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How do you become an accountant?

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Quick Answer

The typical prerequisite for an entry-level job as an accountant is a bachelor's degree with a major in accounting or a related field, such as business finance. Accountants can pursue certifications in specific accounting fields, a master's degree in accounting or licensure as a certified public accountant to improve job prospects and advance in their careers.

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Full Answer

An entry-level accounting job does not typically require a certain number of hours of job-related experience if the candidate has a bachelor's degree in accounting. At the basic level, an accounting job can involve simple bookkeeping and payroll management, and a company is free to hire whomever can get the job done, regardless of formal education. Consequently, it is possible to obtain an accounting position with an associate's degree in accounting or no formal education in accounting at all.

However, to obtain an accounting position with a major company that pays well, the candidate should pursue formal qualifications. If a person wants to work as an accountant for a public corporation or government entity, obtaining a license as a CPA is typically required. Each state has its own requirements for CPA candidates that include a certain number of hours of advanced education and practical experience. Once the state requirements are satisfied, the candidate must pass the Uniform CPA Examination to obtain a permit to practice.

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