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Should I take the CPA if I'm not Working in accounting?

Career Advice Planning

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 06:24 AM

I have been thinking about this issue alot... I graduated from college with an accounting degree and worked a little for one of the big four accounting firms as an auditor. After that I went to work as an accountant for a large petorchemical company. However, I found out that accounting is not what I like to do. Recenly, I received an offer to work as a contract specialist in a large oil comany.

During the time I worked as an accountant, I worked a little on the CPA exam. I know that it will take alot of efforts and sacrifice to pass. However, I do realize that the CPA designation is valuble. Do you think that I should continue working on the CPA if I'm not planning to work in finance function? Is it worth it? Does it help in other areas of the business? I'm not sure if anyone went through what I'm giong through. The reason I'm still thinking about CPA is because I think that I have high understanding of accounting as a knowledge, however, I'm not into working in finace or accounting. My career path if I accept the new job offer will be contracts advisor.

Or do you know CPA who eneded up working in other field?

Thanks alot for your support

#2 Staff Acct Making Only 38k

Staff Acct Making Only 38k

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 06:18 PM

Not only should you not bother with the CPA if you're not in accounting, you shouldn't even bother with it even if you are in accounting. I'm a CPA and make $38k a year to show for it. Not worth the $105 renweal fee every 2 years out of my own pocket and the 80 hours of CPE I have to do and pay for to maintain it.
"He's a CPA, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn."

#3 Virgil-redux


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Posted 08 October 2012 - 02:51 AM

Don't really see the value to be honest. I'd reconsider having the CPA if there's no application.

#4 Zeratul



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Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:21 AM

The answer is in the question. First, decide what you want to do with your career. Then, decide what certifications will help you get there. Look at the people who have made it in the career path you want to take -- do they have CPAs? Will a CPA advance your career? If you're not even working in accounting, how are you going to fulfill the work experience requirements, anyways?

#5 jeni



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Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:59 AM

I think it would keep your options open. I know CPAs who work in all kinds of fields with limited financial functions: IT, law, and admin ( from receptionists burned out on accounting to CEO who needs to have at least an understanding of accounting to be effective). There is a perspective that accountants can bring to just about any function. REG would have direct application to the new duties. But, I also see former auditors as very valuable (I am). As a former auditor you should know about the importance of good segregation of duties, what kinds of frauds and errors are prevalent with vendors, and controls in place to ensure contracts are complied with to be a rock star in the new job if that is the path you want to take. From doing the work in the new job, that will help to broaden your knowledge for your next career step.

#6 Just Plain PA

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Posted 12 October 2012 - 07:37 PM

Well, having shown that you passed the CPA exam would definitely show as a worthwhile achievement on your resume, but if you don't plan to use it in any manner by working in accounting or finance, then really, what's the point? Put another way, do you really need to have the CPA designation to show that you're a bright, competent professional working in a non-accounting/finance capacity?

Further, many states are converting from two-tier to one-tier licensure states, which means that where before you could just get the CPA certificate and hold out as an inactive CPA for the remainder of your career, now when you apply for the CPA, you must hold out as an active licensee, which means you have to get 40 hours of relevant CPE per year, and pay the annual licensing fee(s). Illinois is a prime example of this. Up until June of 2012, CPAs could apply for a Registered CPA status where they could hold out as an inactive CPA indefinately. Since then, new CPAs can only apply for Licensed CPA status where they must maintain CPE and pay annual fees. This is a lot of work for someone who doesn't care to be licensed.

So yeah, you could take the exam and be licensed. But for someone who doesn't care to practice in the profession in any manner and only want the recognition prompts me to question your self-worth as a professional seeking something you otherwise don't really need in your career field to be successful.
Licensed Public Accountant (LPA) in Delaware and Iowa

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