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What is the highest title in the Accounting field?

I am undecided in my major, but I am strongly considering Accounting and becoming a CPA. I want to know if that position would be the highest position I could acquire. #job-promotion #job-rankings #accounting #cpa #accountant #undecided #need-this-scholarship #broke #independently-funding-my-education #help


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Christina’s Answer

Majoring in accounting and being a CPA at a Big Four company would probably be the best position you can acquire with an accounting degree. This may not necessarily be the highest paid position you could acquire, but it definitely would be the best move to kick-start your career because of the experience you would gain. Recognize that everyone has to pay their dues somewhere, and starting off as a CPA in a Big Four firm wouldn't necessarily give you a high position right off the bat. However, given time and experience, you would be able to get the highest position possible with an accounting degree and a CPA.

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Brendon’s Answer

<h1>What is the highest title in the Accounting field?</h1>

I am undecided in my major, but I am strongly considering Accounting and becoming a CPA. I want to know if that position would be the highest position I could acquire


Hi Julia,


I definitely recommend becoming an Accounting Major and pursuing the CPA license. In the Accounting Profession, there are high profile and high paying jobs you can work your way up to. One could be becoming a CPA and owning your own practice and growing that as large as you want. Another could be working for a Big 4 or smaller Public Accounting firm and working your way up to Partner, which is the top of the firm and makes you a owner in the firm. Another option could be working your way up through a Company and becoming the Chief Accounting Officer, Chief Financial Officer, or even the Chief Executive Officer! Your options are endless! If you look up a lot of the leaders of firms and companies, you'll find that many of them are either CPAs, MBA, CFAs, or another professional designation.


Having your CPA is very prestigious and opens many doors for you! If you have any more questions, I encourage you to get plugged in with some of the PwC professionals that might be on your campus or find an office local to you and ask for an informational interview. I also encourage you to visit your State's CPA Society website for more information into the profession and the CPA license.


Brendon recommends the following next steps:

Get plugged into the PwC Recruiting events on campus or an office local to you.
Visit your State's CPA Society website for more information.

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Tammy’s Answer

The CPA title allows others the knowledge of knowing that you can provide a service and are certified to do so. This credential is one that follows you. Depending on the type of company you choose to work for will determine how far your title can take you , for instance, if you work for a fortune 500 or global firm, you can potentially follow the path to become a partner or senior partner. If you choose to work for yourself, then of course you are the owner/founder etc. Should you choose to work for a government entity, your path may differ.

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John’s Answer

I am glad you are setting your sights high - I will answer and then in next steps section give you some advice. Its a challenging question because the things you can do with an accounting degree are wide and varied. For instance many Chief Executive Officers of big companies have accounting backgrounds. But typically in an accounting firm, partner is the "highest title" and of course there are varying levels of leadership, typically culminating in the title "senior partner". In a corporation, there is often a title called "Chief accountant". The highest level for a financial person is usually the Chief Financial officer (to whom the Chief Accountant typically reports) who often has an accounting background. And then most large companies have an internal audit function headed by the chief internal auditor who often reports to either the Board of Directors, or the audit committee of the board. Most people in a Chief Accountant, CFO or CIO role will have attained their Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.

John recommends the following next steps:

As I said I am glad you are looking forward, but I think the better question for you to ask is less about levels and more about where an accounting degree can take you. Accounting is often called the language of business so it can take you down many different paths in business (or government, or education, or, or, or......,) including being a good area to know about should you ever want to run your own business. Good luck and I hope you have a great career!!

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Jacqueline’s Answer

Becoming a CPA has endless possibilities for titles. The highest title that most people see is a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) and with a CPA and other necessary skills that could be obtained at a company or your own company. Many CPAs strive for CFO (Chief Financial Officer) as it relates more to the financial aspect of the job; although you will need additional skills to grow in any company. These skills will include the ability to negotiate, being a great leader and even visionary, being a great relationship builder, problem solver, etc.
In a CPA firm, the highest title is a partner and that could have additional levels (junior partner, senior partner, managing partner, etc.)

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Adam’s Answer

Hi Julia,

I am currently an associate at PwC and the highest title you can obtain at a Big 4 accounting firm like PwC is Partner. On the other hand if you go to a public or private company you could get as high as VP of Finance/Accounting or Chief Financial Officer or Chief Accounting Officer. Additionally, if you have the desire to, you can become a member of a company's Board of Directors or Audit Committee.

Hope this helps!


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Kim’s Answer

Hi Julia- Great question! There are many different career paths you can take with an accounting background, and getting your CPA will certainly help you in your career.


One path could be working in public accounting where you work on client engagements by auditing their financial statements, preparing their tax returns, etc. In public accounting, you can climb the ranks from associate all the way to a partner of the accounting firm.

You could also work industry, where you'd work for an accounting or tax department of a company. Some accounting and/or tax staff go on to become the VP of Tax or CFO of their company.

You could also continue your education through to a doctorate degree and potentially become an accounting professor.


The sky's the limit! If you do chose to major in accounting and hope to obtain a CPA, you'll likely want to consider graduate school and getting your master's degree.


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