What Is a CPA and How Do I Become One?
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Discover what a CPA is, what they do, and how to become a certified public accountant. Learn how to get started on this accounting career path.
A certified public accountant (CPA) is an accounting professional who has met certain education, exam, and experience requirements for licensure by a state board of accountancy. To become a CPA, you’ll need to pass an exam that demonstrates you have mastered the technical skills necessary to provide services for financial accounting, financial reporting, auditing, attestation, regulations, business environments, and business concepts.
CPAs are highly sought after by businesses and nonprofit organizations because they have extensive training in tax law, auditing procedures, management practices, and other important aspects of business financial operations.
What CPA stands for
CPA stands for certified public accountant. It's a designation that allows accountants to work in the field of public accounting. You have to be licensed in your state to advertise as a CPA.
Is CPA a certificate, degree, or license?
CPA is a license awarded by the state you want to work in, which allows you to practice as an advanced accountant. To obtain a CPA license, you must pass all four parts of the CPA exam. Once you’ve passed them, and you’ve met the work experience requirement, you’re eligible to apply for a CPA license with your state board of accountancy.
CPA vs. accountant
All CPAs are accountants, but not all accountants are CPAs. A CPA is a financial professional licensed by a state board to provide accounting services to the public. A CPA performs accounting duties such as tax preparation, auditing, and consulting. An accountant is an individual who professionally practices accounting.
As a CPA, you have demonstrated advanced accounting competencies. Therefore, you can take on additional duties related to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that not all accountants can perform.
Read more: How to Get a Job as an Accountant | 10 Tips
What does a CPA do?
Like most accountants, CPAs perform a wide range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting work for corporations, small businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, and individuals.
When you become a CPA, you can be responsible for preparing financial statements for your clients and filing reports with the SEC. To comply with SEC regulations, you must be a CPA to prepare and file reports.
You'll also represent clients before the IRS to help them resolve their tax problems. The IRS only allows CPAs, attorneys, enrolled agents, enrolled retirement plan agents, and enrolled actuaries to represent clients directly.
As a certified public accountant, you’ll have the opportunity to work with individuals and businesses in various industries, advising on financial and tax-related matters. You may choose to specialize in a particular area, such as forensic services, taxes, or working within an industry like health care. Alternatively, depending on your career path, you can focus on a wide spectrum of accounting services.
As an accountant, your job duties may depend on the business size, your experience, and the industry. However, you will likely find yourself doing some of the following:
Maintaining records and preparing financial documents
Preparing tax returns for companies, organizations, and individuals
Consulting with management on financial matters(Video) What is a CPA, What Do They Do, and Who Needs One? Here's Everything You Need to Know.
Identifying financial discrepancies and areas for improvement within the company’s internal processes, policies, and procedures
Conducting forensic accounting for audits
Advising on the financial risk involved in taking on new projects or mergers, retirement planning, and other financial decisions
Benefits of becoming a CPA
CPA certification is the most well-recognized professional accountancy qualification. The prestige and respect associated with being a CPA can offer you various exciting career opportunities.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect by getting your CPA:
Earn more money: On average, CPAs earn more than non-CPAs with similar education and experience. According to Glassdoor, CPAs with one to three years of public accounting experience earn an average salary of $74,529 per year, compared with $57,607 per year for their non-CPA peers [1,2].
Increased job opportunities: Becoming a CPA can allow you to pursue many different career paths within the accounting field. You can work in public accounting firms, private companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations as a CPA.
You can also pursue management consulting, information technology, education, and financial planning careers. While these may not seem like typical professions for accountants, many industries rely on financial expertise.
A sense of accomplishment: Passing the CPA Exam shows you have what it takes to be successful in the profession. It's a challenging exam—an average of 52 percent of first-time test takers pass all four sections .
Credibility: As a trusted business advisor and financial expert, your credibility is essential to you and your client's success. By becoming a CPA, you’re not just showing your clients that you know what you’re talking about; you’re showing them that you’ve been tested on it too. That’s important because it helps build trust with clients by giving them confidence in your advice.
Skills CPAs need to have
There are no set skills that all CPAs possess. However, certain skills are common among successful CPAs.
Technical skills: As a CPA, you need extensive technical knowledge to perform the job duties effectively. These include accounting software such as QuickBooks and tax preparation software such as TurboTax and Drake Tax software.
As a modern accountant, you’ll also need new technical skills like programming in Python and R, statistical analysis, data mining, and regression.
Organizational skills: You need good organizational skills to prepare accurate reports, organize documents, and keep track of deadlines important for tax returns, audits, and other duties. You’ll often have several projects at once, so having a system is crucial.
Critical thinking: As a CPA, you’ll have to be able to see the big picture and think critically. You must be able to analyze data, evaluate it, and then put it into context to provide meaningful, reliable advice.
Problem-solving: Solving problems is a big part of being a CPA. You’ll be responsible for finding solutions to complex problems and developing strategies that address issues your clients may have with their taxes or business practices.
Communication: As a CPA, you must be able to clearly and effectively communicate with others, both in writing and verbally. This skill is essential for any CPA working with colleagues, managing employees, or directly with clients.
Attention to detail: As an accountant, you must maintain accuracy and precision in your work. Every part of an accountant's job has financial consequences for your employer or client, so accuracy is crucial. For example, the company could lose money without realizing if an accountant incorrectly adds up figures on a balance sheet. False reporting may also attract fines.
Analytical thinking: Some people are naturally good at analyzing data and finding patterns. This skill can be beneficial in your accounting career and can help you spot problems with financial records or processes much more quickly than if you were simply going through the books line-by-line.
Business acumen: Understanding how businesses operate is critical when working as a CPA in any industry. You need to understand the basic business strategies and principles to advise management on how their decisions will affect the company's financial position.
How do I become a CPA?
The path to becoming a CPA starts with earning a degree. You’ll then pass the CPA exam to get licensed in your state. You’ll also need to complete continuing education to remain licensed.
Earn a bachelor’s degree.
The education requirements to become a CPA vary by state. Most accounting majors can satisfy most of the educational requirements, although states require 150 semester hours of college credit before you're eligible to take the exam. This means you'll need to take 30 additional hours of coursework above and beyond what's required for your bachelor's degree. That could mean doing a double major, taking additional college classes, or earning a master's degree.
Undergraduate and graduate programs in accounting provide the basic foundation for meeting the education requirements for licensure. These programs introduce you to financial accounting, auditing, and taxation topics at both the individual and corporate levels. They also give you an opportunity to gain experience using industry-standard computer applications and software.
As an aspiring CPA, you might want to consider an online accounting degree program, which offers convenience and flexibility, especially when working full time while going to school. Online programs may also provide a flexible or accelerated format. You might like to consider the Online Master's of Accounting (iMSA), offered by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Read more: What Is an Accountancy Degree? A Guide
Pass the CPA exam.
Each state sets its specific requirements for your eligibility to take the Uniform CPA Exam. Many states require you to hold a bachelor's degree, and most require or will require 150 hours of post-high school education. Some states require CPA candidates to be at least 18 to 21 years old, and a few require that you’re a citizen or permanent resident.
Read more: 11 Good Study Habits to Develop
The required years of experience you need to take the CPA Exam vary from state to state, but most call for at least two years working in public accounting. Some states will accept other experiences, such as working in government or industry, but you will generally need more years of such experience.
CPAs are licensed by their state boards of accountancy. Find your state's board of accountancy and review its website to get clarity on what you'll need to do.
For most states, you'll need:
To meet education requirements
To pass the Uniform CPA examination
To meet experience requirements
To complete the CPA ethics exam
Many states have passed versions of the Uniform Accountancy Act (UAA). This has helped to create more consistency in licensing across states so that you can be mobile working in this profession. Make sure you understand the requirements in your state and any states you plan to work in to ensure that your license is accepted.
Continue your education.
As a CPA, you will be required to complete continuing professional education (CPE), generally every two years. The two main categories of CPE are:
Programs: Formal courses
Self-study: Reading journal articles or taking an online course(Video) What is a CPA? and How to become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant)? | CPA
It’s important to note that states have different CPE requirements and deadlines. For example, states have different requirements for the number of hours of ethics CPE you’ll have to do, and accept various types of education. It’s always best to check your state's rules and regulations before starting your CPE.
CPA career opportunities
The diverse business and technical skills you gain as a CPA open the door to various career options. Around 70 percent of CPAs work in private companies, with CPAs serving in many different types and sizes of firms, such as the following :
Large, international accounting and tax firms: These organizations often have offices all over the country and the world. They provide various services, including tax advice, financial consulting, and auditing.
The Big Four accounting firms: Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young (EY), and KPMG are the four largest professional services networks in the world. They offer audit, assurance services, taxation, management consulting, actuarial, corporate finance, and legal services to companies.
Medium-sized firms: These organizations tend to be regional. They might have offices in several states or one area of the country. They provide similar services as large firms, but typically on a smaller scale and often have smaller clients.
Smaller firms: Local accounting practices tend to focus on the needs of smaller businesses in their area. If a small business needs tax advice or an audit, they often contact a small firm for assistance.
Business and industry accountant: A business and industry accountant is another career path available to CPAs. Business and industry accountants work in companies of all sizes in diverse areas, such as financial accounting and reporting, management accounting, financial analysis, and treasury/cash management.
CPAs work in other sectors too:
Federal, state, and local government departments offer diverse opportunities for CPAs.
Non-profit organizations employ CPAs in many capacities.
Education also offers many diverse opportunities in research and teaching.
Specializations are also an option for CPAs. With the right experience and training, you can specialize in areas such as:
Consulting services (including information technology)
Financial statement auditing
Forensic accounting and fraud examination
International operations and taxation
Mergers and acquisitions
Personal financial planning
Research and development tax credits
State and local tax incentives
Salary and career outlook
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment for accountants and auditors to grow by 7 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is as fast as the average for all occupations 
According to Glassdoor, the average annual income (base salary plus additional commissions and benefits) per year for CPAs based on years of experience is as follows :
0–1 years: $87,498
1–3 years: $93,477
4–6 years: $97,276
7–9 years: $101,451
10–14 years: $111,303
To give you an idea of the annual salaries of other jobs that CPAs can do here are a few:
Public accountant:$104,767 
Management accountant: $100,305 
Governmental accountant:$102,999 
Internal auditor: $97,556
Tax advisor: $76,829 
Forensic accountant: $91,231 
Personal financial planner: $101,636 
If you’re looking to take your accounting career to the next level, a CPA designation may be what you need. CPA licensure is the gold standard in the profession and can lead to increased earning potential, career mobility, and prestige.
If you need extra semester hours after your degree, then a master’s degree is a viable option. Postgraduate education can help you be more appealing to employers, too. You can do the Online Master's of Accounting (iMSA), offered by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on Coursera.
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If you are interested in a specialization, consider the Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination from West Virginia University or the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Financial Reporting Specialization or CPA Pathways Graduate Certificate.
Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination
Everyday across the world, thousands of businesses are victimized by fraud. Who commits these bad acts? Why? And, how? In this course we are going to help ...
120,396 already enrolled
Average time: 1 month(s)
Learn at your own pace
Skills you'll build:
Fraud Detection, Internal Control, Fraud Investigation, Forensic Accounting
Financial Reporting & Financial Statement Analysis. Learn financial accounting essentials to create and analyze an organization’s financial statements.
16,130 already enrolled
Average time: 9 month(s)
Learn at your own pace
Skills you'll build:
Accounting, Accounting Analysis, Financial Statement, Ability to analyze and discuss key financial statements, Ability to conceptualize and apply the general approach to revenue recognition and Long-Term contracts, Ability to conceptualize financial accounting structure ad standards, Ability to produce financial statements through recognition measurement and reporting, Ability to measure variables used in Time Value of Money
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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.
What CPA means? ›
A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a trusted financial advisor who helps individuals, businesses, and other organizations plan and reach their financial goals. Whatever those goals-saving for a new home, opening a new office, or planning a multi-billion dollar merger-CPAs can help.Is CPA Exam too hard? ›
The CPA exam is a four-part, in-depth assessment of proficiency in all requirements for public accountancy. It is considered one of the most challenging professional exams on the planet. When the national pass rate is roughly 50%, you know it can't be an easy exam. Hundreds of hours of study time will be necessary.How can I pass CPA without accounting degree? ›
If you don't have an accounting degree, you can still become a CPA, you will likely just need to catch up in the following areas: Earning the minimum number of accounting credit hours. Earning the minimum number of business credit hours. Obtaining relevant experience.Is a CPA the same as an accountant? ›
An accountant is typically a professional who has earned a bachelor's degree in accounting. A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is a professional who has earned their CPA license through a combination of education, experience and examination.Why being a CPA is worth it? ›
A CPA can open up new career opportunities, help you earn more money, and give you more job security. What is this? With a CPA designation, you'll have access to many accounting jobs. You could work in public accounting, corporate accounting, government accounting, or even start your practice.Is a CPA harder than a bar? ›
What are the pass rates for each section of the CPA Exam?
|Exam Section||Cumulative Pass Rate for 2021|
Your only restriction is waiting to receive your score from a previous attempt of the same section. Additionally, there is no limit as to the amount of times you may repeat a failed section. How do I gain credit for sections passed on the Uniform CPA Exam?How many people fail CPA exam first time? ›
You've probably heard quite a bit of intimidating details about how hard it is — it's long, it requires hundreds of hours of study time, it's so difficult that the average CPA Exam passing rate for first-time candidates is only 50%.What kind of questions are on the CPA exam? ›
The CPA exam has 3 different kinds of questions – multiple choice, task-based simulations, and written communication tasks. The multiple-choice questions will have 4 possible answers. The task-based simulations will be based on “real-world” problems and candidates will have to type in their answers.Is an accounting degree worth it without CPA? ›
While some people do become successful accountants without their CPA, there is a slim chance of advancing your career without the certification. It is also worth noting that success without a CPA is only really possible if you want to work in a private firm.
What is the difference between a CMA and a CPA? ›
Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and Certified Management Accountants (CMAs) are both certified accountants and more highly regarded than non-licensed accountants. On a basic level, a CPA is responsible for taxes and audits, while a CMA is in charge of management accounting.What is the hardest part of being a CPA? ›
We're on your team and are passionate about helping you achieve your career goals, even if it means we don't make a dime. According to the AICPA's published pass rates, the hardest part of the Uniform CPA exam is FAR (Financial Accounting and Reporting).What are the hard skills for a CPA? ›
Having the ability to manage multiple projects, timelines, business needs, reporting deadlines, filing deadlines and personalities - that's a hard skill to master.Why is becoming a CPA so hard? ›
What makes the CPA Exam so hard? The CPA Exam is so difficult because: It covers a wide variety of topics at different skill levels. It tests those topics using multiple question types, including some that simulate real-world tasks CPAs are expected to perform.Is a CPA higher than an MBA? ›
3. Is CPA higher than MBA? No, you don't need a masters to be a CPA. A CPA is a designation earned by passing an exam, while a masters is an academic degree.What is CPA equivalent to? ›
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is the title of qualified accountants in numerous countries in the English-speaking world. It is generally equivalent to the title of chartered accountant in other English-speaking countries.What are the duties of a CPA? ›
Certified Public Accountant Duties. Examine Financial Records: CPAs analyze financial records to prepare tax returns, create budget reports, and conduct audits for their clients. These accountants ensure that financial records comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.Are CPAs wealthy? ›
A CPA salary usually reaches the high five figures, and senior CPAs in management can earn a six-figure salary.What is the downside of CPA? ›
Top public accounting firm positions often require longer hours than government or private company roles. Along with working long hours, you can also expect to dedicate some free time toward maintaining your CPA credential. State requirements usually involve a minimum number of training hours over each renewal period.Are CPAs declining? ›
According to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants, the number of U.S. students completing bachelor's degrees in accounting declined from 57,500 in 2012 to 52,500 in 2020, a decrease of nearly 9%.
Is the bar exam difficult? ›
Administered nationwide across all states and U.S. territories, the bar exam is widely known to be a test with an extremely high degree of difficulty. For first time test takers, the nationwide pass rate for the bar exam recently climbed to 79.64%.How long does it take to study for CPA? ›
For the average candidate, you should plan to commit a total of 300-400 hours to your study and review period across all 4 sections in total. The goal of 300+ hours of studying gives you 80 to 100 hours for each section of the test.What is the easiest CPA exam to pass? ›
CPA Exam Written Communication Testlets
BEC is the only CPA exam section with WCTs. Some students find this makes the exam easier, but some do find WCTs to be harder than TBSs. Either way, BEC is considered the easiest part of the CPA exam because it has the highest pass rate.
To pass a CPA Exam section, you must score a minimum of 75. Have you ever wondered how the AICPA calculates your CPA Exam section scores? Scores are reported on a scale that ranges from 0 to 99.What happens when you pass all 4 CPA exams? ›
After successfully passing all four sections of the CPA Exam, the next step is to complete the other requirements for obtaining a CPA license in the state in which you plan to ultimately practice as a CPA.What happens if you get a 74 on the CPA Exam? ›
Your 74 on the CPA Exam does not mean you were one point away from passing. Instead, your 74 means once they determined you failed, they compared your score with other people that failed and determine you performed better than them but still failed.Which state has the easiest CPA exam? ›
Colorado Requirements Overview:
With no requirement to be a US Citizen, a resident of CO, or a certain age, it makes Colorado one of the easiest states to sit for the CPA exam and become licensed. Be sure to follow each caption below to ensure that you are qualified to sit for the exam.
Certified Public Accountant Gender By Year.
- University of Pennsylvania: 90.9%
- Rice University: 90.8%
- University of Texas – Austin: 89.5%
- Brigham Young University: 89.4%
- Wake Forest University: 88.8%
The CPA exam has 276 multiple-choice questions, 28 task-based simulations, and three writing portions. These are divided into four main sections: Auditing and Attestation (AUD) Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
What is the hardest to easiest CPA exam? ›
FAR had the lowest pass rates, while BEC had the highest. AUD had the second-lowest pass rate, and REG had the second-highest pass rate. Therefore, the pass rates tell us that the hardest section of the CPA Exam is FAR, and the easiest section of the CPA Exam is BEC.Is CPA exam open book? ›
The exam is an open-book, multiple-choice test that covers essential accounting ethics concepts. It is graded by the American Institute of CPAs.Is accounting worth it 2023? ›
Yes, an accounting degree is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting 8% job growth in business and financial occupations over the next 10 years. Common careers in the field include tax preparer, accountant, budget analyst, financial manager, and chief financial officer.Is a two year accounting degree worth it? ›
Yes, an Associates Degree in Accounting is worth it for many students. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% job growth in business and financial occupations for the next 10 years, faster than the average for all occupations.Is accounting hard without a degree? ›
It is possible to get the CPA without an accounting degree, but it will be harder, and there will still be educational requirements. In fact, it seems in recent years it is becoming even more difficult to get it without an accounting degree. Therefore, getting your CPA with no degree at all is not likely.Which is harder CMA or CPA? ›
CPA vs CMA Exam Difficulty
Even so, the CMA exam has a slightly lower pass rate, at roughly 45% passing the two parts, collectively, while half (~50%) or better pass each section of the CPA exam. All CMA candidates have three years to pass both parts of the exam.
As a CPA, you can make 10-15% more than non-certified accountants. And according to the IMA, CMAs earn 58% more in median total compensation than non-CMAs. So, with these extra earnings, both the CPA and the CMA pay for themselves. And you can make even more annually when you put these certifications together.How long does it take to get CMA? ›
You're required to pass both CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam parts within three years, but you can pass (and start reaping the benefits) within one year with a dedicated study plan. Overestimating or underestimating how long it'll take you to prepare can negatively impact your studies.Is it common to fail the CPA exam? ›
Just know that you're not alone—the CPA Exam is hard. The CPA Exam has a pass rate of around 50%. So, though millions of candidates have passed the CPA Exam, many first faced failure along the way. Remember, not passing the CPA Exam doesn't mean you can't do this.How stressful is the CPA exam? ›
There is no denying that studying for the CPA Exam is an inherently stressful experience - stress and the CPA Exam can often go hand-in-hand. You can't completely eliminate that pre-exam anxiety, and it probably wouldn't be a good idea to do so because stress can be a motivator.
How long is the CPA exam? ›
How long is the CPA Exam? The current version of the CPA Exam is four parts and takes a total of 16 hours. Once you pass your first exam section, you'll have 18 months to finish the remaining three parts.Can I pass the CPA in 6 months? ›
Students, recent graduates, and people with plenty of time to study should aim to sit for and pass all 4 sections of the CPA Exam in about 6 months. This would have you taking an exam every 6-7 weeks and studying about 22-26 hours each week.Can anyone pass the CPA exam? ›
Yes, while anyone can pass the CPA exam, knowing your performance is crucial to getting to the finish line. Each day, be sure to put in the work and learn from your quizzes and practice exams.How many chances to pass CPA exam? ›
What is the pass/fail rate for the CPA Exam? The CPA pass rate is around 50%.What is the difference between a PA and a CPA? ›
The primary difference between CPA vs PA is that the former is a specialized and certified version of the latter. CPAs are well-trained and more experienced professionals than PAs. While PAs handle lower-level accounting tasks, CPAs manage high-level responsibilities.What is the difference between a CPA and a CA? ›
Key Differences Between CPA vs CA
CPA stands for Certified Public Accountant, whereas CA stands for Chartered Accountant. CPA being an international degree, is recognized worldwide, whereas CA being an Indian degree, is majorly recognized in India and to some extent in a few Middle Eastern countries.
Definition: Cost Per Acquisition, or "CPA," is a marketing metric that measures the aggregate cost to acquire one paying customer on a campaign or channel level. CPA is a vital measurement of marketing success, generally distinguished from Cost of Acquiring Customer (CAC) by its granular application.Is a CPA an MBA? ›
The basic difference between Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is that the former is a credential and the latter is an academic degree. Often college students find it difficult to choose between a CPA license or an MBA degree.Is a CPA better than a bachelor's degree? ›
A Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in accounting allows students to pursue careers in bookkeeping, maintaining general business accounts and taking care of relatively simple tax matters. CPAs are specifically trained to perform more complex tasks for companies, such as auditing and financial analysis.What is the salary of a CPA fresher in the US? ›
According to AICPA's survey, the CPA fresher salary in the US is $66,000 per annum. The average salary for a CPA in the US is $119,000, with 20 years of experience, one could command more than $160,000 annual pay.
What is harder CPA or CA? ›
CA and CPA require a lot of hard work and dedication. You can pass the CPA exam in 6-12 months, whereas it takes 3-4 years to become a CA. Both exams are equally difficult, however, the time frame might say that CA is more stretched and comprehensive. Thus, it is not right to compare the two exams.Is bachelor of accounting hard? ›
Earning an accounting degree isn't more challenging than earning a degree in any other possible subject. Accounting has some challenging parts like any other software, but you can also find portions comparatively simple or even straightforward.Can accountants make 6 figures? ›
According to Glassdoor salary data, the typical salary for an entry-level accountant is $49,284. However, as you progress in the accounting field, you have the potential to earn over six figures.Is CPA a big deal? ›
Yes, the CPA designation is one that is viewed as very prestigious by the business community. Having these three letters next to your name represents a thorough knowledge of accounting processes and a dedication to the profession.Should you put CPA after your name? ›
Yes, you should put CPA after your name on a resume.
However, there is no industry rule that says you have to add CPA after your name on a resume. In fact, there are lots of places you can mention being a CPA on a resume including in the profile summary or education/certification section.
If you can't decide which path is best for you, you could always do both! It is possible to earn your MBA and CPA at the same time. If you have your MBA in Accounting but you would like to advance your career and specialize in corporate finance or taxes, then it might be a good idea to become a CPA.Which is better CPA or Masters in accounting? ›
While a CPA shows mastery in foundational accounting skills, a master's degree shows you're driven to gain new skills that will directly benefit an organization.