Career Story: Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Job Title: Certified Public Accountant

Type of Company: I provide accounting services to small businesses, acting as Controller for my largest client. I also provide individual and small corporate tax returns

Education: BS in Accounting, Minor in Spanish, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Previous Experience: I worked for a "Big 6" national public accounting firm in Boston for three years post graduation. I then worked for a large global retail company in corporate accounting before starting my own small accounting and tax practice.

Job Tasks: For my main client, I provide most of the accounting services for the company. My monthly responsibilities include reconciling all of the bank accounts and investigating discrepancies. I book all journal entries for the monthly close procedures relating to sales, inventory imports, payroll and other various accounts. I review the work done by the accounts payable team to be sure the payments are appropriate and and booked to the proper accounts for meaningful financial statements. I prepare monthly financial statements to the company owners for them to manager their business.

I often prepare additional project work for the company. One current project is a software conversion, changing from an older accounting system to a new one. This includes investigating the needs of the other system users, tailoring the program to meet the users needs and creating training documentation specifically for each users needs and job responsibilities.

I will also handle human resource issues, assisting employees with their needs on payroll, 401K and other human resource issues.

For other clients I will provide periodic accounting updates, either creating their bookkeeping records myself or reviewing their work to improve their financial reporting and to streamline their year end and tax return preparation.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: I really enjoy that I have flexibility in my schedule to work around my children and family obligations since I work for myself. The flip side of that is I have to be ready to respond quickly to client needs. At times there is less patience with an outside consultant than there is with employees. I also have to properly schedule and plan on work from multiple clients. So if all have urgent needs at the same time it can be hectic but still better working for myself. Although, I should point out that I could never have done this straight from college. It is important to see how businesses and people work and to gain experience before forging out on one's own. Clients expect you to bring experience and value to their businesses.

Job Tips: While the work experience requirement has been changed for obtaining a CPA (in the state of Massachusetts), the work done in public accounting teaches you so much! I looked at it like getting an MBA but being paid for it instead of me paying for an MBA. It is really necessary to get experience in a variety of areas to be able to work with small businesses. They expect you to have a basic working knowledge of all parts of their business.

Additional Thoughts: I wish when I was in public accounting I had focused more time on high-end clients. At the time I thought it was better to spread across industries and I enjoyed working in non-profit businesses. I enjoyed higher education and healthcare but because these are typically low-paying clients there was no recognition among the influential members of the firm. I wish I had spent more time building contacts with the clients that could have led to better contacts for after I left public accounting.

Popular Schools offering Accounting Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads
National Career College
Panorama City

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

  • Programs: Business Management and Accounting
  • Degrees: Associate
California College San Diego
National City, San Diego, San Marcos

The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

  • Programs: Business Management & Accounting (AAS), Accounting (BS), Business Management & Accounting - Property Management (AAS), more...
  • Degrees: Associate, Bachelor

Since 1888, The University of Scranton has grounded its education in Catholic and Jesuit principles based on intellectual growth and integrity, all of which shape the online master’s and certificate programs.

  • Programs: Online Master of Accountancy, Online MBA specialization in Accounting
  • Degrees: Master

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

  • Programs: Business Administration - Accounting (BS) (Online), Business Administration - Finance (BS) (Online)
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Advanced Accounting - PhD in Bus. Admin., Advanced Accounting - D.B.A., Financial Management - PhD in Bus. Admin., more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate
San Joaquin Valley College
Bakersfield, Delano, Hanford, Lancaster, Madera, Ontario, Temecula, Visalia

San Joaquin Valley College - A Private Junior College.

  • Programs: Certificate - Business Administration (Accounting), Degree - Business Administration (Accounting)
  • Degrees: Certificate, Associate

Saint Xavier University, Chicago’s oldest Catholic university, has a long history of educating students to prepare them for professional success and lay the foundation for personal fulfillment.

  • Programs: MS in Finance
  • Degrees: Master
Accounting Academy
San Diego

The Accounting Academy was founded in 2005 and has been continuously approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private-Pstsecondary Education. 


  • Programs: Accounting and Bookkeeping
  • Degrees: Certificate
Utica College

What They’re Known For

Founded in 1946 and located in the heart of central New York, Utica College is a regionally accredited, independent, private institution that features many of the advantages of a large university — such as undergraduate and graduate degree options, excellent academics, and outstanding faculty — with the intimacy and high degree of personal attention more closely associated with smaller private institutions.

  • Programs: MBA - Finance/Accounting
  • Degrees: Master

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

  • Programs: Associate of Arts in Business - Business Management, Bachelor of Arts in Business - Business Management, Master of Management
  • Degrees: Associate, Bachelor, Master
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Accountants And Auditors

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Accountants And Auditors, including:

Back to Top