Almost every accounting professional has considered taking the CPA exam, but the time, energy and stress that comes with passing all four sections can make it easy to push aside. Studying for the exam is a challenge but it’s also a marker of your competence, work ethic, and knowledge. In a nutshell, your CPA license is your ticket to professional success. Ask any CPA and they can rattle off why it’s worth it, but I can shorten that list and give you my top three reasons to pass the CPA Exam:
#1 Accelerates your Career Progression
If you want to advance your accounting career, getting your CPA is critical. Most senior and management positions are limited to those with a CPA license. Passing the CPA exam also highlights key traits that will stand out with employers– self-motivation, initiative, perseverance, and commitment to the profession. As a CPA, you will immediately stand out amongst other non-CPA applicants when applying for jobs. Lastly, you are more valuable to your firm since a CPA can do things a non-CPA cannot do– such as call the IRS or represent a client via a Power of Attorney. If you can do more, your experience level goes up and so does your role within your organization.
#2 Expands your Career Options
CPAs are in more demand than ever before. Whether you are working your way up through management at a public accounting firm or working toward a Controller/CFO position, having your CPA license provides significant job security. The CPA designation also increases your chances of being selected for higher-level positions. Many companies- in all different types of industries—are more willing to hire CPAs.
#3 Dramatically Increases Your Earning Potential – Don’t sell yourself short
Did you know, that on average, licensed CPAs earn roughly 10% more than their non-CPA counterparts? CPAs can also often expect to earn over $1 million more than their non-CPA counterparts over the course of a 40-year career. Almost all large and middle market public accounting firms require a CPA license to progress to management. By tackling the CPA exam at the beginning of your career, you aren’t imposing any additional restrictions on your future promotions and pay raises.
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Look for firms that demonstrate a commitment to your path to the CPA license. My firm helped me pass, by providing the following:
- Offering a CPA review course at a discounted price
- Paying for exam fees for each of the four sections of the exam
- Paid time off to sit for the exam
- Study time built into my work schedule
- Cash bonuses for passing all four sections of the exam
With the demand for CPAs expected to continue to increase – my advice is that if you are eligible for the CPA exam, there is no better time than the present to take the plunge into studying and passing the exam!