Competences of Becoming an Accountant Essay
What is accounting? Known as the “language of business,” accounting is the system of analyzing and verifying summarized business/financial transactions and reporting their results. Accounting is more than just adding numbers and being good at math. Accountants have to “ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly on time. ” (Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS], 2012, para. 1). There are several different types of accounting. These types include, auditors, forensic, public, tax professional, financial advisor, and consultants.
It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to become an accountant. You have to go through years of school to earn your degree, already have previous work experience in the area in which you want to work in, and be able to pass a series of exams in order to get your license. Let’s read more about it. “Early in your career, preferably while still in college, you will want to get an idea of what kind of accounting field you wish to enter. ” (Carey, 2005, p. 1). To become an accountant, one must have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Although, some jobs may hire you with just an Associate, most prefer you to have your Bachelors or Masters. While in college, there are a number of courses that I must take in order to earn my degree in accounting. Some of these courses vary by schools, “Accounting Info. Systems, Computer Info. Systems, Economics, Government Accounting, Marketing, Auditing, Cost Accounting, Finance, and Management. ” (“Accounting Major,” n. d. , para. 3). Upon graduation, “certification within a specific field of accounting improves job prospects. ” (BLS, 2012, para. 3).
Nearly every accounting major including the ones who have no intention of entering public accounting aspire to receive the CPA certificate. ” (Zlatkovich, 1958, p. 3). Thus, most accountants become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). CPAs are “trusted financial advisors who help individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their financial goal. ” (AICPA, 2013, para. 1). All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. The requirements to become a CPA vary from state to state, but all require education, exams, and experience.
A total of 150 semester hours must be met in order to take the CPA exam. The CPA exam (Uniform CPA exam) is a computerized test, with four sections, Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). In addition, to become a CPA, I must have at least 1-2 years experience in an accounting firm. After passing the exam, I have to wait for my congratulatory letter. Once I receive my letter, I will then have to sign a code of ethics.
After that is done, I will pay the necessary fees, and get my license. With a CPA, I can work from home, at an accounting firm, or for government agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Government Accountability Office (GAO). CPAs can make anywhere between $50,000 and $200,000 a year. It all depends on how much experience you have. The more experience you have, the more money you will make.
Besides becoming a CPA, there are many other areas of accounting that I may want to get into. Some of these areas don’t require you to have a CPA license, but they do ask that you take an exam so that you can be certified. There are a number of certifications that people can get with an Accounting degree, CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), CMA (Certified Management Auditor), or CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor). No matter what certification a person may pursue, and no matter the field, the one thing that is always the same is the qualities and skills.
Accountants must have analytical skills. “Accountants and auditors must be able to identify issues in documentation and suggest solutions. For example, public accountants use analytical skills in their work to minimize tax liability, and internal auditors do so when identifying fraudulent use of funds. ” (BLS, 2012, para. 14). Accountants must also have communication skills. They “must be able to listen carefully to facts and concerns from clients, managers, and others.
They must also be able to discuss the results of their work in both meetings and written reports. ” (BLS, 2012, para. 14). In addition, accountants must be detailed oriented and good in math. “Accountants and auditors must pay attention to detail when compiling and examining documentation and be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures, although complex math skills are not necessary. ” (BLS, 2012, para. 14). Lastly, all accountants and auditors must possess organizational skills. Strong organizational skills are important for accountants and auditors who often work with a range of financial documents for a variety of clients. ” (BLS, 2012, para. 14).
In conclusion “accounting majors enjoy business mathematics and the role accounting systems play in a modern business or governmental agency. ” (“Accounting Major,” n. d. , para. 2). There are many different areas of accounting that I can get into. I’m not quite sure yet which of these specialized fields I would like to go into, but I am certain that I want to get my CPA license, and work in public accounting.
Public accountants work for public accounting firms that performs auditing, tax, consulting and accounting services for other businesses, organizations or individuals. ” (“What Does a Public Accountant Do,” n. d. , para. 1). “Currently there are over 46,000 public accounting firms in the United States ranging in size from small local accounting practice to large international CPA firm. ” (AICPA, 2013, para. 1). To work in one of these firms, accountants must have a basic understanding of the accounting system, it’s laws, and how business organizations operate.