Entering the job market as a certified public accountant (CPA) is an exciting endeavor. This is a rewarding field and is extremely fast-paced and challenging as well. Crunching numbers accurately is one part of the job, but a CPA is also required to have the right type of people skills to succeed. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, accountants and auditors have a median wage of $63,550. Becoming a CPA will make you more competitive, and perhaps garner a better income. Before you consider this exciting career, consider the top five qualities of a CPA.
1. Expert Number-Cruncher
While being a CPA doesn’t mean you have to do calculus equations in your head, you do need to be better than average at math. These days, most accountants and auditors rely on calculators to double-check their numbers, and a CPA often does the same. However, you still need to be quick on your toes with basic numbers for better speed and accuracy.
2. Quick Organizer
As a CPA, you’ll likely work with many clients at once, whether you work for an accounting firm or run your own business. Even if you get hired as a corporate accountant, you will still work with a lot of company books. If you’re not good at organizing, you may find this job somewhat difficult. The best CPAs are people who can easily keep tabs on financial documents while also being able to professionally retrieve information easily.
3. A People-Person
Most CPAs don’t go into the field with the intention of making public speeches. Still, a successful CPA is one who is great at communicating with other people. The right interpersonal communication skills will help you build and keep client relationships. Furthermore, effective communication will save time and frustration over missed details. Depending on the work setting, CPAs may also lead meetings and hold seminars.
4. Willingness to Learn
Aside from certification exams, having your accounting degree is the most important step toward becoming a CPA. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement because it demonstrates a level of education and ability companies are looking for, and a master’s degree is preferred. However, your learning opportunities don’t necessarily stop there. Depending on the state you live in, there are continuous opportunities for CPAs to enhance their degrees through seminars and classes. Not only can you stay at the top of your field, but attending these courses is also a resume-booster.
5. Aspirations in Related Fields
A CPA is sometimes considered a gateway to other related fields. You could pursue a career as a certified management accountant (CMA) or certified internal auditor (CIA). If you’re interested in being an auditor or working as an internal accountant for a management company, then a CPA will fit into your goals as you climb the accounting career ladder.
Becoming a CPA requires a college degree, but you will also need to take a CPA exam to get your license. If you enjoy helping others through financial and account management, then consider UAB’s Master’s in accounting program as a first-step to your potential dream career.