Essential Experience for Finance and Accounting Jobs

Before going to a recruitment agency or several recruitment agencies to ask to be placed in any open accounting positions, the applicant should be familiar with the credentials needed to become an accountant. There are several necessary steps one needs to complete before successfully applying for accounting jobs.

The most important credential one needs in order to get a job as an accountant is to become a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA. The requirements to obtain CPA certification differ from state to state, so it is important for the applicant to research the necessary prerequisites for the state in which he wants to work. One requirement which is necessary in every state, however, and that the applicant have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or in another, related field-such as business-with several hours of accounting classes on his transcript. The only exception is in Deleware, where an Associate’s degree is acceptable.

While in college taking accounting courses, the applicant will select a specialty. Just as students in medical school decide whether they want to specialize in internal medicine, surgery, or other field, accountants must select a primary interest. The specialties within accounting include public accounting, government accounting, management accounting and internal auditing. Most accounting students choose to do an internship at an accounting firm which specializes in their primary accounting field during college in order to garner as much experience as possible.

After graduating from an accredited four-year university with an accounting degree or other applicable degree (as well as the appropriate number of accounting hours, which varies by state), post-graduate accountants study for the CPA examination. In order to be eligible to take the exam, the post-graduate must receive eligibility from his state’s Boards of Accountancy. Though the requirements for each state varies slightly, most insist on an accounting degree or concentration as well as a year’s experience working for an accounting firm. Some students gain that experience during college through work programs or internships, while others choose to use the year after graduation to work for an accounting firm to gain the experience needed to take the CPA exam.

The CPA examination is a standardized test which is divided into 4 parts and is taken over a 2-day period. It is designed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or AICPA, and administered by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy, or NASBA. Not many people pass all 4 portions of the CPA examination on their first try, so taking a CPA preparation course and studying before the examination is helpful.

Daniel Thoo writes advice for job seekers interested in finance or accounting jobs. He also writes on topics surrounding internal audit and tax jobs.

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