Category: 

How do I Become an Accountant?

A CPA can work on a wide range of accounting tasks.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
In the US, men comprise 81% of lighting strike victims.  more...

October 22 ,  1962 :  US President John F. Kennedy ordered an air and naval blockade in Cuba.  more...

If you want to become an accountant, there are a number of steps to take, some of which are dependent on what type of accountant you want to be. A certified public accountant (CPA), for example, can perform a wide range of accounting tasks, while people who are not certified may find their working environment restricted by law. You may also want to think about specializations within the accounting field, such as bookkeeping, tax preparation, or auditing, and you should find out what the individual requirements to work as an accountant in your region are. An accounting association is a good resource for that information.

If possible, lay the groundwork to become an accountant in high school by taking math courses and focusing on economics and accounting in electives as well. In some schools, students are offered the opportunity to take internship positions in the community; take advantage of this by working for an accountant or an accounting firm to see if you like the work environment and to get an idea of how the job feels.

Ad

In college, you will need to take accounting courses. As a general rule, a CPA must have a four year degree, while accountants without certification can get by with a two year degree. There are a lot of advantages to becoming a CPA, however; you will be able to work in a wider variety of fields, for example, and you can command a higher salary. You can increase your salary even further by pursuing a master's degree in accounting, typically with a focus on a specific area.

To become a CPA, you will need to take a certification exam. The exam tests your knowledge of the law and of basic mathematical concepts to ensure that you will be a competent accountant. When you become an accountant and pursue certification, you can ensure your clients that you are skilled and able to handle their accounting issues, and many people feel more comfortable working with certified accountants.

Once you become an accountant, you can choose to open your own accounting firm, or to work within a larger firm. Many accountants also choose to join professional associations to keep up with developments in the accounting field and to network with like-minded people. Although some people are under the impression that accountants are boring people with uninteresting lives, this field can actually be quite interesting and extremely varied; you can work anywhere from the Internal Revenue Service to a private office run out of your home as an accountant.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon955962
Post 39

So to be an accountant you should study math as well as take courses? Yeah, that really helps a sixth grader.

anon348635
Post 37

I have a postgrad degree in accounting and finance, but in another country. What do I need to do to become an accountant in the UK?

brscpa
Post 36

For those of you under the age of 18 who are looking to get started as an accountant, it's going to be pretty tough for you to get any direct experience until you reach at least the age of 18. Public accounting generally involves making decisions that have legal and ethical consequences. Until you considered an adult (no longer a minor as defined by the law where you reside), it is generally difficult for someone to make a contract with you.

However some of the skills that you should be looking to acquire include: Microsoft Excel, balancing the checkbook, and bank reconciliations, volunteers and assist in the IRS' VITA program (they probably won't let you do tax returns, but you can hang out and help, and begin to pick up what you can).

In the United States, generally speaking, one needs about 150 college credit hours to become a certified public accountant. If you're wanting to get started very early, you will want to take bookkeeping classes. Bookkeeping will give you many of the fundamental skills you will need for learning accounting.

anon340349
Post 35

I am 23 years old and I have completed my m.com. I want to know how I can become a certified accountant.

anon328633
Post 33

Is accounting a better career than having an Office Administration degree?

anon326158
Post 32

I'm 19 years old and I would like to become a CA in the near future. I'm currently doing the AAT programme in the university of technology. Next year I want to study cost and management accounting. Can I still be a CA if I can still further my studies by doing a masters, or should I go to the university to do Bcom Acconting?

anon322197
Post 31

How much is the cost to study that career?

anon294337
Post 29

I am 14 years old and want to be an accountant.

How many years of college do I need?

anon276973
Post 27

I am 14 years old and I want to be an accountant, but the problem is I didn't get in p-o-a nor p-o-b. I am good at maths -- can't say 100 percent, but I am good, so can you give me advice about that?

anon246278
Post 26

I am 15 years old and I would like to become an accountant by starting to study and practice at this age. Can you tell if I can start at this age or am I too young?

anon242399
Post 24

I'm 19 years old and I want to become a accountant. I just don't know what to take and where I would go for upgrading and where to take a course for accounting. Could you be of help to guide me to the right place to do so? I am an honor student looking for advice.

anon197678
Post 23

So, in order to find out what I need to do to become an accountant, I need to find out what I need to do to become an accountant. Gee thanks.

anon196666
Post 22

To the 15 year old aspiring to be an accountant. There really isn't much you can do in high school to pursue accounting. If your high school offers an accounting class, take it. Other than that there isn't much else to do.

To clear up requirements about becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), one must complete 150 hours of credit in college. This means to become a CPA you must take four years in college (120 hours) and also a year of Graduate School. After that if you desire to work for a CPA firm you must pass the CPA exam which is made up of four sections: financial accounting, Audit, Taxation, and ethics.

anon186673
Post 21

I am 15 years old an want to become an accountant. What steps should i take?

anon152911
Post 19

how do i become an accountant? what are the qualifications needed?

anon150418
Post 18

I'm 15 and I'm taking correspondence for accounting, and I.T as well. Some teachers say that Geography links to accounting? Does it?

anon133726
Post 17

how do i find a job with a law firm while going to school for business in accounting to get my cpa license?

anon131799
Post 15

What courses do i have to do after a three year degree to become an accountant.

anon131686
Post 14

i am 15 years of age, and i want to become an accountant. i have started my course i have passed my level 1 in AAT and i am not studying level 2, is there anyone who can advise me in what to do next?

anon101444
Post 11

I would like to learn sage, quick books, Myob, focus and Peachtree. So can you tell me where and how can I learn this?

anon98211
Post 10

I'm 15 years of age, and still in high school. I want to become an accountant. I just don't know how to get started at my age

anon96424
Post 9

I am 16 years old, still in school and i want to become a accountant. how do i start at my age? Or even start practising?

anon91747
Post 8

What subject do i choose to go to london from pakistan? Please tell me a course related in the accounting field.

anon86290
Post 7

what subjects do i need to chose for my gcse and a-level?

anon70105
Post 5

what subjects do i need to take in college?

anon41075
Post 3

well in pursuing a diploma programme, what qualifications do i need and what fields of jobs i will be eligible for?

brscpa
Post 2

Hello manavdeep18: Your question is about chartered accountants. While they are much like a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), they are not exactly the same.

CPA is a designation in the United States. Chartered Accountant is a title given in various countries, and can mean different things in each country.

manavdeep18
Post 1

is it necessary to have math as a compulsory subject to become charted accountant in +1 and +2 commerce?

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email