Top Career Choices for New CPAs

Top Career Choices for New CPAs

As a new Certified Public Accountant, you’ve been opened up to a new world of exciting job opportunities now available to you. Once you have earned your bachelor’s or master’s degree and passed the Uniform CPA exam, you can seek out career possibilities in specific areas that fit your goals and interests, both professional and personal.

According to the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011 Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of accountants and auditors is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2008 and 2018. Below, we discuss a few of the many different areas that new CPAs now have the opportunity to specialize in.

Public Accounting (Firms)

Also known as external auditors, public accountants perform accounting, auditing, tax, and consulting activities for their clients. These clients may be corporations, nonprofit organizations, individuals or government entities. Many CPAs focus on tax issues, preparing state and income tax returns for individuals and businesses. Others may provide guidance regarding employee compensation or health care benefits.

As more emphasis is placed on transparency and accountability in financial reporting, businesses are finding themselves in much greater need of qualified CPAs. Companies are facing consistently increasing scrutiny of their financial procedures, leading to a growing need for CPAs to thoroughly audit their records.

Personal and Financial Planning

One path a CPA may pursue is providing business and financial advice to private individuals. In this arena, you would work with clients to assist them in managing their finances and helping them to make sound financial decisions and investments. Assistance with taxes and investments, retirement, college planning, home buying, and starting a business all fall under the job description of personal and financial planning. This career is a great fit if you are more ‘people-oriented’ and carry a desire to help and educate your clients.

Governmental Accounting

This public sector work has several areas of possibility. Government accountants may maintain and analyze the records of government agencies, or may work with private businesses whose transactions must meet government regulations or taxation. Job opportunities may be available within the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Defense, the General Accounting Office, or in budget analysis, financial management or financial institution examination. You may find opportunities as an IRS agent, financial manager, administrator, budget analyst, or financial institution examiner.


As a consultant, you would offer a selection of specialized services for a company. These services could include performance management, where you would apply broad business knowledge as a means of improving a company’s financial and strategic operations, developing strategies and operations for new businesses, or corporate financial operations. Consulting CPAs often own their own businesses and firms, which allows them the chance to build their own staff and clientele according to their own professional needs, interests and objectives.


Congratulations on becoming a CPA. Now that you have the respected title of CPA, it’s time to decide which career path best suits your individual goals and interests in order to advance your CPA career possibilities. Whether you prefer government work, individual tax preparation, financial planning, or consulting, chances are good that you will discover an area of accounting that you find to be both challenging and rewarding.

*Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research as salary potential and employment opportunities may vary depending on location, experience, education and other factors.

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