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      07-12-2012, 03:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by TeRRoRiFiC35 View Post
Most states require 150 credit hours as one of the qualifications to sit for the CPA. The other is you either need your masters or have worked in a public accounting firm for 2 yrs. So no matter what it was a lose lose. I wasn't staying the extra time at college to get 3 worthless minors in history, psychology, and communications just waiting to go to grad school in the summer. I graduated with one credit over the minimum needed to graduate because I knew what my major was going into college.
No state requires a Masters to obtain a CPA. Only a few (if any) are left where you can obtain the license after 120. The rest will allow you to sit for the exam after 120 hours and you must pass all 4 sections within 18 months of the day you received your first passing score. Once you pass, you can obtain your license after 1 year of experience under a CPA plus 30 more hours of schooling. The experience does not have to come at a public accounting firm. If you work for a department and your controller is a licensed CPA then that suffices.

The 30 hours can be obtained two ways. The first is you go take 30 additional hours of undergrad advanced accounting/finance related courses (I.E. 4000 level Audit 2, Tax 2, Forensic, Cost, etc). The second option is to attend a Masters of Accounting program which is usually 33 credit hours and takes 1 year to complete (a spring, summer and fall semester).

A CPA is a huge asset if you are an accountant. I can't state that enough. Your comments below show you truly don't understand the benefits it provides you:

You're right, I don't want to get my CPA. I didn't go into public accounting for that reason among other things. I don't think it should be a huge determing factor when it comes to jobs to begin with for the pure fact you are going to have to train a person to the departments standards no matter if they have their CPA or not. Heck, with my dealings with CPA through the public firms, they are more or less knowledgable about a companies practices to begin with. At my old job I would have to reteach the auditor that came in on how to do my job, even after giving them detailed instructions with pictures and diagrams so they could do it themselves.
Whether you like it or not, a CPA is a huge determining factor in you moving up in the accounting world. Yes, in private industry someone is going to need to become familiarized with standards when they join a new company. Every single company has their own systems in place. You seem to brag about you knowing more than the auditors, but that is to be expected. Your company is just one of many the auditor will see throughout the entire year, each with a different accounting system. So they are not stupid, they just haven't seen your system before. Fact of the matter is you are insulated. You are only one piece of the larger cog that the auditor deals with and your AP/Inventory department is a tiny part of the overall audit. They will touch every single part of your company in their time there.

Fact of the matter is you could start out as a basic staff accountant in a company's accounting department and in 10 years work your way up to Senior AP accountant where you are in charge of the other AP clerks. For the last 10 years you've lived in the world of AP and know the system inside and out, but that's all you know.

Someone who started off in public accounting and got their CPA has spent the last 10 years working every engagement imaginable. For the first two years they were a staff dealing with only a few sections of the audit at a time. For years 3-5 they were a Senior who in-charged multimillion dollar engagements of billion dollar companies. They lead teams of staff and dealt directly with the Controllers and CFO's of companies. Years 6-10 they were a Manager/Senior Manager running multiple engagements at the same time and dealing with complex accounting issues and formed personal relationships with the leaders of the company including making presentations to the Board of Directors.

So after 10 years when the AP manager job opens up and you'd be looking to get promoted to it the company is interviewing someone who's only worked in public accounting for 3-4 years and has a much broader knowledge of the accounting needed to run a company. That person who started in public at the same time as you and is now a Senior Manager isn't interviewing for AP manager jobs, they are getting calls from clients and recruiters who are offering CFO and Controller positions.

Sorry to be harsh, but unless you suck it up and get your CPA you will never, ever make it to the upper levels of the company in an accounting roll. Every single time a position opens up above you they will fill it with someone from the outside. They might not know how the software works at your company, but big deal. You had to learn at some point and they can learn it too.

So suck it up. Go take night classes and get your extra hours. Buy a CPA prep course like Becker and get your damn license. In the end you'll be much better off.