CPA Exam or Bookkeeping certification?

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  • #194772 Reply
    NCAccg
    Member

    I am in my mid 40s and work a clerical job that has nothing to do with accounting. I took it a few years ago because it was easy to get and the hours suited me. There is no future here, though. My goal is to reenter the accounting field. I do have an accounting degree with enough credit hours to sit for the CPA exam and a couple of years experience in general accounting and AP. It has been awhile since I have done accounting so I thought I would obtain some type of certification to show prospective employers I know what I am doing. I am undecided on whether I should sit for the CPA exam first or earn bookkeeper certification now to get back in the field and then sit for the exam at a future time. My thought is the bookkeeping exam will not be as difficult and it might be easier to find a lower level job. I appreciate any advice on my situation.

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  • #673616 Reply
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I'm no recruiter but I would think that with your accounting degree and relevant past experience working general accounting and A/P that a bookkeeping certificate would be of little benefit –I'd go all in on the CPA exam.

    #673617 Reply
    Tncincy
    Participant

    You're already a clerk or doing administrative work. I agree, a bookkeeping certificate will not add any value to what you already have……Go for the cpa exam. More challenging, exciting,prestige, and money. I am sent so many emails for certified bookeeping and ea exams,….I considered it a long time ago, but when I saw how much more recognizable and accomplished the cpa is, I let it go immediately and began to prepare for it instead. Go for the CPA.

    By the way I'm 50 and I believe there is still hope. Forget those too old thoughts.

    It begins with a 75
    Been here too long as a cheerleader.....time to pass
    #673618 Reply
    CPA50
    Participant

    I just turned 51 🙂 I started this journey at 40 and had to get all my accounting classes. You've got a huge leg up already, so go for it. I hire bookkeepers for my company, and frankly a bookkeeping certification doesn't mean anything to me.

    GO FOR THE CPA! When you're 60, you will still be able to find a job with a CPA credential.

    AUD - 80
    BEC - 77
    FAR - 80
    REG - 80
    3 years

    + 16 tests

    + 2 expired sections

    = DONE FOREVER!

    #673619 Reply
    NCAccg
    Member

    Thanks for the advice, everyone! I worry that my being away from the accounting field will be looked upon negatively when I try to find employment even as a lower level clerk. Is there a way to show I have retained accounting knowledge without sitting for the CPA? Is a Quickbooks certification any good? I also worry that if I do pass the CPA, I still will not be able to find a job.

    #673620 Reply
    Ag12thman
    Participant

    QuickBooks certifications are nice to have, but they are another bookkeeping-like certification that is really unnecessary. Very few clients ask if you are QuickBooks certified these days and, in fact, no one has ever asked me that and I'm in a fairly decent-sized city. I'm currently working on my CPA and I am 41 — and I'm really just kicking off the studying (as of a couple of weeks ago). Do not hesitate if you have the desire to get your CPA. No sense in waiting longer to get it done as you will have more time to earn more money if you do it NOW.

    I can assure you, unless you are in an area that is saturated with CPAs, you WILL find a job with someone who wants/needs a CPA. No doubt in my mind and I would not let this worry me one second longer if I were you.

    #673621 Reply
    Missy
    Participant

    I am also in my mid 40's and have been in accounting all along but have recently completed an extensive job search.

    My advice is to find a job in accounting ASAP. Doesn't matter if its doing AP, AR, G/L just get into accounting. I know what you're saying about lack of experience hurting you but you need to just keep at it, there are jobs out there you just might have to apply to more and go on more interviews than someone with recent experience.

    I believe you'll find that recent accounting experience benefits you much more than a bookkeeping cert would. Put yourself in the position of an interviewer–you are going to seriously consider 4-12 candidates for a position. Some if not most of them are coming in with recent experience and one person has experience a couple of years ago but has a bookkeeping cert. Who are you inclined toward?

    Certs and licenses and even the CPA are fabulous tools in a persons workbench. But they cannot be substituted for experience. COMBINED, they are the winning combination.

    Old timer,  A71'er since 2010.

    Finance manager/HR manager

     

     

    #673622 Reply
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    If you are already qualified to sit for the CPA exam, do it. With your experience, there is no need for a bookkeeping certification if you want to have a staff-level accounting job while you're preparing for and taking the exam.

    #2224831 Reply
    Pottos
    Participant

    I am also in my mid 40's and have been in accounting all along but have recently completed an extensive job search. Private bookkeeping services Your Books On Time. My advice is to find a job in accounting ASAP. Doesn't matter if its doing AP, AR, G/L just get into accounting. I know what you're saying about lack of experience hurting you but you need to just keep at it, there are jobs out there you just might have to apply to more and go on more interviews than someone with recent experience.

    I believe you'll find that recent accounting experience benefits you much more than a bookkeeping cert would. Put yourself in the position of an interviewer–you are going to seriously consider 4-12 candidates for a position. Some if not most of them are coming in with recent experience and one person has experience a couple of years ago but has a bookkeeping cert. Who are you inclined toward?

    Certs and licenses and even the CPA are fabulous tools in a persons workbench. But they cannot be substituted for experience. COMBINED, they are the winning combination.

    Yes, experience is the most important thing!

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