Is It REALLY Worth It To Become A CPA?

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Is It REALLY Worth It To Become A CPA

You can probably guess where I am going to go with this, but humor me a little as I go through some of my rationale. Yes, I am a CPA, and yes, I believe it makes a huge difference in your career. But rather than just stating my basic opinion on the question, I wanted to outline some of the reasons why I continue to believe that achieving the Certified Public Accountant certification if at all possible truly is a wise choice.

This certainly isn’t all-inclusive, but some of the reasons for my strong belief in this area are…

  • To state the obvious… better pay. While being a CPA doesn’t automatically mean you will make more money everywhere, in most places it does. Your career advancement depends on many more factors in addition to this, but having a certification is definitely one of the major factors that employers consider when promoting or hiring in the first place.
  • Better job prospects. Having your CPA certification gives you an additional qualification that you’ve had to earn. It’s not something you can purchase, and it’s not something you can simply invest time to receive without much effort. Passing the exam takes dedication, which is a trait that employers value.
  • Lifetime earnings. Since generally your future pay raises and job offers take into consideration what you have made previously, at least in part, having a CPA certification and starting to earn more affects your lifetime earnings exponentially as time goes on.
  • Cross-applicability. There are many other high-quality certifications for specific areas in the profession, but generally the CPA certification is considered to be the most cross-applicable. For instance, a CIA certification may be desired by an employer for an Internal Auditor role, but most employers will accept the CPA as well. Certified Management Accountants are excellent fits for industry management positions, but generally most employers will consider a CPA to be on equal footing for the role. Regardless of whether or not that is true, that is how the market works currently. Getting your CPA certification opens up more possibilities than some of the other certifications.
  • Professional respect. Regardless of what the reason for this is, it’s difficult to argue against the fact that in general we as a society tend to have respect for people in certain professions, and accounting is one of those professions. And since much of the general public outside of accountants themselves have at least heard of a “CPA”, becoming certified can benefit you in that way as well.
  • No ceiling. The most cruel truth in all of this is that it’s easiest to pass the CPA exam when you are fresh out of school, and it’s at precisely this time that the certification doesn’t seem to matter quite as much. As you go further in your career though, it makes more and more of a difference and eventually a certified individual is preferred for the most prestigious and rewarding positions you may consider. Yet the longer it has been since you finished college, the more difficult it is to pass the exam. Passing the exam effectively removes the ceiling that you will otherwise encounter later in your career. Pass the exam as soon as you can.

I realize I’m biased on this topic, and I’m sure there are differing views in the marketplace. Based on my own experience in my career, both initially as a professional accountant and then later as an accounting-employment professional, it’s hard to argue with how much of a game-changer becoming certified as a CPA can be.

I hope this list has given you some insight. Feel free to email me with any thoughts or feedback at [email protected]

Have a great week!

Mark Goldman CPA