Despite how essential it is for a business to have a firm grasp on its finances, it’s not a skill that all business owners and all managers have at their disposal. For good reason, too. It takes a long time to keep one’s’ accounts straightened out and it can be difficult to deal with the multiple facets of it all.

That’s why all kinds of businesses and individuals have need of accountants. So, what do you have to do to become one?

1. Get your education

It’s not mandatory for all accounting roles, but the truth is that most employers are going to want to see a degree relating to the job under your belt.

Which major you choose might offer a little more wiggle room, however. There are plenty of accounting-specific majors which offer the kind of market-ready skills you need.

However, a good grasp on business or mathematics, paired with an internship with an accountant, can work just as well.

2. Decide what you want to do

Before you go any further, you need to think about what exactly you want your career to be. There are differences between bookkeeping, accounting, and becoming a certified public accountant.

Bookkeepers mostly maintain records, take care of credit and debit, generate invoices, and smooth over the financial transitions of the business.

Accountants tend to take a deeper look, working with accounting clerks and handling billing. More often than not they offer in-depth financial advice to their employer, too.

CPAs are an entirely different kettle of fish and are going to require an extra step than the other two.

3. Get certified

CPAs have a different level of responsibility from accountants who aren’t certified. For one, they can perform auditing and tax services legally while others cannot. Becoming a CPA means sitting the CPA review, which is reviewable every two years.

CPAs must get used to the exam, often with further education like Surgent CPA Review helping them keep their expertise sharp. It’s a career that requires a much deeper level of engagement, but also comes with it added marketability and a higher salary in the majority of cases.

4. Get working

There’s no one set career path for any of the careers mentioned above, either. Sure, you might work in accounting, but how you do that can vary wildly. It’s a good idea to start by getting the right experience working your way up from an entry-level job.

Many accountants can spend a career in one company and can be happy. Others will work for an accounting firm. Or you might even consider outsourcing and working as a freelancer. This means you have a lot more control over the kind of clients and allow yourself access to more work opportunities.

Accounting might seem like a fairly simple career path with very little variation in roles, but the truth is that it can end up sending you in a lot of different directions. You need to make sure of what you want before you spend the money getting all those qualifications.

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