want to become a CPA, so you may as well start today by getting yourself a good, solid, and comprehensive CPA review course. Click here for recommendations of CPA review courses. To see one of the few genuine Yaeger CPA Review Reviews you can find online, go here.

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