Becoming An Accountant: The Ultimate Guide

There are 1.4 million accountants in the US. Some of them have gone on to have extremely lucrative and successful businesses, and it attracts others to the profession.

However, many who are now interested aren’t sure how to get started in becoming an accountant — and what the difference is between being a regular accountant and a certified one.

This is how you do it.

First Steps

Most accountants went to business school and received a degree in accounting. This is one of the most necessary steps to take, as it proves you have the education to handle the finances of businesses and individuals.

Some people choose to earn a Bachelor’s degree and stop there while others might go on to earn a Master’s degree and hone in on a specialty field (such as taxes).

After that, you can technically call yourself an accountant and try to gain clients or start your own business. You may, however, find that difficult if you don’t do some other things to try and flourish in your career.

Accountant vs. CPA

If you want to be very successful, you have to do more than go to school to meet the state licensing requirements.

Not every accountant is a Certified Public Accountant, but every CPA is an accountant! The truth is, anyone can become an accountant by getting some qualifications, starting an accounting business, and gaining the trust of clients.

To become a CPA, however, you’ll have to take an exam and go above and beyond to prove your expertise in the area. CPAs also tend to have better communication with the IRS and can do a lot more on their clients’ behalf so if that’s the kind of work you plan to do, it’s better to become licensed.

The CPA Exam

You may have heard of the CPA exam, the most necessary step to becoming a certified accountant — the most prestigious level. Not every accountant is a CPA, but this is how you achieve the highest level of success as one.

However, before you can even take the exam, there are some other requirements.

In order to take this exam, you need to have completed a bachelor’s degree and have done at least one hundred and fifty credit hours in accounting courses at college.

Some states have separate requirements. They may require other courses to be taken, and some even allow you to take the exam once you’ve completed one hundred and twenty hours.

Becoming an Accountant Is Challenging, but Worth It

Becoming an accountant can seem like a long and daunting road, particularly when attempting to get your CPA license. However, if you put the work in, you’ll see that it pays off in the end.

With all of those qualifications behind you, you’re sure to thrive in any accounting job you take on and start your own business if you like.

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