January 10, 2019 at 10:54 am #2158087
I recently came across Another 71 from the New York State Society of CPAs (“NYSSCPA”) and I’ve been perusing the forum and the site to find that it’s been helpful resource. This is my first post here in hopes of getting some guidance. Many thanks I’m advance!
I graduated with a B.S. in Accounting in 2013 from a public college in NYC. That particular program was tailored so that anyone who graduated left with the minimum 150-credit requirement to be certified as a public accountant in NYS. So I meet the education requirement by virtue of my degree.
Since graduating, I put off the CPA exam because of many life challenges that came up soon after that I could not devote the time it requires to prepare and take the exam. So I’ve been working mostly accounting jobs at law firms since 2014 and now that things have more or less settled I’m seriously considering my career path. My manager at my current job is encouraging me to pursue a Masters in Accounting which I feel I don’t need for two reasons: the course load I took while as an undergrad is identical to the Masters programs I've checked out at various universities; and, personally the CPA – or any other accounting certification for that matter – seems to be what is needed to go beyond law firm accounting. I don’t see myself working in law firm accounting long term and would like to definitely take my career in a vastly different direction. Not to mention I also don’t want to get saddled in student loan debt but if I have to I’ll consider it.
Here’s what I need some guidance:
Is there merit in pursuing a Masters education with the degree that I currently have? Will the CPA and my bachelors degree make me marketable for say senior-level accounting positions at private companies or entry-level positions at public accounting companies?
Let’s say I were to pursue the CPA, I am uncertain that my company is not going to reimburse some or all the fees (they generally do for other certification in other departments like HR or IS) but the sense from talking to my manager that I get is they will not because it’s not related to my current job (which I think is nonsense but that’s neither here nor there). Truthfully, I can maybe foot the bill to pay for the exam but I cannot pay for courses and other study prep material. And so I’m also considering seeking a job where they’ll sponsor that for me in some or large part.
I realize this a long read and I greatly appreciate the time and any input and feedback you may provide. I will gladly answer any questions or provide some clarification, if needed.January 10, 2019 at 11:32 am #2158117
CPA and bachelor's is fine. Especially if you have the 150 already. Find someone to pay for it if you're willing to switch jobs. Generally prep courses aren't reimbursed in lieu of education reimbursement. Experience, accomplishments, and connections make you marketable. CPA and degrees just level the playing field.January 10, 2019 at 11:44 am #2158123
Jimmy G and the BoysParticipant
I say you should ask if they will reimburse you (or ask for a bonus!). Just explain why you are asking. Course materials have cost me close to $2,000. I switched companies and had to pay that back since I did not get my CPA before I switched. However, I asked my new company for a hiring bonus to help pay for my CPA, and they came back 5 minutes with a revised offer letter with more than enough to cover my expenses.January 10, 2019 at 11:56 am #2158147
You owe yourself to at least take the exams since it was your focus in school. You can apply right now to NASBA and I think you should. Do not go for your masters if your firm isnt going to pay for it. You do not need it. You should 100% get your firm to reimburse you for CPA exam application fees. If your current CFO or controller has a CPA, then the reason you push for reimbursement is that you are following the example set by management and you need to meet industry expectations as a maturing accounting professional. And also tell them you cannot afford it. I would be very surprised if they don't try to help you accomplish this goal. If your supervisor is a prick, then set up a meeting with the managing partner to state your case. The partners are the ones who ultimately sign the checks.
Start looking for positions in public accounting while you study/pass exams. First, reach out to public accounting recruiters via linkedin after you are approved to sit for exams by NASBA. Send them an invite with a nice message saying that you are an aspiring CPA candidate looking to get into public from private. They can get you going in the right direction. Public accounting recruiters will treat you as entry level, so your college GPA will be evaluated against your competition. I think you should get into public accounting, esp Big4 if you can do it. Btw, you will probably make less money going into public. Its all about name recognition, so push hard for Big4.
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