certified public accountants
certified public accountants (cpas) play a vital role in many businesses. both small and the large businesses require the expertise of cpas in budgeting, auditing, and analyzing the financial health. cpas also perform other tasks such as bookkeeping and financial planning of the businesses.
cpa job description
cpas have many diverse responsibilities, but they generally perform the following tasks:
maintenance and auditing of company's financial record
supervision of budgets and financial management activities
evaluation of the accuracy in financial records
evaluation of all the expenses, revenues, investments, and their discrepancies
general financial management support to businesses
research and analysis of financial company's financial reports
preparation of a concrete financial plan in order to save money for the businesses
advisory services for clients to implement ethical financial practices
how to become a cpa
education and certification
individuals who aspire to be cpas should seek to earn a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or other related fields. some general courses offered in cpa programs include financial accounting, managerial accounting, and financial statement analysis. after completing a bachelor's degree program, individuals need to pass the cpa exam before they may start practicing accounting. cpa candidates are also required to complete 150 hours of college coursework. it is always advantageous for cpas to have a certain amount of work experience, and this may be accomplished through internships. cpas also need 120 hours of continuing education courses, once every three years. the purpose of the continuing education is to keep them updated with the changes in the profession and laws that take place over time.
online cpa programs are offered by many accredited universities. these programs provide a lot of flexibility and convenience for students, and they also save additional costs associated with on-campus education. students do not have to attend classes on-campus, instead they will get course material through video conferences or pre-recorded lectures downloaded from the university; and they will get and submit course material through emails, e-bulletin boards, or video conferences in one-on-one sessions with the professor.
the following personal qualities and skills may play a vital role in the professional success of cpas:
excellent communication and interpersonal skills
superior knowledge of accounting
attention to detail and high concentration
high ethical standards such as honesty and integrity
cpas usually work in offices, but some also work from home. for the purpose of auditing, accountants also have to travel to the client's place of business. most accountants work full-time and year round, not just during tax season. they have to work for longer hours for certain times of the year such as in the tax season or at the end of the budget year.
salary and benefits
the salaries of cpas vary according to their educational background, experience, and the company they are working in. cpas generally earn a salary around $50,000 annually. those who have one to three years of experience may be paid lower than the stated amount, and those working for bigger companies are likely to be paid higher. cpas who work for larger companies may also receive several benefits along with their salary; such as paid vacations, health and life insurance, and pension plans.