I am a Certified Public Accountant
How would you describe what you do?
Complex, challenging, interesting, very rewarding.
What does your work entail?
Being a client’s confidant, prepare personal and corporate tax returns, prepare financial statements, provide litigation support to attorneys, assess and value businesses (not an investment advisor however)
Estate planning, to listen to client’s financial concerns and provide them with the best advice I can.
What’s a typical work week like?
During the tax season, twice as busy as a normal day. The rest of the year, 25% visit with clients, 75% do the work for the clients.
How did you get started?
First as CFO of a company. Then joint with 3 attorneys as the in-house CPA and gradually out on my own.
What do you like about what you do?
Takes a lot of mental exercise to do the job and I like that.
What do you dislike?
Procrastination. This is one thing that really makes my job more difficult. Clients drop off the taxes April 14 and want it back April 15 and drop off corporate taxes September 15 and want it back the same day. If we don’t get it done, they will pay hundreds in penalty and we are blamed for it.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated as a CPA?
Flat fee of hourly fee depending on the service.
How much money do you make as a CPA?
How much money did you make starting out as a CPA?
My first month-$180.00
What education or skills are needed to do this?
You need five years of college plus a two year internship.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Understanding new tax laws and accounting rules well enough to apply to the real life. After all, we are practitioners.
What is most rewarding?
Solving complex problems. And there are many.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Be prepared to take a lot of pressure.
How much time off do you get/take?
In the aggregate, one month per year.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
We only do taxes and we all wear prescription glasses and carry a pencil. Not true.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
To have my children take over my practice. This tells you how much I love what I do.
What else would you like people to know about what you do?
We do a lot more than taxes. Tax is about 50%. I do a lot of litigation support, business planning and consulting, estate and ,yes, divorce planning, etc.
I have been considering to be a CPA and am currently pursuing a degree to go that route because it is a stable job. I am attending community college and transferring to a four year university. I just want to know does it matter where I transfer to? For example, if someone from California State University of Long Beach and someone from University of California Irvine both applied to the same position with the same resume and experiences, would the person from UCI get the job?