What Do Accountants Do? A Look at the Life of a CPA

What Do Accountants Do? A Look at the Life of a CPAHave you ever wondered what accountants really do? Accountants have various job opportunities available to them outside of the general pencil-pusher cliché — especially when they opt to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

To become a CPA there are strict educational requirements that must be met. A prospective CPA must hold a bachelor’s degree at minimum and must be prepared to pass the exam given by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Students preparing for the exam must first understand the nature of the test*. The four sections of the CPA Exam include:

  • Audit and Attestation: This portion is the lengthiest part of the exam, consisting of topics such as performing audits, evaluating evidence, professional responsibilities, communicating audit findings, and ethics.
  • Financial Accounting and Reporting: This section of the exam is four hours long and covers typical financial statements, specific transactions, governmental accounting and non-profit accounting.
  • Regulation: Tests candidates on tax ethics, business law, federal tax procedures, and more.
  • Business Environment and Concepts: Covers corporate governance, information systems and strategic planning.

Students interested in becoming a CPA should learn more about the requirements needed to take the CPA Exam in Florida.

Once You are Certified

After one has obtained his/her certification, there are many career opportunities that open up, such as pursuing a career as a Tax Accountant, an Auditor, or working as a Public/Private sector Accountant. Here are some other career paths one might consider:

  • Financial Analyst
  • Business Systems Analyst
  • Tax Accounting
  • Forensic Accounting
  • Cost Accounting

Every CPA should expect to work hard and see great outcome in the companies they assist. Let’s take a closer look at what certain Accounting Careers may be like:

Financial Analyst

A Financial Analyst identifies key trends and offer financial insight on investments that a company has made. As the name implies, these CPA’s analyze financial data and prepare reports on the findings to their respective companies to illustrate technical information in a more digestible manner.

Business Systems Analyst

A Business Systems Analyst assesses computers and programs used by companies in order to advise businesses on ways to make certain processes more efficient and employees more productive. These CPA’s must have knowledge of both financial and business systems in order to analyze the best course for Information Technology implementation, upgrades, and enhancements.

Tax Accountant

Tax Accountants assist clients and companies with their income taxes and other financial statements. A career in Tax Accounting is a great example of how one’s life can be altered by their career. This is because, typically, tax accountants will have normal office hours until tax season when they can be expected to work longer hours to prepare client’s paperwork. They are also expected to stay updated on any changes in the law that may affect their clients.

Forensic Accounting

A Forensic Accountant performs a number of duties to investigate possible financial crimes. Their job is to trace funds and identify assets for recovery. Researching possible security frauds and various other possible crimes like embezzlement is another duty of a forensic accountant.

Cost Accountant

A Cost Accountant is responsible for advising management on the effectiveness of a business strategy or course of action the company will take. This means an accountant will review data from ledgers and then record inventory and its costs.

Job Outlook

As one can see, there are numerous paths a CPA may take. No matter the direction one takes, the great news is that the projected job outlook is said to grow 16% between 2012 and 2020 due to the increased inspection resulting from new financial regulations that businesses need help up keeping. This is faster than average. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that most CPA’s received a salary between $41,254 and $104,155 as of November 2013.

Ready to Start a Career? More About the CPA Exam*

Florida National University (FNU) courses are specially crafted to give students the knowledge, understanding, and confidence needed to pass the exam, but graduation from our programs does not enable students to immediately become a CPA. Students are to be cautioned that our Bachelor in accounting degree alone will not satisfy the eligibility requirements for the Uniform Certified Public Accounting Exam or to practice as a CPA in the State of Florida.

Florida National University: Preparing You for the Future

FNU is dedicated to providing students with a solid academic foundation. Whether you choose to pursue that education via a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting or through another one of our programs, we will do everything in our power to prepare you for your future career—including through our job placement services. If you are ready to get started on the path to your Accounting degree apply today!

Works Cited

“ACFE – Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.” Career Path. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
“Business Systems Analyst.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
“Cost Accountant Salary (United States).” Cost Accountant Salary (United States). N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
“CPA: Employment Outlook and Career Profile.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
“How to Become a CPA.” How To Become a CPA. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
“Tax Accountant.” N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
“Top Jobs for CPAs.” – INSIGHT Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.

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