If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to travel the world for work, look no further. Having your CPA can make this dream a reality. Because many clients are turning more and more to international markets, global mobility is an ever increasing importance in the accounting industry as overseas businesses want to do business with the U.S. CPAs have the opportunity to work and live abroad anywhere from days to years at a time. In addition, because you have a CPA license, your clients have the confidence to let you take your work and do it from anywhere in the world.
Whether you’re set up for multiple contracts in multiple countries, cities, or states, a majority of CPAs who express their interest to travel usually get the chance to do so. What better way to see the world than with a designation that’s highly valued across the globe and is always in high demand? And, if at any point you decide that you’ve had enough of the sight-seeing and culture-diving, your experience of being well traveled will stand out on your resume, letting your future potential employers know that you’re well-rounded with a great diverse perspective. This will give you a large advantage against your competitors.
Plus, it kind of makes for an awesome conversation starter in any situation: “So, when I used to work and live in Tokyo…”
While you don’t need a degree to get a start in accounting, you do need a B.A. if you’re looking to go into Management Accounting. As a first-year cost accountant at a large company, you can expect a salary range between $43,000-$53,750, while a controller for a smaller company could earn anywhere between $71,500 and $99,750. Without a CPA designation, most accounting positions cap off at this range.
But if you’re looking to skip ahead and take it a step further into Public Accounting and beyond, a CPA is definitely recommended. Starting off as a staff accountant or auditor, CPAs can work their way up to senior auditor with promotions and thereafter from manager to senior manager. In bigger firms, CPAs can become partner in 10-13 years. For mid-sized firms, the beginning salary for first-year auditors ranges from $52,750-$64,750 with a managerial advancement ranging from $91,000-$126,500.
Although the above types of promotions are common in public accounting firms, there are of course plenty of other areas of accounting where promotions can begin as soon as 1-2 years with the advancement in different financial positions. These include becoming company executives, budget directors, controllers, chief financial officers, or presidents of a corporation or business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for accountants will grow by 16 percent between 2010-2020. But those with a CPA license will have the best prospects of growing into a career path with better salaries, choice of tasks, and opportunities to contribute to the financial integrity of both public and private sectors.
Some people are under the impression that to be a CPA means to work for public accounting firms where the stress levels are high and the sleep levels are low. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, one of the greatest advantages of having your designation is being able to dip your toes into any industry you’d prefer. Because CPAs are in high demand, they don't only have job security, but they also have better opportunities in small, medium, or large, public or private, profit or non-profit businesses that are looking for CPAs to inhabit their financial directing, maintenance, and controlling roles. You don’t have to be constricted to a suit and tie every day of the week.
If you were a kid who’s ever dreamed of being an astronaut or working alongside models in the fashion industry, you can still certainly become involved in these things to some capacity as a CPA. Although you won’t be the one blasting off into space or the designer the model wears down the runway, every sector of business needs some type of financial advisement, management, and overall help. Being a part of such companies allows you to be enveloped in that atmosphere and industry, surrounded by people and projects that do all sorts of interesting, innovative, and amazing things that add to our lifestyles and cultures every day.
Another great option that many CPAs don’t consider is going into education. If you have a firm understanding of all those accounting and business concepts that were taught in school as well as on your CPA Exam review (and you enjoy wielding power in the classroom), teaching could be a great and rewarding option for you to help future candidates receive their CPAs…like Roger!
If you explore and have experience in different industries, you’ll definitely gain recognition for your diverse work history and can become a valuable asset to your next employer.
Memberships to Professional Organizations
We went over the benefits of joining CPA organizations in a previous blog, but we’d like to talk about memberships to such professional organizations in the context of how membership will boost your career. Being not just a member but actively involved in any professional organization is what many employers are looking for. Because these organizations require adherence to technical and professional standards, it ensures that the quality of a CPA’s services are reliable and top notch. Think of your involvement in an organization as an ethical track record that ascribes to what your resume can’t show, such as your personality traits, your interests, the areas you’d like to or already have make an impact in, etc. In a sea of CPAs, your involvement may be just the thing that makes you stand out above the rest not just for employment considerations, but promotional ones too!
As Roger Philipp once said, “The question shouldn't be whether you can afford to become a CPA, but rather can you afford not to?”