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4 Reasons You Should Become a CPA

Becoming an accountant isn’t very difficult. All it takes is some basic education and training and you can get your foot into the door of the industry. But becoming a CPA? Well, that requires a lot of hard work and discipline. And the benefits reflect the rigor.

What is a CPA?

While the general public often throws around the terms interchangeably, those within the business world and accounting industry know that there’s a big difference between being an accountant and being a CPA. While all CPAs are accountancy, not all accountants are CPAs.

The CPA designation stands for Certified Public Accountant. And while the primary differences between CPAs and accountants are education and experience, there are many more opportunities extended to the latter.

CPAs are seen as well-respected business leaders, decision-makers, and strategic business advisors. They don’t just balance books or analyze spreadsheets. CPAs often act as consultants on complex issues involving taxes and accounting. This allows them to work shoulder to shoulder with executives, business owners, and important stakeholders.

4 Reasons to Become a CPA

In order to become a CPA, you must meet strict education requirements and pass a rigorous four-part exam that’s widely recognized as having one of the lowest pass-fail rates of any professional exam in the world. But don’t let the challenge scare you off. Here are some reasons to pursue this exclusive designation:

  1. Increased Earning Potential

CPAs earn 15 percent more than traditional accountants and hold higher positions within their organizations. That might not seem like a massive premium, but when you add it up over an entire career, it’s a staggering sum.

The median report pay of an accountant without a CPA designation is $73,560, while CPAs earn around $84,594. That’s roughly $11,000 in additional salary per year (and that’s just the median). Using these round numbers, a CPA will make $330,000 more than an accountant over the course of his career. But in reality, a CPA’s salary is going to grow along with their experience. After 20 years, the average CPA earns $119,000 per year (while the top 10 percent earn $150,000 or more).

If you assume that a CPA earns at least $119,000 over their final 10 years in the business, this means the CPA will earn an average of $565,000 more than an accountant over their entire career. And if that CPA is able to leverage their designation to secure a job with a large firm, the difference could be in the seven-figure range.

  1. Greater Prestige and Respect

In addition to the money, CPAs benefit from having a designation that goes before them. Business leaders and peers highly respect and admire CPAs. They’re viewed as being elite professionals with a high degree of character and ethics. If you apply for a job and have a CPA designation, your resume automatically moves to the top of the pile. It carries that much weight and prestige.

  1. Career and Job Security

While accountants might be a dime a dozen, CPAs are in an elite class where they’re constantly in high demand. And if recent trends hold true, they’ll be in even greater demand in the decades ahead as Baby Boomers retire and leave a massive gap behind. This gives young CPAs the opportunity to step in and climb the industry ladder at a much faster pace than their predecessors (when there was greater competition).

  1. Job Variety

As a CPA, you’ll never find yourself boxed into a dead-end job. You might not always like the job you’re in, but there will never be a shortage of diverse job opportunities to choose from. Not only can you choose to work in a particular industry, but you can also pursue a career working for public companies, private companies, non-profits, or even government agencies. Whether you want a 9-to-5 office job or something exciting like forensic accounting, diverse opportunities abound.

Elevate Your Career

If you’re tired of being a pencil pusher in a cubicle farm and want to do more with your career, then you should at least consider becoming a CPA. It’s a challenging road that requires thousands of hours of studying and preparation, but it’s also quite rewarding. If you give it a shot, you won’t regret it.


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