When someone chooses to pursue a career in accounting, their end goal should be to become a CPA/ACCA. The benefits are immeasurable. Corporations in every industry, nonprofit organizations, public accounting firms and governments worldwide look to CPA to meet their needs. Employers are now looking for finance professionals with CPA status or newly graduated accounting students who are studying for CPA/ACCA and possibly have passed some papers. Completion of just level one makes you stand out from your friends that only have the degree.
I started my CPA journey immediately after the last exams of my Bachelors even before I graduated. With a lot of determination, I was able to complete the course in about 2.5 years. Each level completed positioned me for different opportunities. I was able to grow fast in my career because of my CPA and by my mid 20’s I was already at Finance Manager level in an international NGO. Through out the journey I have worked with finance colleagues that have not priotised finishing their CPA/ACCA in time and it is not a surprise that these are still in the Job Positions they held 3 years back.
CPA Journey requires determination. Don’t focus at the 10 years grace period given by ICPAU but focus on finishing your course in time at least with in 3 years so as to earn from it early . Some students get discouraged for just a single paper failed and decide to take 1 or 2 year break, to me this is time wasting and positioning yourself for failure. Persist through the course, do something different each time you fail and giving up or taking a break should be the last option
Finishing your CPA and earning membership with the institute comes with several benefits;
1) *Respect and Credibility.*
When someone finds out you are a CPA, they look at you in a better light. The profession is held in high esteem and respected in other business fields. Additionally, it often is easier for CPAs to get business loans, negotiate contracts and get referrals from others. For those who open their accounting firm, having a CPA membership lends credibility and shows people you have the knowledge to help them with their financial and accounting problems.
*2) *Earning potential*
Salaries for CPAs have averaged about 10% higher than salaries for non -CPA accountants who have the same or comparable responsibilities. The high demand for CPAs leaves plenty of room for excellent compensation. The employment stability and the opportunity for professional growth assures that there will be long term earning potential for those with a CPA membership
3) *Overcoming the obstacles*
Any one who has obtained their CPA membership or is in the process of taking the CPA exam knows the difficulty of the testing process. There is a significant investment both in money and time, but those who have completed their journey have said it is well worth it. Your reward for all the time and money will be the designation of CPA after your name, job security- and possibly a big pay raise!.
Let us be part of a new breed of ACCOUNTANTS that will change the face of the Accounting Profession in Uganda.
Samuel Ibanda- CPA Tutor with Achievers Professional Trainers.