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#90066 - 06/20/03 05:56 AM Has Anyone here Considered....
Anonymous
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Becoming a CPA (certified public accountant)? Well, I work for a bank right now... but I think promotion in bank is very "step-by-step". Besides, they don't really recognize your academic achievement... promotion depends on how long you've been with the bank. I want a career where I can be rewarded by my academic achievements and knowledges and skills. Since CPA is a license, I was thinking maybe I should pursue CPA license. What do you think?

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#90067 - 06/20/03 06:40 AM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
Princess Romeo Offline

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Where the heart is
That depends - do you like doing accounting work? If so, and obtaining your CPA license would further your opportunities, then go for it. But if the only reason to obtain the CPA license is that it could get you a job with more money, then you may need to re-think your career path.

Personally, if it wasn't for the time (and expense!) involved, I would be interested in getting a law degree and trying for the bar. Perhaps one day, when the government relaxes this silly ban on human cloning......
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#90068 - 06/20/03 01:55 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
Go Royals Offline
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Go Royals
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 79
Lincoln, Nebraska
I have a unique perspective on this question as I was in public accounting for 5+ years and left to become a bank internal auditor in December 2002. I don't have time or space to fully respond to your question, but I can make a few points:

1. Very little of the job is truly accounting or tax oriented. Much of it is making the client happy (which I'm assuming is part of your job now.) You will be asked to do a lot of "hand holding" for clients and many will consult you on each and every business decision they make - whether or not it has anything to do with accounting, finance, or tax.

2. In some areas competition is very fierce and it may take a while to establish a book of business which firm partners feel may warrant advancement. Also, I know in many cases you can not expect much help in expanding your business from those above as they're too busy protecting their own spot. Hopefully if you do this, you already have a good set of contacts built up through your banking business or you may have to wait until another accountant leaves the firm to pick up their leftovers.

3. The CPA exam is extremely difficult to pass. I know several people who were very good students in college who have yet to pass it after 5+ attempts, and the prep courses to help you pass are very expensive and time consuming. Not to mention the sitting fee itself which where I'm from is $200 per attempt possibly going to $1000. Also, contact your state board of public accountancy to find out the requirements to sit for the exam. Most if not all states now require 150 hrs of post secondary education and some have requirements for what those hours must contain. You will then normally need to have 2 years public accounting experience before you can be licensed plus probably 80 hours of education every 2 years to maintain the license.

4. If you work for a small to medium sized firm, be prepared to be a jack of all trades and a master of none. Especially when you start you will probably be asked to work in all practice areas Tax, Audit, Accounting, and Consulting. On the flip side in a large firm you run the risk of getting pigeon holed into one area and one type of client/service.

5. If you do end up on the tax side, say goodbye to January through April.

6. In regards to promotion in the last firm I was with they had a 7 levels for employees. Advancement through the first two levels was primarily based on time in job and skills picked up (academic achievement may get you a job but after that means very little.) The third level basically meant you had passed the exam and had some skills. Advancing through levels 4-6 was mostly based on the quality and quantity of work done. Level 7 was obtained only when they wanted to admit another partner at which time you needed to buy your way in.

I could tell you a lot more but I don't know enough about your personal situation/personality to give better advice. I hope this gives you some things to think about.
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#90069 - 06/20/03 03:01 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
1111 Offline
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1111
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 580
The Go Royals post is so very insightful. To be in the money in the CPA world you need the ability to generate a book of business and to keep the customer happy. Accounting and auditing skills are a given with a lot of CPA's out there making less than bankers.

In the banking world, you need to assess your goals and go for the skills to achieve those goals. A CPA license halps only when you are going for positions that require the license - those positions are few and far between in the banking world, normally found in large banks and possibly in most banks as the CFO or Controller. I'm not sure what percentage of Auditing personnal positions require a CPA license, but I'd guess it's low.

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#90070 - 06/20/03 03:24 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
Anonymous
Unregistered

Why didn't you do that in the beginning?????????

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#90071 - 06/20/03 03:41 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
WildTurkey Offline
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WildTurkey
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 921
Down South, USA
Quote:

..... I'm not sure what percentage of Auditing personnal positions require a CPA license, but I'd guess it's low.



In my experience it depends on the bank, but the larger the bank the more likely it is to be a requirement. There are many people working in internal audit who aren't CPA licenced, but the licence is more likely to get you an interview - so you have a higher probability of being hired. Bear in mind that there are "CPAs" and "Big 4 trained CPAs" - not all CPAs are created equal!

Is it worth the years, the expense, and the grief? Not if you want to work in a corporation where the licence is more of a nice-to-have than a necessity.
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#90072 - 06/20/03 03:53 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
Go Royals Offline
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Go Royals
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 79
Lincoln, Nebraska
Quote:


Is it worth the years, the expense, and the grief? Not if you want to work in a corporation where the licence is more of a nice-to-have than a necessity.




Totally agree, I became a CPA because I thought is what I wanted to do. However, I eventually grew into a different direction and it is just a nice little certificate to have around in case.
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#90073 - 06/20/03 05:13 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
1111 Offline
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1111
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Posts: 580
I've often wondered what the percentage is of those who are CPA's that don't actually depend on the license for a living - one cannot say they don't use the skill set it took to get the license, but the license may just be another item to list on a resume that helps get you in the door.

I do know that employers, banks and others, often desire a CPA designation, but more often settle for none - primarily due to the cost of securing the services of someone that is much more than a CPA - like a star in the field. Those CPA's make a ton of money and it's not in banking.

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#90074 - 06/20/03 11:58 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
Anonymous
Unregistered

Thanks to everyone that replied!!

Your post was especially helpful, Go Royals!

So, you are a CPA? Okay, well... I'm still a college

student with one year left. I'm Economics major and

minoring in CS. I was thinking about attending a school

with CPA program while I work at my bank. How long does

the program usually take and how competitive is it?

Could you share with me how you earned your license? (like

what school u went to, for how long, and hard it was)

Thank you very much !

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#90075 - 06/23/03 01:11 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
Anonymous
Unregistered

to assume that because you have a collage degree means you know something about banking and deserve higher privilages is not the real world

wake up and earn the right to a promotion, based on what you do daily, how you treat your customer either internally or externally, what you know about banking to deal with daily situations, your leadership skills, type of decisions you make daily, does everyone like to work with you, etc.

then of course there are those that get ahead faster if you play up to the boss.

which one means more to you is your choice

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#90076 - 06/23/03 02:08 PM Re: Has Anyone here Considered....
Go Royals Offline
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Go Royals
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 79
Lincoln, Nebraska
Well anonymous if you are a year away from graduating you're still at least three years behind where most people are at this point. In my experience most CPAs majored in Accounting in college (I do know one who majored in Psychology but he went back and got an accounting masters.) Personally I got a 4 year accounting & finance degree from a local university. Then I started working in public accounting and took the exam 5 times before completing all sections. I maybe could have passed sooner but did not want to shell out up to $2000 or more for the study guides/classes.

If you are seriously considering the CPA route I highly recommend talking to someone in the accounting department at the school you are attending. They should be able to tell you the courses you need to complete in order to be eligible for the exam. I believe all states now require the 150 college credit hours and have requirements for what at least some of those must be.

The "CPA program" you refer to in your post is most likely a Masters program in accounting at the college level with one course being a CPA exam prep course. You may even need to take pay for additional study courses if you expect to pass. The CPA exam is one of if not the toughest professional exams to pass (I've had lawyers who've taken it tell me it was harder than the Bar) Remember even after you pass the test you still must meet the experience and annual education requirements.

Based on your posts I think your looking for a more "fast track" career and I'm sorry to tell you it is highly unlikely that you'll move any faster through a CPA firm than you will at your bank (in fact it may be slower because you'd be starting from complete scratch.)

Also, you mentioned once that you wanted to be recognized for your academic achievements. I don't think it can be emphasized to you enough that after your hired your academic record will play zero part in promotion or pay increase. These will always be based on the quality of work you do. I've known many people who were excellent students who did not succeed in the real world. The either couldn't apply all the knowledge they had gathered, had breezed by on memorization through school, or did not have the communication and people skills required.

Personally, based on your posts I don't think you want to go the CPA route. I think it would cost you a great deal of time and money to get to a place where I don't feel the so called problems you have with banking would disappear, they may in fact increase.
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