Studying accounting is proving to be a great career field for incoming international students. Students who study accounting often decide to go for further education like a master’s degree, or CPA designation. The CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant and is a major designation to show expertise among accountants in the US.
What is a CPA?
A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a designation reserved for accountants in the US who pass the CPA exam. This designation shows an expertise in the field. To become a CPA in the US, a student must pass the exam and meet other state requirements such as gaining a certain amount of work experience or furthered education. The CPA licenses accountants to provide their services to the general public. The CPA designation is taken very seriously, as its requirements maintain that only the most knowledgeable accounts can qualify. The designation is usually used behind a person’s name to signify the level of experience, and is often a punishable offense if it is used without actually passing the exam and requirements.
The CPA Exam Requirements
International students who want to become an expert in accounting and achieve the CPA designation will first need to pass the CPA exam. The exam is certainly not easy and tests many of the most important accounting principles. The exam is called the Uniform CPA exam, and the eligibility to actually take the exam depends on the exact state the student plans to test in. There are three main requirements for taking the CPA Exam. They are categorized as the 3 E’s: Exam, Education, and experience. One of the main qualifications to sit for the exam is advanced education. Undergraduate degrees carry 120 credit hours. The CPA exam usually requires 150 credit hours. This means students will have to achieve 30 hours of graduate level coursework. It most cases, an international student will take the 30 extra hours and then complete a few extra classes to earn a master’s degree in accounting. The exam also tests some of the laws of the state including contract and state laws and often tests the knowledge of federal laws as well. The third requirement to sit for the exam is usually some type of experience in the field of accounting. While not mandatory in all states, some states require that a CPA candidate have 2 years of work experience in accounting or tax preparation. Some states only require general experience in accounting.
Learn What a CPA Does
While the main function is to offer public accounting services, the CPA designation can allow accountants to do many other things. One of the main functions of a CPA is auditing, either for a small or large business. Auditors go through financial statements and make sure there are no discrepancies. Many CPAs go on to the executive levels for companies, as either CFOs or CEOs. In addition, many CPAs work in the tax field working income taxes and federal and state taxes for small or mid-sized companies. Other roles of CPAs include financial analysts, financial planners, forensic accountants, Management consulting, estate planning and corporate finance.
The Many Benefits of Becoming a CPA
Certified public accountants are at the top of their field. Students interested in studying accounting should give serious consideration about getting the CPA in the US. In order to grow in an accounting career a CPA designation is almost necessary. In addition, CPAs will usually get paid higher. Those with a master’s degree and CPA will see their salary go up even higher. In addition, being a CPA in the US will open the door for so many more career opportunities. Accounting professional are a hot commodity, and those with an advanced degree and CPA designation will be on the top of the list for most employers. Certified public accountants in the US have a lot of responsibility, but being at the top of your field is a great feeling! International students interested in studying accounting will find that becoming a CPA and graduating with a degree in accounting will allow them to chase there dream, whatever it may be, because it is such a versatile career and skillset.