Picking a specialty?

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  • #3063879
    bmj2s
    Participant

    Good morning, I just saw the article NASBA posted about picking a specialty (as being generalized in a multitude of topics can actually be a negative) and I have no idea what I want to do after the CPA Exam. I'm absolutely sure I am not the only one going through this though. My current role in my company does not require a CPA, and most of the CPA's that I work with are just senior accountants who left public audit to settle down.

    I've been told to “find a passion” before, but I just don't know how to pick something. I've looked at AICPA memberships in a specific area, the NASBA article had quite a few fields also, but there's so many! The OCD me says try them all, the ADHD me says I don't have time to do everything lol.

    AUD - 77
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 78
    REG - 76
    AICPA Ethic Exam = 91%
    #3064683
    thunderlips
    Participant

    if you pass before the changes you dont have to worry about the specialty. passing the exam gives you options into reporting audit tax etc

    #3068805
    JFKGY
    Participant

    @thunderlips is right. Pass it before then you are good.

    Also, try the other way, cross out what you DON'T WANT TO DO first. Then, when you are ready to move forward to a new position, apply everything you can “bare with”, and faith will determine which one is good for you. People usually find their field in their 30s (as you don't switch jobs often or as easy).

    Picking a specialty often doesn't mean you need to choose between audit / tax / public, many accountants don't practice in the pure-accounting field, but might be working as sales manager, IT, control, supply chain, contract review, marketing analysis, etc. Sometimes even general accountant have specialty in a particular industry and become an expert, like food & restaurant, wholesales (department stores / supermarket).

    Regardless what you do, the goal is to stick with one thing (or one goal in general), and work your way up to a management level / partner. Once you reach that level, or even as semi-management level, you won't be doing accounting work anymore. You job will be 100% hiring other people to do it for you and give instructions. Your only accounting task will be once so often read the financials report. I'm assuming most people will ultimate reach this level, or wanted to reach this level, unless you work for financial investments aka the wall street type.

    Obviously, you will need to pick something that qualifies for the CPA first, which means bookkeeping / audit / tax / government/ forensic/ public. It only becomes a free play game after you get CPA.

    NY - License Approved December 2020.
    #3073599
    bmj2s
    Participant

    So this is the article NASBA had posted: https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/art-of-accounting-developing-a-niche-or-specialty

    I was reading into it and my thing about it was what do I want to do after I pass? It mentions specializing in an industry, a service, practice mgmt, size, or geographic. And then even digging deeper into sub-specialties.

    I've not been in public accounting as of yet (my GPA wasn't quite high enough to persuade a firm I was dedicated). But I'm also not sure I want to start back down at the bottom with my 4 years of various industry experience. I am 31, about to be 32. I've been interested in tax, but not just the sales tax job I did for a retail company. Of course, the income tax dept always had an opening but a Staff 1 required 2 years of experience else where so they'd never consider me. My current role is just a staff 2 in healthcare, but my role is general bookkeeping and I'm totally uninterested in it. Basically just booking accruals for the same monthly expenses every month.

    I think I had given Service, Industry, and potentially Practice Mgmt a thought. I'm a very technical person. Love building templates and working calculations, but I'm not entirely sure what I could do with that. After the CPA I'm sure several people who “spat” on my resume may not feel so inclined to do so again, but I just can't choose what I want to do for the rest of my life. lol. Lots of things sound interesting but I over analyze and shoot it down before I try it out.

    AUD - 77
    BEC - 82
    FAR - 78
    REG - 76
    AICPA Ethic Exam = 91%
    #3075144
    JFKGY
    Participant

    Let's just be honest, I was never in public accounting either. I think public accounting is great, but it's not the end of the world. 80% of accountants don't have CPA and maybe 95% are not in public.

    I think you need to decide if you need to decide if you want to shoot for tax or remain in “everything other than tax”. Perhaps one of your various experience can transit you into the tax field?

    You also said you are very interested in templates and calculation, so maybe being an analyst or consulting?

    Healthcare is a very big industry in US, and you can easily transit to another position. Consider specialize in medical billing / analyst? Forensic and investigation accounting? Paramedical? Pharmaceutical? Hospital? Medical transportation? Social Work? Non-profit? Healthcare sponsor fitness? Healthcare sponsor meal programs? Payroll? Law?

    NY - License Approved December 2020.
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