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Ask a CPA

Students ask WICPA members questions about the accounting career

Do CPAs need background in a foreign language?

If you are interested in working overseas, or working for a company with international divisions, it would certainly be beneficial to you, but not essential for an excellent accounting career.

What are the top benefits of an accounting career?

An accounting career is a highly respected profession. Despite the stereotype, accounting is a very people-oriented profession. If you like working with people, accounting may be for you. Another benefit is the high income potential. With the CPA designation behind your name, salaries are really limitless and you can lead a very comfortable lifestyle. Overall, the biggest benefits are the opportunities that exist for CPAs. There are many different professions that will hire a CPA. It is a great base for almost anything you do in life.

If you are a tax accountant, how do you fill your days when you are not preparing returns?

Tax accountants, either sole proprietors or firm employees, are more than just tax preparers. Throughout the year, clients need tax consulting such as answering a question about paying quarterly estimates and how a business decision will affect their taxable income.

CPAs also work with the IRS and the state Revenue Department on audits and other matters for individuals and corporations. Tax accountants handle individual, business, estate and succession planning for their clients all year long. The longest hours are from February through April. However, the work doesn’t end. There are always other projects, including consulting and extensions!

Are there any courses to help study for the CPA Exam?

Yes. There are a number of CPA study courses available that can fit your individual needs and schedule. Visit our CPA Exam page for details.

What is good major or minor to take along with accounting?

Due to the 150-hour college credit requirement for the CPA Exam, most students complete their business administration degree in accounting and remaining 30 credits in another area. Many employers look for candidates who have taken courses that are useful for accounting. These courses include an internship, public speaking, human resources, finance, marketing, or other business courses. Due to the 150-hour requirement, many students apply their remaining credits toward a minor in a business-related field.

Does a CPA license in Wisconsin transfer to other states?

Because Wisconsin has some of the most stringent requirements (150 credits, work experience, etc.), a CPA can transfer his or her Wisconsin license to other states by updating their license after filling out a form and paying an additional fee, per state. Because all states have different requirements, it’s still a good idea to consult with an individual state s Board of Accountancy.

What role does the prestige of a school play in obtaining a job?

The answer to this question could be different depending on if you are going into public accounting or another area. The prestige of the accounting program at a particular school is usually more important than the prestige of the school itself.

What are some things, other than grades, that employers look for?

An accounting degree is great; it opens up the door to a ton of work opportunities after graduation. However, keep in mind there is more that an employer looks for. Communication skills, involvement in other activities/organizations, and internships are among the deciding factors in the hiring process. Great grades help, but you have to be able to “talk the talk.

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