what are certified public accountants?
certified public accountants (cpa) are professionals trained in the field of accounting. they are highly versatile and their skill set is applicable in a variety of industries - from the government to individual clients. they offer services ranging from financial audits, financial planning for individuals or groups, and tax management. cpas are also qualified to conduct audits on publicly traded us companies. becoming a cpa may be difficult because it requires students to pass a series of examinations. however, the payoffs in this field are also quite significant.
what areas may i specialize in?
while the cpa licensing exam allows you to assume the title and responsibilities, there are areas which you could focus your expertise in as well. for instance, students could become internal auditors. these professionals review the complete financial information of a company and evaluate it for internal consistency. they also use their expertise to identify areas where expenses are being wasted or mismanaged, and point out instances of potential fraud.
another area of specialization is managerial accounting. professionals in this field are responsible for preparing financial statements which managers and senior administrators may use to make informed business decisions. a large part of this job requires preparing financial statements which could be relied upon to strategize for the future of the company. it is also possible to focus your learning on taxation. as the name suggests, professionals will be working to ensure that all a company's transactions are free of legal errors, and the company is fully compliant in paying its taxes. environmental accounting is another area that a cpa may specialize, and this area involves reviewing a company's investments in eco-friendly initiatives and managing all audits of the company.
how do i become a cpa?
in order to become a certified public accountant, you will first have to meet the pre-requisites. this involves completing at least 150 hours of coursework in the field of accounting, which could be 30 more than the typical four year bachelor's degree. many students choose to take accelerated programs, completing an undergraduate and graduate degree in accounting in a span of 5 years and passing the requirement for the cpa exam as well.
however, the nature of the cpa exam is quite tough. it is spread over four modules, each lasting a minimum of 3 hours. these modules include: auditing and attestation; regulation; financial accounting and reporting; and business environment and concepts. in order to become comfortable with the test and help prepare, students could take preparatory cpa course. however, for working professionals, this may be unfeasible. as a result, online cpa courses may be a better alternative.
what can i learn in online cpa courses?
these courses help you prepare for the intensive exam by focusing your learning on the specific areas tested. online courses are convenient because the material is accessible online, which may eliminate the hassle of going to a campus and taking classes. students could also choose online cpa courses specific to the module which they are interested in improving.