What is a Global Accounting Professional?
Accounting is a high profile career globally with immense employment and self-earning opportunities for professionals. While many countries have their own accounting qualifications such as the Chartered Accountant in India, it is the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license that is regarded as the top accounting qualification in the world. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants conducts this exam. For any accounting career aspirant, CPA is the perfect opportunity.
Benefits of doing CPA course
By becoming a CPA, one can enter a world of endless and richly paying employment opportunities. It is regarded as the best outlet for your accounting potential. Let’s take a look at some of the major benefits associated with CPA:
Globally recognized – Run by the world’s largest accounting body, AICPA, the CPA is regarded highly all over the world. For Indians with CA, CMA, CS, MBA (Finance), M Com, or other commerce graduates, it is a great global certification to acquire.
Employment potential – It is mandatory for an accounting professional in the USA to be a CPA in order to conduct any audits. Hence, clearing the CPA exam can open doors for Indian professionals to get high paying jobs in accounting & auditing companies, financial institutions, banks, investment firms, research firms, mutual funds, hedge funds, merger & acquisition industry, and private equity firms, etc.
Easy exams – CPA is a simplified online exam comprising only 4 papers. With adequate preparation, you can clear the exam in even less than a year.
Essential for Commerce graduates/PGs – There is probably no other internationally reputed certification that one can easily pursue along with a job and give such a boost to his/her career.
Chartered Accountants are the most regarded accounting professionals in India whereas a US CPA is recognized globally. Let’s take a comparative look at both qualifications:
Success rate: Indian CA pass percentage was about 16% in 2018 whereas for CPA it was close to 50% across various papers.
Duration: It takes about 3-4 years to become a qualified CA whereas you can become a CPA in about a year with good preparation.
Program structure: CA has three levels of exams whereas CPA is a single level exam.
Employability: CA qualification makes you employable in India whereas CPA makes you job ready for the Indian as well as global markets.
Cost: If one doesn’t take into account the extra years spent and opportunities lost during preparation then the Indian CA course has a lower cost. For CPA, the program fees are fractionally higher, but it can make you job-ready in a substantially smaller period of time as compared to CA.
Earnings: An average CPA earns 15% to 40% higher than a CA.
Eligibility for CPA
CPA is the most reputed international accounting certification and you must have one of the following qualifications to appear for this exam:
- Membership of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
- Membership of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants in India.
- Company Secretary qualification
- Post-graduation in commerce
- MBA degree
Some of the American states also accept Indian CA’s with a B Com qualification. However, these rules might vary from one state to another and you need to find out in detail while applying.
CPA Program Structure
The uniform CPA exam is divided into four parts. Each section has a separate syllabus and paper which you need to master. These four parts of the CPA exam are:
- Auditing and Attestation (AUD),
- Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR)
- Regulation (REG),
- Business Environment Concepts (BEC)
Cumulatively, these 4 parts represent 16 hours of testing. The segmented breakup for each part is as listed below.
Auditing and Attestation (AUD) – 4 hours exam with 72 Multiple Choice Questions and 8 task based simulations.
Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) – 4 hours exam with 66 Multiple Choice Questions and 7 task based simulations.
Regulation (REG) – 4 hours exam with 76 Multiple Choice Questions and 6 task-based simulations.
Business Environment and Concepts (BEC) – 4 hours exam 62 Multiple Choice Questions, 4 task-based simulations, and 3 written communications tasks.
The exam comprises elements like multiple choice questions, written communication, and task simulations. The scoring for this exam is done on an independent basis for each candidate. This scoring methodology results in the assessment of a candidate on the basis of knowledge, skills, and analytic approach. With the passage of time, the number of CPAs has been steadily rising.
CPA application process and fees
In certain cases, successfully applying for a professional exam is in itself a challenging prospect. You must know that applying for the CPA exam is not the same as applying for a CPA license.
At the first stage, you need to clear all 4 Uniform CPA exams with a score of 75 percentile or above, and then you can become eligible for the CPA license and initiate the application process for the same. After ascertaining the minimum eligibility for the US state jurisdiction that you wish to apply for, you need to pay the application and exam fees. The fees need to be submitted with the application form and other necessary documents.
While the application and exam process for CPA might appear a bit tedious and an aspirant needs to pay great attention to all aspects of the process, the outcome is usually rewarding. With leading global firms such as EY, Deloitte, Accenture, etc hiring large numbers of CPAs, you can obtain this qualification to jump-start your accounting career.