What Does it Take to be a Certified Tax Accountant (CPA)?

8169560070_290a4e1fc4_bTax accounting is a specialty in the field of accounting, one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for accountants are projected to grow at 13% from 2012 to 2020. Certified tax accountants advise clients on their tax liabilities. Accountants choosing this specialty can expect to earn a yearly salary of $50,000, even in the first year of their job. Becoming a certified CPA is a smart move to bring home a good pay package, and to enjoy job security. Here is what you need to do to become a certified tax accountant.

Educational Requirements
A tax accountant must have the basic qualification of a bachelor’s degree in accounting or business. To improve your chances of employment, go on to complete your Master’s degree in business administration or accounting. You will need a four year accounting degree, and also take the certification exam. Most tax accountants who do well are Certified Public Accountants who have a Master’s degree.

You must pass the CPA exam to become a licensed professional. You may practice tax accounting without being a CPA, but most tax accountants go through this licensing process. The exam is tough and requires serious preparation. The test is conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Check out the AICPA website for more information on the exam and how to prepare for licensure.

Skills Needed to Become a Proficient Accountant
Accountancy is all about number crunching, so it goes without saying that you should have a natural aptitude and affinity towards numbers. With a general understanding of how numbers work, and excellent skills for communicating to your clients what the figures mean, you will be able to make your mark in the field. Tax accountants must also be very detail oriented and pay attention to minutiae. Dropping even a single number or a decimal place can have serious consequences during tax preparations.

Accountants will be required to work on sophisticated accounting software, so it is essential that you be comfortable with computers. More than all the technical capabilities, a good tax accountant must also have the ability and willingness to communicate effectively with clients who are seeking help. You must also ethically uphold all the tax regulations applicable.

What do Tax Accountants Do?
Tax accountants offer specialized tax advice to both individuals and businesses. As a tax accountant, you will be involved with calculating tax liabilities of your clients and figuring out ways for them to reduce their taxable amount. You would also complete tax forms to ensure filing on-time. Business tax accountants would be involved with higher-level strategic and financial decisions of the organization, such as what type of investments should a company make, where they should build new facilities etc.

Tax accountancy is a field with a lot of growth opportunities. It is easy for tax accountants to find a job in law firms, government agencies, and accounting firms. You may also choose to work as an independent contractor if you want to have some flexibility in the workplace. Tax accountants typically make more than other accountants, so it is an excellent specialization option to consider.

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