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How to Become a CPA

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Becoming a CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is not a simple feat.  There is a lot of education and training, as well as testing that an accountant must undergo in order to become a CPA.  Logically, the first step in becoming a CPA is to have a desire to go into accounting.  The next step is to ensure that you have the aptitude to be a CPA; that is, you must have an aptitude for math and numbers, as well as organization.  A CPA candidate should also have a good sense of moral values and business ethics.

Once you have determined that you are a good candidate for an accounting career, you need to determine if becoming a CPA is the right accounting career for you.  To do this, you must understand what a CPA does.  A CPA can be employed individually or within a public accounting firm in tax or audit services.  A CPA is, of course, a public accountant.  That means that the CPA provides services on a fee basis, basically meaning that the CPA works for the public in general rather than a specific corporation or company.  This can translate into variety in your CPA career.

CPAs make an average of $36,625 per year as a starting salary within local firms.  Within national firms, a CPA can have a starting salary of around $44,375 per year.  These figures may not seem fantastic, but for starting salaries they are very competitive.  A CPA can easily start out making enough money to be considered middle-class income level, which is not a bad place to start in today's society.

Once you have decided that you want to become a CPA, you must attend a college or university to obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting.  All states within the United States of America have a Board of Accountancy or similar department or agency that lays down the requirements for an accountant to become a certified CPA.  These requirements will tell you how many credit hours of your education must be in accounting related courses in order to become a CPA.

Once you have completed your degree, the Board of Accountancy will want you to undergo testing to see if you can become a certified CPA.  This testing may include ethics examinations as well as examinations to test your knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles, accounting laws, and accounting regulations for your state, as well as tax law and principles.

Once you have passed all CPA examinations, some Boards of Accountancy may require you to provide them with references.  These references should be people that can attest to your work ethic and moral character.  These aspects of a CPA are very important, because CPAs have a lot of opportunity to commit fraud and embezzlement crimes.  Therefore, only CPAs who have demonstrated good moral character and a sense of ethics is allowed to receive a CPA license.

Once all requirements are met, your state will issue you a license to practice as a CPA.  You can then take this license to any firm and apply for a position as a CPA.  If you prefer, you could start your own small firm and practice as a CPA alone.  For more information about becoming a CPA, you should contact your Board of Accountancy or local college or university today!

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