How to Become an Accountant?

Are you thinking of becoming an Accountant or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become an Accountant, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Accountant job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become an Accountant

Accountants have many finance-related responsibilities generally associated with prepping financial records. These tasks can include organizing and maintaining financial records, ensuring accounting statement accuracy, and computing taxes and preparing tax returns. Accountants must perform these tasks while abiding by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). In this article, we discuss the steps required to become an accountant:

Earn your Bachelor's Degree.

Regardless of your plans for your career, to become an accountant, you must first earn a Bachelor's Degree, preferably in accounting. A college diploma in accounting is also acceptable for specific job paths, but a Bachelor's Degree in accounting is preferred. A Bachelor's Degree in accounting can lead to various business roles and provide a solid foundation for further studies in the accounting field.

During your education in accounting, you'll learn about tax laws and study accounting principles and other mathematical-based concepts. You'll also be required to study specific business-related courses such as the following:

  • Ethics.
  • International finance.
  • Auditing.
  • Financial recordkeeping.
  • Management.
  • Statistics.

Find an accounting job.

After obtaining your degree for your career in accounting, you'll need to then gain real-world experience to advance in your career. You can progress toward earning an advanced degree or taking the CPA exam while working an entry-level accounting job. If you wish to prepare for the Chartered Professional Accountant Examination but your degree is not in accounting, you can enrol in a CPA preparatory course instead of going directly to a job or while working.

Additionally, co-ops or internships for companies such as accounting firms can lead to job offers During a co-op or an internship, it's essential to put forth your best effort, be professional, and build your professional network for your future.


Earn an advanced degree.

If you plan on furthering your career beyond an entry-level accounting job, earning an advanced degree in Accounting will be necessary. A Master's Degree can also help you attain a higher salary for the position you hold. In addition, an MBA or Master's Degree in Accounting (MAcc) at a CPA-accredited university will often cover part or all of the CPA Professional Education Program (CPA PEP).

Otherwise, with only a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting, you’ll still have to take the CPA preparatory courses or gain sufficient work experience in order to enter the CPA PEP program and take the CPA exam. Master's Degree options include the following:

  • Master of Accountancy or Master of Accounting.
  • Master of Science in Accounting.
  • Master of Professional Accountancy.
  • Master of Business Administration with an accounting specialty.

Take the Chartered Professional Accountant Common Final Exam (CFE).

Depending on which accounting specialty you choose, you may decide to take your Chartered Professional Accountant Common Final Exam (CFE). This career path requires you to pass a comprehensive examination and have extensive knowledge in the field of accounting.


Continue your education.

To maintain your status as a CPA, you must complete at least 120 hours of quantifiable, relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every three years (at least 20 hours annually) and submit a CPD Declaration every year.

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