Author: Jenna Elkins, NASBA Communications and Digital Media Specialist
Infographic designed by: Anthony Cox, NASBA Graphic Designer
Posted: April 26, 2017

For CPA candidates, the month of April has been a tad wonky. After all, who launches the next version of the CPA Exam on April Fools’ Day and expects candidates to believe this is happening? As you now know, the changes to the CPA Exam did transition into the new format (no joke!). I think it’s time we all take a deep breath and remind ourselves why the CPA license is worth the rigorous journey, CPA Exam changes and all, to this prestigious title: certified public accountant (CPA).

Here are top five reasons to become a CPA (infographic below):

1. Prestige and Respect

Respected and admired by their peers, clients and the general population, CPAs are often viewed as an elite group of professionals. After years of academic and technical training – and passing the rigorous CPA Exam – a CPA’s ethics and character are further tested with several years of extensive on-the-job training. These individuals achieve a level of expertise and proficiency beyond that of a "standard" accountant, proudly earning them the designation of CPA.

2. Career Development

Conquering the CPA Exam and obtaining the CPA license allows individuals to stand out to potential employers, who are often impressed with accountants who earn this highly coveted title. Earning a CPA license demonstrates a commitment to the profession and often highlights potential candidates for leadership and management positions. A CPA license is also necessary for those who desire higher levels of authority and responsibility. It is not uncommon for seasoned accountants to return to school to earn a Master’s Degree in Accounting, so they can start the journey to become a licensed CPA.

3. Career Security

CPAs are in more demand than ever before – and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. One reason for increased demand for CPAs is that in the 1990s, there was a dip in accounting students when the Internet boomed and students chose to pursue jobs in IT and marketing. Also, the Sarbanes-Oxley act passed in 2002 and this act increased the need for qualified CPAs to enforce higher standards of public corporate accounting. Finally, Baby Boomers are retiring and leaving a tremendous gap in the market, which is also felt in the academic world as more and more accounting professors retire.

4. Job Satisfaction

CPAs are typically multi-talented professionals who perform a mix of highly-specialized job functions including auditing, business and management consulting, information technology (IT), international financial reporting and tax advisory services, to name a few. With the various paths available as a CPA, such as forensic CPA, this allows individuals to make a difference in areas, depending on the skills they’ve gained and the desires that allow them to be satisfied with their job. Especially with the Millennial generation of CPAs, the accounting profession offers these individuals unique advantages in giving back to society, which they greatly value.

Also, with the spread of globalization, the environment of accounting is changing. CPAs have more opportunities to travel the world and gain international business experience, especially those who are multi-lingual and multi-cultural.

5. Money and Benefits

When choosing a career, many people consider salary potential and benefits as important criteria, next to passion for the job. Luckily, for those considering the CPA license, there are numerous career paths individuals can follow – public accounting, government, non-profit, industry, etc. Being a CPA isn’t just a job, it’s actually a whole series of jobs and stepping stones that will culminate into an amazing career. If the diversity of what the CPA license can lead you to as far as career development isn’t convincing enough, here are the latest stats on CPA  earnings and employment:

  • You’ll make 10-15% more if you have your CPA license.
  • The Department of Labor and Statistics predicts employment of accountants and auditors will grow faster than average for all occupations through the years 2024.

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