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CPA Career Paths

Written on Feb 6, 2023
CPA Career Paths

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The sky's the limit when you become a certified public accountant. Obtaining CPA licensure opens up a multitude of career paths, experiences and earning potential. Your career can rise to incredible heights, and your skills will always be in demand. After all, not a single business exists that doesn’t have to make smart financial decisions in order to survive.

Advantages abound for CPAs

CPAs are more attractive to employees because they have proven their dedication to the industry and enhanced their knowledge and skills. As a result, career opportunities are more extensive, and they have the potential to earn more compared to their non-certified counterparts. Great things are in store for accountants willing to put in the time and commitment it takes to obtain their CPA license.

Exciting careers

Jobs for CPAs extend well beyond recording and reporting duties. Rewarding and lucrative accounting careers are stimulating, impactful and more varied and flexible than ever. Exciting opportunities exist in:

  • Public accounting
  • Government and non-profit organizations
  • Specialized niches
  • Legal and forensic services, and
  • Financial consulting

CPA career resources

Need help figuring out where to start, how to start, what path to choose or how to switch gears in pursuit of the best fitting accounting career? Look into professional accounting membership organizations like The Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) for inspiration and guidance.

Accounting societies like OSCPA provide a wealth of information, training courses and events to help members discover their specializations, hone their skills and find jobs. Member access to on-demand accounting self-study courses can help any financial enthusiast–from the focused high schooler to the seasoned financial professional–achieve the career of their dreams.

Wherever you are in your career journey, joining a professional development network will help you achieve more faster. For example, networking opportunities for members can generate interviews and job offers; CPE courses can boost skills and earnings. An accounting membership will more than pay for itself in benefits and rewards.

Public accounting

As a public accountant, you’ll be the objective outsider or close advisor your client or organization needs to gain a competitive advantage. Your auditing, tax or advisory services will be indispensable to clients of any size or scope. And with over 46,000 public accounting firms in the U.S., your job prospects will be excellent. Begin your climb as a staff member, then on to senior and management positions, and, potentially, partner or committee chairperson.

Government and non-profit organizations

With public accounting roles, you can find careers in managerial accounting, auditing and reporting as a government employee. These influential and exciting positions pay well as you'll be advising policymakers, evaluating the efficiency of government departments or assessing the effectiveness of resources at local, state or federal levels.

The FBI, IRS, General Accounting Office, and Department of the Treasury are a few government entities that could use your knowledge and skills. You’ll audit and advise on fair financial reporting and compliance issues. Additionally, you may help an organization determine if they are meeting business objectives effectively and whether or not they maintain requirements for government aid and assistance.

Donor-supported, charitable organizations (like the Red Cross) need good accountants, too. Someone must oversee and skillfully manage funds to ensure revenue covers services and benefits. Charities, schools, hospitals and the like must have someone who can budget resources, expertly utilize tax breaks and credits, prepare financial data for and from fundraisers and set up internal controls to make the best use of donated funds.


Turn a special interest or hobby into a gratifying career. Sports enthusiasts have leveraged their hobbies and accounting degrees to work for their favorite teams. From careers in academia, international accounting and internal auditing to those in fashion, technology and entertainment, there are unlimited possibilities for you to obtain a job or carve a niche for yourself in an unconventional career.

Legal and forensic

Help solve mysteries and bring criminals to justice as a CPA. Your accounting skills are just what a legal team needs to serve as a witness in a trial or write reports for their use in investigations and hearings.

Financial consultant

As a financial consultant, you’ll have the flexibility to set your own hours and work from the comfort of your home. Financial consultants enjoy working on a variety of projects for clients of all sizes and scopes.

No typical day at the office for the modern CPA

The accounting profession is full of fun rewarding jobs for the CPA willing to invest in their education and hone niche skill sets. Professional accounting associations, like OSCPA, have the education and growth opportunities accounting professionals need to thrive in the industry.

For the boost or reset you need in your career, join OSCPA and discover all we have to offer accountants and finance professionals. From career fairs to camps and on-demand free CPE, OSCPA members have access to countless benefits and advantages.

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