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The requirements to be a certified accountant vary by location and profession; coursework and licensing requirements therefore also vary. To be certified in most locations, accountants generally need to pass examinations and complete a formal degree to belong to locally accredited accounting organizations. Certified accounting courses can be completed through university programs, self-study, or examination-specific tutorials. Many locations also require that accountants keep their education current by taking continued education courses offered by local accounting boards.
The education requirement for accountants varies internationally. In the U.S., for example, Certified Public Accountants (CPA) in most states need to have a bachelor’s degree, a number of accounting and business-related classes, and have passed the CPA exam in the state of practice. The U.K., however, does not require a bachelor’s degree for its Certified Chartered Accountants, although graduates are more likely to be accepted into accounting organizations with a degree.
Certified accountant status often requires a bachelor’s degree or higher. Undergraduate or community college programs in accounting do not certify accountants, but they provide much information for students about the profession and potential examination requirements. Certified accounting courses for undergraduate programs in accounting vary by location. Typical courses involved in undergraduate programs include cost accounting, auditing, and federal taxes on income.
Post-graduate programs specializing in accounting around the world also offer certified accounting courses that help link students to various accounting organizations. These courses can also help prepare students for licensing examinations. Courses followed in some MBA or MSc degrees include cost management, corporate governance, and fraud examination.
In addition to the various educational requirements for becoming a certified accountant, each specific profession has various location specific requirements as well. Accountants can specialize in international accounting, forensic accounting, auditing, and many more options. Many specializations have their own organizations, exams, and entry requirements.
Courses to help pass location- and profession-specific accounting examinations also exist outside of the university. Accredited courses can be private or public in nature, and they are occasionally suggested or offered by the test giving board, as material varies by test. These types of certified accounting courses are geared directly to the examination. These can be administered in a classroom, online, or through self-study.
Continuing education programs for those who are already certified accountants are often required. Local accounting organizations and education groups offer these programs. Certified accounting courses in continued education can be offered in conferences, online, or via self-study. Topics are updated frequently, and requirements vary by location and profession.