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Occupation Info

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Overview: Certified public accountants are state licensed or certified. They analyze financial data and prepare reports for individuals or organizations in order to describe the financial soundness of business operations. These reports are used for management decision making.
Duties: They design procedures and computer-based methods to capture business transaction data such as sales, purchases and accounts payable and receivable. They report the flow of money and assets.

They monitor and audit their clients' contracts to determine if contract terms have been satisfied before authorizing payments to suppliers and vendors.

They design and implement financial controls and checking methods to protect their clients against embezzlement, fraud, theft and waste.

They prepare balance sheets to reflect a business' assets, liabilities and capital for purposes of calculating taxes owed the government and for evaluating management's success.

Degree(s): A.A.S. Accounting 
A.A.S. Management: Marketing Concentration 
A.A.S. Management: Real Estate-Insurance Concentration 
A.S. Business Administration (Accounting and Marketing) 
Job Outlook: Employment of certified public accountants will grow much faster than average through 2018. Growth will arise out of greater need for accountability, transparency and control in financial reporting. Increased scrutiny of accounting procedures in public companies will create a need for CPAs.
Salary Range (National Average): $40,000 to $45,000
Growth: Growth
Education Level: Typically, a Bachelor’s Degree from a 4-year college (some are 5 years) is required to be considered for this occupation.
Additional Training/Education: Public accounting firms and business organizations require CPA accountants to have a bachelor's degree in accounting and a familiarity with computer accounting programs. CPA's must be licensed in all states and requires that the applicant pass a two-day written examination.
Advancement Info: In accounting firms, beginning public accountants usually start by working on a few accounts. They may advance to jobs with more responsibility in one or two years. They may advance to senior positions in another few years. Some become supervisors, managers, and partners. Others open their own firms. Still other accountants may transfer to executive jobs in management accounting or internal auditing in private firms.
Recommended Skills:
  • Weighing out the options in a situation or a problem and logically choosing the best course of action.
  • Determining how much money is required to get a job done, allocating those monies, and then accounting for all expenditures.
  • Using mathematics and/or statistics to solve problems.
  • The ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.
Recommended Values:
  • Having a routine job where the duties are very predictable and not likely to change over a long period of time.
  • Gaining the respect of others by the nature and/or level of responsibility of your work.
  • Being able to decide on how to get something done without significant direction from someone else.
  • Having a level of income that will afford you with luxuries, and which will allow you to become financially independent.

* National data collected by the Department of Labor between 2008-2012.
* For New York salary data information please click here
* For New York green job information please click here.

Understanding acquiring positions in this field may be enhanced through continuing academic study (i.e. earning a baccalaureate or a master's degree) and/or work experience in the field, Queensborough Community College has established transfer agreements with other institutions for students who wish to further pursue their educational goals. Students are highly encouraged to meet with one of our Career Services Advisor to fully understand the opportunities available through study in their degree program.