USA CPA Acquiring Experience


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I just received my cpa license, but feel I lack experience to start my own business. I work a corporate job as a senior staff accountant, which I enjoy.

Question: How do I gain experience in other areas of accounting without working full time with a small cpa firm?

^ I was thinking bidding on freelance jobs online but I’ve never done any of this on my own. Even though I have accreditation I’m in a slight fear of telling someone wrong information or taking a project over my head.

Just hoping from some advice. I don’t care much about pay as I build my skill.

Anything financial reporting I’m confident in. Tax & auditing not so much (which ironically I did the best on those exams scoring high 80s).
 
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kirby

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I think you answered your own question. Working in a full time CPA firm is how to gain professional experience. States used to require a person to work at least a couple years in a CPA firm to qualify you for a CPA license. Now some do not, for example California, which issues two types of licenses: one for those with CPA experience and one for those without. So to go forward explore working for a firm.
 
J

John Baker

My advice is to look at the economic environment that surrounds you. Is there a need for you taking up space in the offices of a CPA firm. I say this because CPA firms are not noted for being immersed in cash. Their client base is a pretty good barometer as to how well
they pay and any benefits that my be offered. Don't forget, these firms are in business to make money. You've got to bring a sense of
attracting and keeping a client base. And on that note, all you have to do is to get into a personality conflict with a client, and your gone. In addition, your ability, to start and finish quickly, then move on is most important. You've got to make money. Why? Because you're an expense, all up until you are offered a senior position or a client's preferred. Also what's often overlooked, is your person life. No CPA firm in their right mind is going to accept an image that detracts from their image. So be very careful of joining organizations and the like that seem to be a lightning rod for controversy. In addition, the members of your immediate family are held to the same litmus test.
I should mention that you're going to be giving up a lot of job security leaving your current position. Not good. You have a dependable paycheck, insurance, the ability to go to a bank and apply for credit because of your stability with employment.
The CPA profession is about as cold and impersonal as it gets. The competition can be fierce as can be the internal politics.
So, I'd think this over real good before stepping into something unknown.
 
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Thank you both for your advice! But is there a way to gain experience on the side and on my own? Or even as an outside intern within another public company. Is there something new CPAs do while still keeping their managerial accounting job?

I don’t care if it’s paid, I wouldn’t mind even doing mock real world scenarios and working through them for experience during what free time I have.

My goal is to find a niche in public accounting I enjoy first. Then market to that niche once I focus/acquire adequate skill. Tax is my biggest focus (not sure what niche in tax yet), government auditing may be my second.

Thanks again for all the responses!
 

kirby

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License is from which state and if that state has two types of licenses, which do you have?
 
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kirby

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I see. You must have met the CPA experience requirement through 4 years of non cpa firm experience. I think it is unlikely you will find a cpa firm interested in having you work part time and, if you are going to keep your current job, then you would only be available after normal work hours. But nevertheless go forward and contact cpa firms directly and see if they are interested in working with you. With low unemployment rates lately, qualified people are harder to find and that is a plus for you.
 
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I see. You must have met the CPA experience requirement through 4 years of non cpa firm experience. I think it is unlikely you will find a cpa firm interested in having you work part time and, if you are going to keep your current job, then you would only be available after normal work hours. But nevertheless go forward and contact cpa firms directly and see if they are interested in working with you. With low unemployment rates lately, qualified people are harder to find and that is a plus for you.
Thank you, kirby, for being up front and honest with me. I did meet the 4 years of non cpa firm experience.
This was useful insight to have from someone working in the field!
 
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Hi everyone:


I graduated from college last May with a major in accounting. I have more than 4 years of experience in accounting (AR, AP, GL, etc) but I do not know for what position I should apply. If someone can give me an idea of the difference between Staff Accountant, Staff Accountant II and Senior Accountant. What position should I apply?
 
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kirby

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With your 4 years of experience, apply for Senior Acct
 

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