CPA prep is needed to get you to the stage where you can practice as a fully licensed Certified Public Accountant, and the stages you have to go through are long and challenging. This is necessary because of the importance of the work which is being carried out, its precision nature, and the fact that mistakes can be incredibly expensive.
There have been recent cases where financial irregularities in a publicly traded business were overlooked, and this resulted in both the business and the accountant being wiped out.
CPAs play a major role
The Securities and Exchange Commission insists that all publicly listed companies are audited every year. The reason for this is apparent, as the institutions who pour millions of dollars of money into the stock market need to know the actual state of the company and its finances. Only if they are given accurate information, can they make the best investment choices on behalf of their clients?
The individual investors who operate in the stock markets also need this information to make their own choices. The CPA firms which carry out this auditing are typically retained to do the same job every year, as they will already have prior experience of the business and its accounts.
The first part of your preparations for becoming a CPA should be to develop as thorough an understanding of the workings of the profession as possible. There are accountants of all levels working within these companies, from the senior accountants with training and experience who carry out the actual auditing of public companies, to the trainee accountants who are still waiting for the opportunity to take their final CPA examinations.
There is a one year wait between qualifying with a bachelor’s degree, and being able to take the examination, which you will have to be prepared to go through.
Get a Degree!
The most crucial CPA prep comes in the form of a bachelor’s degree, and the time it takes to obtain this. If you are going to be studying at a college campus, you will need to be able to devote two years to private study. This type of learning is the traditional model, but it is not suitable for everyone.
It works best for those who are of typical college age because most mature students will have existing careers and other commitments, which means that they cannot give two years to residential study. When you train on campus, you will be able to integrate more easily with useful contacts.
The students who would find it difficult or impossible to give two years to residential study can take heart from the fact that most degree courses are now available for home study through the Internet. Many of these courses are the same ones that are offered as campus programs, provided by the same providers.
You can also find courses offered by dedicated online learning providers, and these can be riskier. If you choose a learning institution that is not established, make sure you carry out enough research to determine their reliability.
Your CPA prep time will end when you have completed your degree course, and then the one-year provisional experience which you should gain just following this. When you have reached this stage, you will be able to sit the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination.
This will give you the qualification you need to be able to work in any aspect of accountancy, including the auditing of public companies. While you are working through your initial year, it is essential to keep using study guides to maintain your knowledge so that you can pass the examination with the help of your CPA prep.