Wondering what it’s really like to work as a CPA? Find out in our free guide: A Day in the Life of a CPA.

Your Career

The old stereotype of the boring accountant endlessly crunching numbers in a small office is far from reality. Today, becoming a CPA can lead to an amazing number of career options.

(This an abbreviated version. Read the full article by Jeanne H. Yamamura, CPA, CGMA, MIM, PhD.)

Here’s a quick look at five of the most popular career paths for CPAs:

CPA Career Path #1: Public Accounting

CPAs in public accounting firms provide a full range of accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting services for clients of all sizes.  The auditing of public and private company financial statements, in particular, is a coveted service.

CPA Career Path #2: Business, Government, and Not-for-Profits

CPAs in this broad field can hold a range of positions, from staff accountant and financial analyst to CFO. Their responsibilities include recording, analyzing, and reporting financial information for organizations.  They can also carry out  budgeting and internal auditing functions.

CPA Career Path #3: Specialist

CPAs are now regularly called upon to provide services in specialized areas. In the information systems area, for example, specialists aid organizations in managing their information technology, including the massive amounts of data collected, by conducting risk assessments as well as analyzing and implementing systems improvements and revisions.

CPA Career Path #4: Forensic Services

Forensic CPAs use their accounting skills to investigate fraud and financial transgressions.  They examine and collect evidence that will later enable the courts to determine if a crime has been committed or enable a dispute to be resolved.

CPA Career Path #5: Financial Advisor

CPAs serve as financial advisors to individuals, helping them to manage their finances and to make informed financial decisions related to home purchases, college savings, starting a business and retirement planning.

That’s five distinctly different career path possibilities for CPAs.

Want to learn more? Here’s a more in-depth look at Career Paths for CPAs.