There are endless careers to choose from, but becoming a certified public accountant (CPA) is one of the best careers to pursue. Here are six compelling reasons to pursue your CPA license and make a career as an accountant.
1. You can pass the CPA exam in 18 months or less
Once you sign up for the exam, you have 18 months to pass all four sections, although many people don’t require the full 18 months. Those who pass the CPA exam quickly were prepared for the test by taking a CPA exam prep course, and they studied the material for a few hundred hours.
Although it’s rare, some people manage to pass the CPA exam in 6-8 months. Some even claim to have passed the exam in just three months, but those people tend to have prior experience studying for a previous exam they failed.
If you study hard and stay focused, you could pass your CPA exam in a year and a half – that’s hardly any time at all.
Each state has a Board of Accountancy that sets rules for how long you’ll need to work with a licensed CPA to get your license. Generally speaking, you can expect to work with a CPA for about two years before you’ll be eligible to get licensed.
2. You can specialize in any industry
Just like any other professional service, you can choose to specialize in a particular industry. For example, you can specialize in the entertainment industry, big tech, or the restaurant industry.
Each industry will have unique circumstances that create a unique need around accounting. Once you establish yourself in a specialty industry, you’ll know those needs from the inside out. That alone will give you an advantage when you’re searching for new clients.
3. You can start your own business as a contractor
Unlike some professions, it’s easy to become a contractor as a CPA and start your own business. You don’t need to be connected with an existing business or organization. All you need is the ability to generate clients.
If being a contractor isn’t appealing, you could always start your own accounting firm and hire other CPAs to work for your company. You could eventually retire as a working CPA and keep running your business for income.
4. CPA salaries are high even at entry-level
According to data published by Accounting Today, the average CPA earns $70,000 per year. With 20 years of experience, you could earn around $150,000 per year. Entry-level CPAs earn between $40,000-$65,000 per year, which isn’t a bad place to start.
As you gain experience, employers will usually increase your salary along with your responsibilities. After 1-3 years, you could be earning between $52,000 and $87,000 per year.
5. You can work remotely for an online outsourced tax prep firm
Many accounting firms outsource their tax preparation to a remote team of CPAs spread out across the world. As an independent contractor, you could work remotely for one of these firms and get paid well to prepare income tax returns.
Once you get into the swing of tax return preparation, the work will be easy. You’ll meet challenges when someone has a new or complex tax situation, but once you prepare enough similar returns, it will get easier.
Outsourced accounting firms usually pay CPAs a flat fee per tax return, depending on the level of complexity. It’s a great job opportunity whether you’re seeking full-time or part-time remote work.
6. You don’t have to pass the exam on the first try
Naturally, you’ll want to pass the CPA exam on the first try, but you don’t have to. If you don’t pass the first time, it’s okay. You can study more, review your CPA prep course again, and be better prepared for the next round of testing.
Not everyone passes on the first try, and that doesn’t stop them from trying again. For example, a popular YouTuber named “JJ the CPA” talks about how he sat for the exam three times before passing. He finally passed, got his license, and knows he made the right choice.
If you love numbers, consider becoming a CPA
If you’re looking for a career dealing with finances, you have every reason to become a CPA. The money is good, the work is rewarding, and you’ll develop skills you can use for the rest of your life.