Want to Know How to Become an Accountant
No matter what happens to the economy, there will always be accountants. There will always be a need for people who can handle money and keep the books. If you have an aptitude for math, you might want to capitalize on it and get into the accounting field.
There is a lot to know about how to become an accountant, though, and you can’t just start out of the blue. In order to become a licensed CPA, you will need a degree in accounting from an accredited program, as well as meeting the other requirements of your state. Here are some other things you will want to keep in mind.
- Prepare with Math Courses
- Keep a Spotless Credit Record
- Earn Your Degree
- Pass the CPA Exam and Get Licensed
Accounting is a math-heavy field. Preparing with math classes in High School is an excellent way to get acquainted with the math you need to know. Make sure your math grades look good, as this will affect your chances of acceptance into a good program. If you’re not sure about what math classes would be best, you can discuss this with your school’s guidance counselor.
If you have graduated from high school and are looking to return to school to get your degree, you might consider taking some preparatory courses at a local or community college. Excelling in these classes shows schools that you are serious about your studies.
When choosing schools that you are going to apply to, there are several things that you need to consider. First is where you are going to practice. The requirements for licensing vary state to state. What you need to make certain of is that the program you choose will fulfill the requirements of the state where you intend to practice.
Most schools will send you a copy of their brochure that details their program. Additional information will be available on the school’s web page. Don’t forget that if you have any questions, you can contact the school by phone and ask. Step one of how to become an accountant: Figure out what you want to do and the best way to do it.
How to Become an Accountant — Know Your Credit
If you have ever thought about how to become an accountant, you probably thought about classes and exams, but what about your credit? Believe it or not, having good credit is almost a prerequisite for finding a job as an accountant. You really have to keep an eye on your financial situation.
Think about it like this. If you were going to take your car in to the mechanic, would you pick the mechanic whose car is falling apart, or the one that looks well maintained? Sure, maybe the mechanic could fix his own car, but doesn’t bother to do so, and maybe you can take care of other people’s money better than you can take care of your own.
This isn’t the way that employers will see it. You have to be responsible with money to be an accountant, and the best way that you can show that you are is by keeping your own credit report clean. Step two of how to become an accountant: Monitor your credit report and keep it clean.
How to Become an Accountant – Earning Your Degree
You will need to earn a degree in accounting. Fortunately, there are many options. Universities, technical and vocational schools, correspondence schools, and online schools offer accounting programs. You should be able to find a program that suits your particular needs.
If you’re fresh out of high school, maybe college life would suit you best. If you have a family to support and bills to pay, you probably don’t have time to go to school full time. Online colleges and community colleges offer the possibility to take a few classes at a time, often in the evening when it is more convenient.
You do have to remember, though, that the fewer classes you take, the longer it takes to finish the program. Some programs will be two to three years and some will be four-year programs. This represents the minimum time required to complete the coursework. If you take fewer classes, it will take longer.
You might be in a hurry to finish, but do not overdo it. Doing well is more important than finishing quickly. If you bite off more than you can chew, you won’t be doing yourself any favors. Step three of how to become an accountant: Pick a degree program that meets your needs.
Take the Test
It’s not enough to earn your degree in accounting. Once you’ve earned it, you need to take the Uniform CPA Exam, which lasts for two days and tests your knowledge of accountancy thoroughly. This is a difficult four-part exam, and you may need to take it more than once before you pass. This is where all that hard work you put in pays off, though. The more you know about the field, the easier this part will be, and once you’re done, you will be ready to get licensed.
Some states require periods spent working under another CPA before granting you a license, and there can be additional educational requirements, like ethics exams, as well. These requirements vary a lot, so take a look at www.nasba.org for what your state board requires. Step four of how to become an accountant: ace the test and get your license.
Congratulations, that’s the end of the line, and you’re now a fully licensed and certified CPA, ready to brave whatever area of the financial landscape you choose. It’s not an easy path, but there are rewards that are personal as well as monetary. You have proved to yourself that you can accomplish difficult goals, and you are qualified for some highly paid jobs with advancement potential.
Accounting is not for everyone. It definitely requires a facility with math, and a willingness to work hard. Once you have these, everything else is easy. Now that you know how to become an accountant, the rest is up to you.
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