How Do I Become a CPA?

Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are in high demand across the United States and the world. Accountants help organizations and individuals assess and manage all financial operations. Increased financial regulations and consumer demand for transparency in corporate and government agencies have all resulted in a projected increase in the number of positions that will be available in the future in a variety of organizations, including non-profit and government agencies, public companies, small businesses, accounting firms, and private organizations.

Qualities, Traits, and Skills

There are a number of responsibilities and tasks in the accounting profession, and each requires a diverse skill set. CPAs work closely with individuals and often represent an entire company, and they must be prepared for interaction with different clients. CPAs need to have written, verbal, and interpersonal communication skills. The ability to engage and build rapport with individual, private clients in particular increases the need for these communication skills. CPAs should also be honest and professional with a high level of fairness and ethics.

In order to represent clients and organizations financially, CPAs should be dedicated to continued learning, be a critical thinker, have strong researching skills, and be able to analyze financial data. These skills can be acquired in an undergraduate degree program.

Education for CPA Career

There are a number of possibilities for beginning an undergraduate program in order to become a CPA. Choosing an accounting program is often the recommended step in order to fully prepare for the licensing and certifications requirements after graduation.

Courses in accounting include general education and general business courses, particularly in the first two years. In the accounting discipline, students are likely to take classes that include auditing, income tax, accounting research, fraud examination, corporate governance, quantitative methods and analysis, financial management, and accounting ethics.

To find information on higher education institutions that offer accredited accounting programs, visit the Federation of Schools of Accountancy at

The Uniform CPA Exam and State Licensing

The Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination (Uniform CPA exam) is a test used by every state licensing board in the United States for certification and licensing of public accountants. Future CPAs must pass the CPA Exam in order to obtain licensing in order to protect the interest of the public by determining who is and who is not qualified to be a CPA based on knowledge and skill in the field.

In addition to passing the CPA examination and having a bachelor’s degree, further licensing requirements must almost be met. Licensing varies by state, but most states require for CPAs to have a minimum of two years in the public accounting field in addition to passing the CPA exam before being eligible for licensing and certification. In some states, however, after passing the CPA exam, certification is granted prior to licensing. For additional information on licensing requirements, review the information at the American Institute of CPAs at

Becoming a CPA can be a long process, and there are many steps to complete. From an undergraduate degree to accumulating the state required experience, future CPAs are able to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to work with public finances ethically and successfully.