emerging cpa

The Ever Evolving CPA

Education, experience, and licensing for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) is changing. The new future is emerging quickly, unfolding right now, even as you read this blog. The CPA Evolution, as this change is being called, has a working group formed in late 2018. That group is charged with developing future projections while maintaining security for today.

Factors Influencing this Time of Transition

Yes, technology is a big one! We see how IT is changing the face of commerce, education, healthcare, and social relationships. That includes positives and downsides. Regardless, the change wave is in motion and gaining momentum.

The role of the CPA is broadening as the need for more sophisticated technology functions are growing. That means being able to apply big data analytics and advanced auditing methods with professional and mandated requirements. Various associations and state groups are preparing and gathering materials to update current CPAs and those on the way to licensure.

Position Yourself for CPA Changes

As with other professions, technology integration occurs during one’s education and/or on the job. Upskilling is the word of the day in that regard. For those beginning or midway in their education, it is wise to stay abreast of expected educational changes such as:

  • A balance in accounting and technical requirements;
  • Advanced skills learning dealing with analysis and security measures; and
  • System and organizational management and controls.

These anticipated advancements are something to investigate closely if you are contemplating an advanced degree or beginning certification steps.

Watch for CPA Exam Changes Too!

There is current agreement that testing will cover specialized knowledge while keeping the current testing core of accounting and technology. The special sections will be based on areas of interest and study. The bottom line is that CPA educational, exam and systems changes are underway. These will address the changing demands within the profession and from community and business stakeholders.

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CPA Skills

Surefire Ways to Gain Top CPA Skills

As a CPA you know that increasing your skills, including tech systems, requires continuous professional development. Have you decided to delve into this more? Here are some suggestions of where to begin updating your CPA skills, guiding you towards continued success!

Keep Your Tax Information Updated

Tax mandates and laws are continuously changing at the federal, state, and local levels. Your role requires that you keep yourself updated about changes, knowing where to find information at a moment’s notice. Your ability to do so, and translate changes to clients and managers, makes you a true accounting asset.

Refine Your Leadership and Management Style

To lead is one thing, and to manage another. As you expand your CPA role, consider the benefits of practicing both leadership and management. Turn to your community to delve into leadership by sitting on the board of a locally owned financial institution or civic organization. Doing so aids with developing public speaking security. In your workplace, request to shadow or be mentored by a manager whom you admire.

Hone Your Communication Skills

Your resume’s accounting skills might have landed you an interview, but keep in mind that employers are also looking for collaborative personalities, an executive presence, good conflict-management, and adaptability.

As an accountant, you most likely need to collaborate across departments and communicate with a wide variety of colleagues. Keeping in mind that your co-workers with may not be as finance savvy as you are, you need to be able to present information in an easy to comprehend manner. Conveying information clearly goes a long way toward supporting your credibility.

Build Business Expertise

Your accounting role is crucial for a business’s success, from financial stability to reporting assurances. This requires you to become well attuned to business practices as you gain experience and increased inclusion in decision-making.

Keep on Learning new CPA Skills

You’re sure to attain top CPA skills when you make continued education a priority. Assess your current CPA skill set, comparing it with accounting sector recommendations. Most likely you’ll find that keeping financial and tech knowledge current is at the top of the list. Share what you are learning within your team, encouraging others along the way.

Are you  a CPA looking for a new position?   Click here to view Beacon Resources’ list of open accounting and finance positions.


The CPA Guide to Management

As CPAs hone their skills in corporate accounting, public accounting, and other financial services, many naturally want to move up the management ladderBut, a management position is not necessarily a given. Yet, you know that your certification is valuable. And that, combined with the right experience and continued education, will grant you entry into your choice of management opportunities.  To be promoted to management, CPAs needs to show they can handle any of the work being performed by support staff under them.  So, where to begin?

Identify Options and Direction

As a CPA, you can choose from several career pathways. Begin by reviewing your interest and aptitude for each.

  • If you excel at technology and information analysis, consider options like big data analysis or business systems manager.
  • You can advance your banking or tax sector management eligibility with certifications in those areas.
  • Interest in accounting’s legal applications may guide you toward studying law.

Pursue Management Education

It is a given that accounting advancement and continued learning go hand-in-hand. Though there is on-the-job training, formal education assures management success.

  • Begin with a course or first step toward a certificate.
    • If most of your coursework was in finance and accounting, consider an IT or human resource option to broaden your knowledge base.
    • When you are considering different career paths, take a continuing education course in each. Doing so offers lessons that can guide your next career step.
  • Use educational benefits at work. Meet with your supervisor to discuss your aspirations.

Refine Your Tech and Soft Skills

Continually upgrade your technical and interpersonal skills to enhance your management potential.

  • Advancing your tech prowess can be accomplished at work or in school.
    • Request to be part of an IT department project or the chance to job shadow.
    • Take a course that will advance skills and demonstrate your commitment to learning.
  • Read about leadership, communication, workplace culture, and employee engagement.
    • Yes, you may find a course on these topics!
    • Objectively assess your workplace in these areas. As a future manager, you can learn as much about what to do well as what to avoid.

Be Your Own Manager First

This is a twist on the “walk the talk” adage. Manage yourself by mastering areas that will benefit from growth.

  • Practice extroversion if you are reserved.
  • Hone your listening and observation skills.
  • Learn to speak before groups.
  • Gain leadership experience by volunteering in your community.

For more career advancement tips, check out Plan Your Path to the CFO Office



Accounting Certification

What is the Most In-demand Accounting Certification?

You wisely chose to pursue an accounting career. Your next step is to apply your specialized knowledge by pursuing a certification. There are several in-demand accounting certifications to choose from and pursuing more than one will increase your marketability. Many times, employers are even willing to  contribute to the accounting certification process for their employees.

Accounting Certification #1: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

The CPA is a widely recognized accounting certification with CPAs being state licensed. Businesses large and small, and members of the general public, require the CPA’s generalized services. These include conducting audits in profit and non-profit organizations and providing tax guidance.

  • CPA certification qualifications include:
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Accounting courses
  • State designated education and work experience

Accounting Certification #2: Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The CFA demonstrates high proficiency in asset management, economics, and financial standards. This internationally recognized credential leads to the roles of controller and CFO.

  • CFA certification qualifications are:
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Or a mix of education and work experience totaling four years
  • An understanding of professional conduct and responsibility

Accounting Certification #3: Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

The CMA has a management focus that prepares you for the role of COO or CFO. This credential partners well with the CPA, boosting your career potential.

  • To be eligible for the certification exam, you need:
  • A bachelor’s degree or accounting certification
  • Two years of specified work experience

Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)

This internationally recognized certification combines financial and auditing proficiency with information technology. It is most beneficial for internal auditors, particularly those on a management track.

  • To take the exam for this certification you need:
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Two years of internal audit experience, one year of which can be substituted by a master’s degree

Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)

The CFE combines knowledge about law, investigation, and criminology with accounting. The CFE reviews accounts and personal records, and conducts interviews, remaining ever alert for patterns of fraud. This highly marketable work is conducted within a business or by an external consulting organization.

  • CFE exam qualifications include:
  • A bachelor’s degree
  • Member of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE)
  • Two or more years of relevant experience

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