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Life as a CPA

Life as a CPA (14): Now what? Is CPA a Career Option?

– Ty’s Summer Internship – Day 22 –

I remember that one of my accounting professors said “Becoming a CPA means joining a club”. I think what he meant to say was that by becoming CPA it will professionally separate you from others. Same thing with Lawyers and Medical Doctors, the CPA license will give you the authority and privilege to legally practice audit, tax, and other accounting practices. Others may be able to work for these accounting practices, but CPAs are the only ones who can sign the paper.

So for the people in this profession, the CPA credential is a big part of who they are.  It’s not just a title on the business card, but it also exponentially expands career opportunities. As Donny kept mentioning, specialization is a key to be successful as CPA, which means as a CPA there are whole different types of work that I could possibly get into, beside those traditional CPA functions. I think IT advisory is definitely one of those “specialized” fields for CPAs that I would be interested in.

Working for IntrapriseTechKnowlogies and shadowing Donny definitely gave me the opportunity to broaden my perception of the CPA profession and the possible future career opportunities that it provides. As a current MBA student (or any accounting student), we focus so much on CPA exams, and professors are pouring their hearts on making us pass the exams. Yes, that is very important, because unless you become a CPA, there is no point of worrying about future career variety in CPA profession.  But same time, we don’t get to see much of what is coming after you become a CPA, so my summer experience was very much fruitful, providing me a new and fresh perspective.  Passing the CPA exam and getting my CPA license is just a start, there is a whole world of specialization after that for me to explore.

My initial reaction to the on-site work in Hawaii was that it is very similar to what I used to do, which was IT consulting. I even thought that I don’t need to be a CPA to do this kind of work. But as I have been gradually exposed to more work, I notice that there is a critical difference between IT consulting, by just IT consultants, and IT advisory by a CPA. It’s a Club Membership. It’s an authority that CPA has but IT consultants don’t. CPAs can provide professional advice on controls, processes, and financial insights as well as IT consultation if that’s their specialization. IT consultants can probably do same thing, but the credibility, respect, and trust that CPAs gain from the clients are so much more meaningful than that of IT consultants. It’s simply the power of the CPA brand, the trusted advisor. I don’t think any general IT consultants would get the kind of authority and privilege that CPAs do.

Knowing the fact that there is a super power in CPA profession, it sounds almost silly to question myself if I want to be a CPA or not. Yes, I definitely would like to take that professional route.

(I would like to share that “I am a CPA” video that Donny showed at the end of Office Tool Professional Key note speech. The video by AICPA)

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