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Education Value of CPA?
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BostonBMW Offline
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Post: #1
Value of CPA?
Alright, I am hoping to get some real deal insights from you guys. Unfortunately this is going to US centric because the CPA (CA elsewhere) is administered on a State level.

Basically, I am trying to figure out whether its worth getting a CPA? Before I am eligible, I'll need to take some accounting classes (community college?) and then sit for the 3 step tests.

My questions:

- Is it a relevant credential for jobs? Anyone see a bump in pay? (How much)
- Anyone transition to working on their own? Location independent practice?

To bring some value to this thread, I recommend that everyone who is interested to consult the following websites:

http://www.aicpa.org/BecomeACPA/FAQs/Pages/FAQs.aspx
https://www.thiswaytocpa.com/
08-16-2012 03:31 PM
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zoom Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Value of CPA?
Accounting major here. You need to take a lot of accounting classes, and specific ones. I don't think you can take any at a community college unless you transfer them to a four year school. Community college only offers intro accounting courses anyways.

I know that in Massachusetts you need 150 credit hours in order to get a cpa license. That's a lot of schooling. Also the test is supposed to be very hard. Only go through with it if you are extremely passionate about accounting. Location independent practice? Forget about that. You would need to set up an office somewhere so people can come in and see you.
08-16-2012 03:46 PM
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NewGamer Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Value of CPA?
I just got done with my CPA exams over the summer.If you're looking to get into public accounting, being certified is a must.Most firms require certification in order to get promoted.If you're in the accounting profession, you gotta be certified.No two ways about it.A college degree alone will not get you anywhere if you want to progress.

Feel the fear..then do it anyway.
(This post was last modified: 08-16-2012 03:57 PM by NewGamer.)
08-16-2012 03:57 PM
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DiabloBravo Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Value of CPA?
Quote:Basically, I am trying to figure out whether its worth getting a CPA? Before I am eligible, I'll need to take some accounting classes (community college?) and then sit for the 3 step tests.

The exam is four parts plus a open-book ethics exam. My community college offers financial accounting courses and first semester intermediate accounting. You will need to take more accounting courses at a four-year university to qualify.

Quote:My questions:

- Is it a relevant credential for jobs? Anyone see a bump in pay? (How much)

This depends on the employer. You should get some kind of financial reward for becoming certified. The real bump in pay comes in when you become a manager and again when you become a partner.

Quote:- Anyone transition to working on their own? Location independent practice?

I haven't met anybody that has done this.
08-16-2012 06:20 PM
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JohnKreese Offline
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RE: Value of CPA?
It may be possible to become somewhat location independent if you got some basic accounting certifications. You could then work from roughly January through June at the local H&R Block chain in some random strip mall doing people's taxes at a severe discount (to your employers) and then you would be flung aside once tax season was over, but hey, at least wouldn't be tied down to anything!
08-16-2012 08:01 PM
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snoop Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Value of CPA?
(08-16-2012 08:01 PM)JohnKreese Wrote:  It may be possible to become somewhat location independent if you got some basic accounting certifications. You could then work from roughly January through June at the local H&R Block chain in some random strip mall doing people's taxes at a severe discount (to your employers) and then you would be flung aside once tax season was over, but hey, at least wouldn't be tied down to anything!

Do those even exist?
08-16-2012 09:39 PM
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reaper23 Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Value of CPA?
(08-16-2012 06:20 PM)DiabloBravo Wrote:  
Quote:Basically, I am trying to figure out whether its worth getting a CPA? Before I am eligible, I'll need to take some accounting classes (community college?) and then sit for the 3 step tests.

The exam is four parts plus a open-book ethics exam. My community college offers financial accounting courses and first semester intermediate accounting. You will need to take more accounting courses at a four-year university to qualify.

Quote:My questions:

- Is it a relevant credential for jobs? Anyone see a bump in pay? (How much)

This depends on the employer. You should get some kind of financial reward for becoming certified. The real bump in pay comes in when you become a manager and again when you become a partner.

Quote:- Anyone transition to working on their own? Location independent practice?

I haven't met anybody that has done this.

check elance.com to see if people are buying remote CPA services. I bet they are.

i have bought them in the past, mostly for bookkeeping and financial statement generation. i used to fed ex all my bills to a woman in some rural area and we'd chat online to go over things.

CPA is highly valued credential, imo. better than MBA but not as good as CFA. different though.
08-16-2012 09:41 PM
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BostonBMW Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Value of CPA?
Thanks for all the responses.

Just to add some background: I already have a bachelors in Econ/Finance, so I would just need to take the accounting courses.

I checked the elance and there are something like 58K accountants (not all CPAs).

I have been doing some outside research as well and realized that getting hooked up with a few businesses might be the best bet. Steady revenue while being geographically independent.
08-19-2012 10:14 PM
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UnW Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Value of CPA?
lol, I'm studying for CA right now currently on my first subject. I did Accounting/Finance majors at uni. For me, it's a no brainer since my firm basically forces me to do it, and they pay for it.
The pay increase is pretty decent in Australia if you have your CA, and its easier to move into more senior roles in industry from professional services with some sort of accreditation, again no idea what it is like in the US.

Only downside is that I'm quite fucked in it at the moment. Long hours for busy season = Not much time for studying.
08-23-2012 06:16 AM
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Dr. Howard Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Value of CPA?
If you already have a degree there are universities that offer masters in accounting programs that are designed to get you the 150 hours so you can write.

As for location independent. I do book keeping and business planning and get clients online. I have a home office in Toronto but my clients are in NY, WI and IL for the most part. So it can be done.

As for being a CPA, only do it if you really like it. It is not glamorous by any means, and I would say even carries a negative social proof with women.

Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? Psalm 2:1 KJV
08-23-2012 10:09 AM
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Thrill Jackson
Tex Pro Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Value of CPA?
I am currently taking the CPA exams.

You can be mobile with it to a degree if you are good at hustling and can develop connections.

My only qualms about it is that it can be stressful at times since your work will be deadline driven and the work can be boring.

As for telling women what you do, I usually tell them I am in "consulting" or some other bullshit, so that isn't too big of a problem.
08-24-2012 01:42 PM
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BudgetGlobetrotting Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Value of CPA?
If you're serious about accounting you have to be a CPA.
I did a short stint in a big 4 risk advisory gig in the middle east. everyone's an acca chartered accountant there since it goes with the demographic (indian/pakistani/british).. but a CPA is on par if not at a premium given the USA-western novelty of it. I'm going for the cfa myself given my own interest, but for standalone, location independent gigs a CPA/ACCA is the way to go. It will definitely offer flexibility worldwide with some experience if that's what you're looking for.

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08-25-2012 01:41 AM
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BostonBMW Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Value of CPA?
All the advice is much appreciated. I'm trying sort out the classes I'll need.
09-18-2012 10:46 AM
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