What does a CPA do?

Certified public accountants are officially designated accountants who serve the public interest, have fulfilled certain licensing and certification requirements, and have passed the CPA exam. They commonly provide a range of financial services including tax advice and preparation, bookkeeping, payroll services, and support with audits. They prepare balance sheets, profit & loss statements, and other financial documentation. They may also provide advice related to financial areas such as investing, paying for college, or retirement planning.

Certified public accountants have a CPA license and have successfully passed the associated exam. They typically also have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. They must have in-depth expertise with a wide range of accounting practices and issues, including auditing and tax return preparation. Proficiency with common accounting and bookkeeping software programs is helpful.

Education--
Work/Life Balance
3.6 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.7 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a CPA make?

Confident
$95,132 /yr
Total Pay
$74,266
 /yr

Base Pay

+
$20,866
 /yr

Additional Pay

$95,132

 / yr
$43K$348K
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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CPA Career Path

Learn how to become a CPA, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
6%
2 - 4
58%
5 - 7
12%
8+
24%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
See Career Path

CPA Insights

Read what CPA professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Connor, McMillon, Mitchell & Shennum
Certified Public Accountant
Sep 17, 2020

“It was nice working at a firm that carefully selected clients so tax season wasn't overwhelming.”

Bey & AssociatesBey & Associates
Senior CPA
Apr 28, 2021

“Good pay and it sounded good”

Summit CPA GroupSummit CPA Group
CPA
Oct 27, 2021

“Amazing flexibly and great team to work with.”

Sidani & Co
Senior CPA
Nov 5, 2020

“Good place to train and start your career”

PwCPwC
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Feb 8, 2022

“Kind and career development for future”

FraserFraser
CPA Assistant
Mar 21, 2021

“Working as a team is great”

PwCPwC
Senior CPA
Nov 6, 2020

“Good for career development”

H E BH E B
Overnight Stock Controller
Mar 19, 2022

“Good people to work with”

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CPA Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a CPA

The most similar professions to CPA are:
  • Management Accountant
  • Accountant
  • Accounting Manager
  • Cost Accountant

Related Careers

Management Accountant
$101,410
No skills overlap
Accountant
$97,206
No skills overlap
Accounting Manager
$100,130
Cost Accountant
$94,774
No skills overlap

CPA Jobs