What courses should I take in college?
An understanding of accounting, business and technology are essential for CPA candidates. Accounting education generally encompasses a number of basic areas, including auditing, taxation, financial accounting and managerial accounting. The behavioral sciences also are an important addition for understanding management practices and behavior. CPA candidates also should develop effective communication, team building and project management skills and possess a knowledge of information systems. To provide for a well-rounded and well-trained CPA, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants has developed a Core Competency Framework to guide students in their education.
How open is the CPA field to women?
The accounting field is an attractive one for women and one where many women, like men, find a variety of options for meeting their professional goals. Today, 56 percent of new accounting graduates are women. Women are drawn to the field for the same reasons men are: It is a field where they can find challenging and interesting work, flexibility and high earning potential.
How open is the field to minorities?
Over the last several decades, increasing numbers of minority students have been drawn to the accounting field. Today, minority students make up about 19 percent of new accounting graduates. Playing an active role in the promotion of minorities in the profession are the National Association of Black Accountants and the American Association of Hispanic Certified Public Accountants. Both organizations provide valuable programs and services to expand the number and influence of minority professionals in the fields of accounting and finance.
Will I need to go to graduate school?
While you can work in accounting without a graduate degree, many find that it makes good sense to invest in a master's degree. With the passage of the 150-hour educational requirement in New Jersey, many state colleges now also are encouraging accounting students to springboard the additional credit requirements into an advanced degree, whether that be an MBA, a MS in Accounting or some other advanced degree. CPAs with advanced degrees generally find themselves better positioned to advance in their careers and to take advantage of new and emerging opportunities. Their salaries also tend to be significantly higher. According to the 200 Finance Executive Compensation Survey, CFOs who hold both an MBA and CPA earn an average compensation of $168,987, while their peers who have not earned such dual designations earn an average of $139,467 - a 21 percent difference.
Where can I find help to pay for an accounting education?
In addition to the federal and state aid and loan programs that are available, you also might qualify for a scholarship through the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants. Learn more about the NJSCPA Scholarship Programs. To learn about federal and state aid and loan programs, click here.
What is the difference between the State Board of Accountancy and the New Jersey Society of CPAs?
The New Jersey State Board of Accountancy is the government agency, under the jurisdiction of the Division of Consumer Affairs, that is responsible for administering New Jersey's public accountancy laws. As such, the board administers the CPA exam, licenses new CPAs, sets the guidelines for continuing professional education, and enforces the ethical and professional regulations for the accountancy profession. The board is comprised of members appointed by the Governor.
The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants is a non-profit, professional organization for CPAs in New Jersey. Since its founding in 1898, the NJSCPA has served - and continues to serve -- as the primary resource and support for CPAs in New Jersey. Today, the increasingly diverse membership encompasses CPAs who work in business and industry, in government, education, and at public accounting firms ranging in size from sole practitioners to large international organizations. From its administrative headquarters in Roseland, the NJSCPA provides members with a broad range of opportunities for their professional development, including informational, educational and networking resources. Learn more about the NJSCPA.