How to Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Are you good with numbers and consider yourself a perfectionist? If so, then becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) may be the right career path for you. With a CPA license, you will be able to provide advice to clients on tax and planning, management and consulting, audit and assurance, as well as forensic accounting.  You must be precise and have a strong ethical compass. So, what does a CPA do?

What Does a CPA Do?

A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an expert in accounting and finance who provides important financial services to businesses. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they:

  • Examine financial statements and following General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) to ensure that they are accurate and properly comply
  • Ensure that a company’s taxes are paid properly and on time
  • Inspect accounting systems for efficiency and identify potential risks for fraud
  • Create and distribute financial records to internal and external stakeholders
  • Create reports, identify risks, and make recommendations to management
  • Identify cost reduction, revenue enhancement, and profits opportunities

How Do You Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)?

A great way to start on the path to becoming a CPA is by attending a Bachelor of Science in Accounting program. To become a CPA, you’ll need to meet the requirements set by the state of Florida. Generally, this includes passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination, completing a set number of hours of college education, and gaining at least one year of experience in accounting. You’ll also be required to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain your license.

What is the Core Curriculum in an Accounting Bachelor Program?

There are many subjects you will learn about during the Bachelor of Science in Accounting program: They include:

Principles of Accounting

A Principles of Accounting course introduces you to the basics of financial accounting, including the recording, classifying, and summarizing of financial transactions in the general ledger. This course provides an overview of the accounting cycle, including the income statement and the balance sheet. It also teaches about the principles of depreciation, capital assets, and financial statement analysis. You learn to analyze and interpret financial statements and them to make decisions. You also study the legal and ethical implications of accounting and how to apply accounting standards in the business world.

Managerial Accounting

A Managerial Accounting course focuses on developing financial and business models to help managers make informed decisions. The course covers budgeting and forecasting, cost analysis, financial reporting, and performance measurement.

Business Law

A Business Law course introduces you to the legal aspects of operating a business, including contracts, regulatory compliance, and intellectual property. You learn how to identify, prevent, and address legal issues that may arise in the course of running a business. You learn about contract law and how to use it to protect your business interests. The business law course covers the basics of corporate and business taxation, as well as legal issues that can arise in areas such as employment, consumer protection, and environmental law. The course also focuses on dispute resolution, securities law, and international law.

Principles of Microeconomics

Principles of Microeconomics course teaches you the principles of supply and demand, consumer and producer behavior, pricing, and market structures. The course helps you understand economic behavior and markets that will help business owners to make informed decisions. It also covers economic competition, pricing and production strategies, market structures, and the effects of taxes, subsidies, and government intervention on markets.

Ethics and Social Responsibility

Ethics and social responsibility are two closely related concepts. Ethics refers to the moral principles and values that guide an individual’s or organization’s behavior. Social responsibility is the idea that businesses should strive to have a positive impact on society and the environment. When an organization takes it upon itself to act in a way that is socially responsible, it is demonstrating its commitment to ethical practices.

Income Tax Accounting

This course reviews income tax and helps to prepare you for a career in taxation and accounting. In this course, you learn about taxes, the rules, and regulations that govern them, and the process of filing taxes. You also learn how to calculate taxes owed and how to manage taxes due. Additional topics include how to prepare tax documents, how to identify and address tax issues, and how to reconcile income statements.

Business Communication

A business communication course focuses on the development of communication skills for the workplace. It teaches you how to effectively communicate your ideas, opinions, and intentions in a professional manner. It reviews writing emails, crafting presentations, and delivering speeches, as well as understanding how to read and interpret body language. The business communication course focuses on interpersonal communication, including networking and team building, as well as public speaking. This course also reviews conflict resolution and how to effectively manage teams and collaborate with others in the workplace.

Intermediate Accounting

An intermediate accounting course covers financial statement analysis, budgeting, taxes, and accounting principles. It also introduces you to accounting software, like QuickBooks. In addition to the accounting topics, you also learn about the auditing process and the ethical considerations of the accounting profession.

Government and Institutional Accounting

A government and institutional accounting course teaches you about the unique accounting environment of institutions and organizations, as well as budgeting, financial management, financial reporting, and audits. In this course, you learn about the different types of financial statements used in the public sector, the specific accounting standards and regulations that must be followed to comply with government regulations. You will also learn about the financial instruments used in government and institutional accounting that include grants, contracts, and donations.


An auditing accounting course teaches you how to detect and report errors, irregularities, and fraud in an organization’s financial statements. You learn the principles of auditing, including risk assessment and control systems, audit procedures, and the interpretation of accounting data. In this course, you learn the legal and ethical requirements around conducting audits and the reporting of results. The course also covers the use of analytical techniques to detect fraud and other financial reporting issues, as well as the use of technology in auditing.

Corporate Finance

A corporate finance course focuses on the financial aspects of running a business. It explores financial planning, capital management, and corporate governance. Through a corporate finance course, you learn how to make decisions that impact the bottom line. This includes understanding financial statements, analyzing markets, and managing risk. You also explore the principles of finance and financial management that are applicable to any type of business. This course focuses primarily on taxation, mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, and investment banking.

Accounting Information Systems

An Accounting Information Systems course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of how to use Accounting Information Systems (AIS) to manage business resources and processes. During this course, you learn how to design, implement, and evaluate AISs. You study how to use software to analyze financial data and make decisions. You can then identify the various types of accounting information systems, including the hardware and software required for them to function properly. The course will also review internal control systems, data integrity, and auditing.

Management Information Systems

A Management Information Systems (MIS) course helps you understand and leverage technology to effectively manage business operations. This course focuses on data management, systems analysis, software engineering, network security, and project management. During this course, you learn how to use various software applications, create and design databases, and effectively manage information systems. This course will also review your ability to develop business models and strategies, as well as how to analyze and interpret data.

Strategic Management

A Strategic Management course is an advanced business course that gives you the tools necessary to implement strategies that drive organizational success. It focuses on the analysis of external and internal environments, the development of strategies to compete in these environments, and the implementation of these strategies. The course also focuses on organizational change, risk management, and performance metrics.

Want to Learn More?

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree provides students with a solid academic foundation for entry into professional careers in accounting-related areas of business and government. The program also prepares students to pursue advanced education in accounting and accounting-related fields. Following completion of this degree, students must adhere to all the eligibility requirements t to sit for the Uniform Certified Public Accounting exam in the state of Florida.

If you are interested in accounting, let Florida National University answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more about our accounting bachelor and associate degree programs.