Career advice for wannabe accountant

USA Discussion in 'Career and Jobs' started by speaker_fan, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. speaker_fan

    speaker_fan

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    Hi, guy approaching 50, college degree not in accounting or business, primarily retail in my background, interested in becoming an accountant.

    I can't afford to go into gigantic debt to enroll in an accelerated post-bac accounting program (the ones designed for those who want to sit for the CPA but who have no accounting or business coursework taken in the past), so one alternative I've seen suggested on these boards is to take enough community college courses to sit for the CPA, community college being much cheaper.

    But I've got some concerns about doing this:

    1) I would need to take 24 credits in accounting and 24 credits in other business courses to sit for the CPA. Community colleges only offers enough accounting courses for about 13 of those credits (and maybe 20 of the 24 business credits). I would have to non-matric at a 4-year institution to take the rest?

    2) Supposing I go ahead with taking two years of courses to sit for the CPA (maybe a year-and-a-half if I'm aggressive and take 16 credits or so a semester plus some summer courses), is there any way to obtain an accounting job with a bunch of accounting courses but not obtaining an actual degree, because I wouldn't have a bachelor's in accounting even after taking these 48 combined credits. What if I can't pass the CPA right away?

    3) Without that actual degree in hand, could I get a job working under a CPA (for the one year's experience to obtain CPA certification)?

    4) Does accounting have the same age discrimination as do other fields? Do the people doing the hiring have the same psychological issues as they do in other fields ---people in supervisory roles who only feel comfortable hiring fresh-out-of-college 20 somethings and don't feel comfortable a newbie in their 50's? Fortunately, I look a bit younger than my chronological age, but I'm not sure that's going to help me.
     
    speaker_fan, Sep 9, 2017
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  2. speaker_fan

    Simon W

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    I will be honest with you.
    CPA is overrated. It comes down to experience.
    Let's say you got your CPA, but with no experience. You might get picked first for a corporate accountant role, but the pay will be entry level.
    Most people who get the CPA are either looking for an easier promotion and/or starting their own firm.
     
    Simon W, Oct 27, 2017
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  3. speaker_fan

    Drmdcpa VIP Member

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    For the education requirement, you better check you state requirements. Most will not accept only community college level courses. Often they require so many hours of upper level courses.

    You do not need a CPA or even an accounting degree to get accounting work. You need proper experience and knowledge. Note academics will not provide that.

    In most states you need two years under a CPA for the certificate; one year if you have a master's degree or higher. If you do not meet all other requirements for the CPA, the certificate is useless.

    As adeptly stated, the CPA is somewhat overrated. I have had my own firm for 20 years. I no longer do attest services. Many times I have thought to get rid of the CPA because I can do all the work I do without it. The reason I keep it is mostly for marketing.

    You can start your own bookkeeping business today if you have enough knowledge and skills. Many small businesses especially contractors need freelance bookkeepers. Good ones are rare or overbooked.

    With the larger firms yes they prefer young people with no work experience and not set in their ways. This is not as true with smaller firms.

    If you cannot pass all four parts of the exam in one sitting (most cannot - by most I really mean most. When I did it only 6% of nationwide did), you can condition the parts you do not pass provided you get a basic score and at least pass some sections. Again check with your specific state on these rules.
     
    Drmdcpa, Oct 28, 2017
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  4. speaker_fan

    Drmdcpa VIP Member

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    P. S. I do have to ask why in the world would you want to become an accountant. It take a certain mentality or makes a certain mentality; most are not up to the task.
     
    Drmdcpa, Oct 28, 2017
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  5. speaker_fan

    Simon W

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    Like Drmdcpa said. I started my firm and I am not a CPA. With enough knowledge and skills you are more likely to be hired vs just having the license.
     
    Simon W, Oct 28, 2017
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  6. speaker_fan

    Simon W

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    Good one. I remember when taking the course, classmates hated accounting but they want to do it for stable job.
     
    Simon W, Oct 28, 2017
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  7. speaker_fan

    Drmdcpa VIP Member

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    I
    I did not say I started my firm and am not a CPA. If you are not a CPA, you have to be very careful calling yourself an accounting firm. You can do all the bookkeeping you want. But you are prohibited by law from preparing financial statements except tax returns assuming you have the proper credentials in your state to prepare returns.

    I am constantly seeing enrolled agents and other non-CPAs advertising to perform work specifically stated as requiring a CPA certificate. Why the state boards do not pounce on them I can only imagine.

    Poor consumers rely on such advertising because they think they can save a few dollars. Well you get what you pay for.
     
    Drmdcpa, Oct 28, 2017
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  8. speaker_fan

    Simon W

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    Drmdcpa, I am talking about myself :)
    I was just referencing what you said. I do not do tax returns. As for producing financial statements, they are unadjusted/unaudited. Year-end I just work with their CPAs.
     
    Simon W, Oct 30, 2017
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