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As an accountancy or corporate finance and accounting major, how did you decide on whether or not you wanted to pursue a CPA?

After attending many events sponsored by the Big 4, I decided that I wanted to start my career at one of the large accounting firms. The recruiters made it well known that to be a qualified candidate for a job you must have the intentions of obtaining the CPA license. Often times on interviews with the firms I have found one of the first questions asked is “What is your plan to get your 150 credit hours to be eligible for CPA licensure?” Aside from qualifying myself for a position in the Big 4, I think the CPA designation also will help to separate myself from the competition should I choose to pursue a career in the private sector. The certification communicates to the employer that I understand the conceptual accounting framework and have put in countless hours of preparation for a very difficult professional certification.

When do you think is the “best” time to take the CPA exam?

The best time to take the CPA exam is the summer following completion of the 150 credits. Most people will graduate in May and most firms do not take on full time staff until September. The firms expect you to use the summer months to prepare for and begin taking the CPA exam. It is okay if not all parts are finished before you start work, but it only becomes more difficult to prepare for the exam once you have to balance it with a full time work schedule.

Do you feel the requirement of 150 credit hours to become CPA eligible have pushed some people away from the accounting field?

I think it definitely has discouraged some people away from the field. However, for those willing to put in the time and effort, the value of an accounting degree and a CPA certification has only increased due to the additional requirements.

By Joseph Hark
Joseph Hark