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Professional Designations

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Sponsored by:
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants 

About | Career Options
CPA Exam |150-Hour Rule

Important Note: Effective April 2004, the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination is computer-based -- a significant change from the paper-and-pencil exam. Click on CPA Exam, above, for more information.

Every year, over 130,000 candidates sit for the Uniform CPA Examination, but only ten percent pass all four parts of the test the first time out. While you do not have to be a CPA to practice public accounting, the CPA designation is valuable addition to your resume as it will help you earn a higher salary and greater recognition from your employer and peers to name a few benefits.



Becoming a successful CPA begins while you're still in college. You need to demonstrate superior scholastic achievement, possess a good technical accounting and business knowledge (which means taking those hard electives), and have a good understanding of the humanities and other liberal arts subjects.



Problem solving skills are vital. You should be able to analyze, compare, and interpret facts and figures.



You've got to be a creative thinker, too. You'll be faced with issues every day that need innovative solutions. And the answers you come up with are often the difference between being a good CPA and a great one.



You need to understand business systems and computers. You've got to know about networks and be familiar with spreadsheets and accounting software.



You need good people skills. Accounting is a service activity and you will have to work well in groups as well as in one on one situations. And communicating well, both verbally and in writing, is essential.

As a CPA you must have high ethical standards because people rely on the information you provide. Honesty and integrity are qualities that are highly valued.

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