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Once thought out aspirations of becoming a CPA

Back in College, I was sitting through my classes thinking about what it would one day be like to become an Accountant. At the time, I had no idea what accounting was and knew no accountants to get information from. Still, I remember it was an aspiration of mine to become a certified public accountant. Admittedly, I wanted to become a CPA because of the money and the prestige and status of being a CPA.

However, becoming a CPA would come with a cost. Where I live, there are three requirements. You have to complete 150 credit hours of college education with 30 of those hours being upper level accounting classes. You have to work at least 2 years in the field under a CPA. Finally, you have to pass the CPA exam.

Completing the education requirement would almost require getting a master's degree. Upon completing my undergrad, I had 120 credit hours and only 21 of those hours were upper level accounting courses. I'd need to take another 3 accounting courses for a semester. That would put me at 129 credit hours and I'd need to take another 21 credit hours which would be roughly 7 classes. When I last checked tuition for my state university's MBA program, I recall tuition being about $20,000. This barrier alone was enough to prevent me from jumping into the track right after graduating college.

The second requirement, I might have actually fulfilled. I've worked as a staff accountant for almost three years and I report directly to the CFO who is a CPA. But getting to this point was a giant pain. With no prior work experience, I had to take whatever job I could get before finding a job as an accountant 3 years after graduating university. At this point, I'm not even sure my boss would sign off on this requirement for me but it really isn't a big deal to me. After working as an accountant for almost three years, I can definitely say that I really don't want to become a CPA. The money is good but the hours and demands are just unreasonable. At times, I think I might be happier just making pizzas or serving coffee. However, the third requirement is the absolute deal breaker.

The third requirement is to pass the CPA exam. It is a little known secret that the CPA is a double acronym for couldn't pass it again. From what I last heard, the CPA is made up of four parts. The exam takes one year to complete and all four parts have to be completed within one year or else parts of the test you have passed start expiring. Each part of the exam costs a few hundred dollars to take and the best way to prepare is to take the becker prep classes. After four years of high school, four years of college, and three years of accounting work, this is absolutely something I refuse to do.

A big fat salary is nice, but unbearable work loads, unbearable hours, progressive credentials, and legal exposure outweigh all of the benefits on top of all the hoops a man needs to jump through to become a CPA.

Luckily for me, a man can become a staff accountant right out of college. And while the salary tops out at around $55,000 per year, it requires a lot less pain and suffering. Where I am right now, I kind of plan on staying. I don't really plan on advancing my career. Thank God for minimalism and not making life breaking mistakes, I can sustain myself off of a modest salary. And when I decide to live in a steel container in the woods, I plan on sustaining myself on a minimum wage.

The path that I took. Becoming an accountant and working years in the corporate world is not a path that I regret however I wouldn't do it over again. If I had to do it over again, I'd just become a plumber or a carpenter.

I will say this. I'm glad I never went down the path towards becoming a CPA. I know it was the correct choice for me. Really dodged a bullet there.

This post first appeared on Tactical Financial Action, please read the originial post: here

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Once thought out aspirations of becoming a CPA


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