The Road to Success_ How to Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

November 15th, 2023

How to Become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

A lot of accounting jobs in Jackson MS open up when you become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). This significant achievement not only opens doors to a wide range of career possibilities but also signifies a high level of expertise, ethics and professionalism.

If you are looking to advance your career in accounting, becoming a CPA is one of the best decisions you can make. Here in Mississippi, 150 semester hours are required, including a minimum of 48 semester hours of upper-division or graduate-level accounting and business-related courses.

Below are the steps to follow when working towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant.

Understand the Requirements

To become a CPA, you need to meet specific educational and experience requirements. Typically, this includes completing a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Each state has different prerequisites. In Mississippi, you’re expected to complete 150 semester hours of college education. You can learn more about the requirements for taking the CPA exam here.

Pass the CPA Exam

The CPA exam is a rigorous four-part exam designed to test your knowledge in various areas of accounting and finance. The four sections are Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Regulation (REG). Create a study plan, invest in quality study materials and consider enrolling in a CPA review course to increase your chances of passing each section.

Gain Relevant Work Experience

Most states require candidates to gain a certain amount of work experience under the supervision of a licensed CPA. This experience is crucial as it provides practical exposure to the accounting profession. Seek internships, entry-level positions or roles in public accounting firms to fulfill this requirement.

Apply for CPA Licensure

After meeting the education, exam and experience requirements, you can apply for CPA licensure through your state board of accountancy. The application process typically involves submitting transcripts, exam scores and proof of work experience. Make sure you complete all the necessary paperwork so that there are no delays in your licensing.

Pass the Ethics Exam (If Required)

Some states require candidates to pass an ethics exam before granting the CPA license, and this includes Mississippi. The ethics exam tests your understanding of professional ethics and standards in the accounting profession. Study the applicable code of conduct and regulations in your state (AICPA) to prepare for this exam.

Continue Professional Development

Once you become a CPA, the learning doesn’t stop. Engage in continuing professional education (CPE) to stay updated with the latest accounting standards, regulations and industry trends. Many states have specific CPE requirements for CPAs to maintain their licenses, so make sure to fulfill these obligations. They may feel tedious, but this ensures you’re following the latest practices.

Join Professional Organizations

Consider joining professional organizations like the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and your state CPA society – Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy. These organizations provide networking opportunities, access to valuable resources and a platform to stay connected with fellow professionals in the field.

Find Work with a Staffing Firm

Accounting firms hire staffing agencies to help them fill open positions with top talent. By reaching out to a staffing firm, you can get your name in the database and be considered for far more positions. Plus, staffing firms excel at matching candidates to the best jobs based on their skills, experience and personality.

Discover Accounting Jobs in Jackson MS

Becoming a CPA requires dedication, hard work and a commitment to ethical conduct. By following these steps and staying focused on your goals, you can navigate the path to CPA licensure successfully. Let Capitol Staffing help you on your journey – we can match you to the best accounting jobs in the area.