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Would getting a cpa be worth it in management consulting?

I'm pursuing the 150 just in case but would love some insight

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Subject: Career question for you

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Sungwoo (Chunga)’s Answer

Hello Evan,

The response to your query isn't straightforward, as it largely depends on the specific management consulting practices you're interested in. To provide some clarity, having a CPA isn't a mandatory requirement for becoming a consultant. However, it can certainly be beneficial, especially if you're keen on working with financial practices.

If you're still unsure about the specific areas you'd like to concentrate on, such as pricing, market expansion, transformation, due diligence, M&A, and so on, I'd recommend that you initially focus more on honing your case interview skills. This will help you secure a position within a consulting firm. Once you're in, you can then make a more informed decision about pursuing a CPA, based on your evolving interests and career goals. I hope you find this advice useful!
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Garrett’s Answer

Management consulting is an exciting and diverse field, offering a wealth of specializations. I dedicated over half a decade to risk management consulting, where we partnered with clients to carry out testing for SOX compliance, internal audits, and other risk management projects. This included SOC reporting, IT assessments, cybersecurity, and much more. Our team was predominantly composed of CPAs, even within the IT sector, as much of our work was presented to audit committees and used by external audit firms examining our clients' financial statements. To truly thrive in this environment, it's beneficial to have a CPA or CIA qualification. To really make your mark, it's also valuable to acquire skills in IT auditing, with COBIT framework expertise and CISA credentials being highly advantageous. Conversely, our firm offered management consulting services focused on sales/revenue growth and human capital management. These services were delivered by teams with few or no CPAs, demonstrating the diverse opportunities within the field.
Thank you comment icon Really appreciate your response Garret thank you! Evan
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PwC’s Answer

Hi, as other responses have mentioned, it largely depends on your practice and firm so people at your target firm would give the most accurate answers. That said, as a management consulting intern, I have heard differing viewpoints, especially that having a cpa would greatly help differentiate you in your group, however is not necessary and won't hinder your chances at progressing at the firm. Try a couple of accounting courses and only pursue it you enjoy it!
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Maran’s Answer

Hello Evan! I'm currently employed in the field of accounting consultancy. So, if your goal is to provide advice on accounting-related queries, obtaining a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) qualification would be valuable. If you're more interested in management consulting, a CPA isn't necessary. However, acquiring a relevant qualification like a Master of Business Administration (MBA) would be advantageous for that particular field.
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Stephanie’s Answer

Hello! As many people have stated here, it would somewhat depend on your area of practice as to whether or not a CPA would be beneficial; however, I work for a large consulting firm office that is about 50% risk and 50% management consultants, and no one that I work with is a CPA. If you are going into the auditing or assurance practices, a CPA may be more beneficial. If management consulting is your goal, there are several other degrees and certifications that may be beneficial, such as an MBA in your preferred field, or various project management and/or Six Sigma certifications. Overall, I would say any and all education and experience is beneficial and can be valuable at various points in your career, but it depends on what you want to do as to whether or not a CPA is value-added for the specific field of management consulting.
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Jody’s Answer

Hey Evan, earning any form of accreditation can be incredibly beneficial. These aren't just given out, nor can you simply purchase a CPA certificate. It elevates your value as a consultant, in my view. Every consulting firm has a pricing structure for their high-profile clients. Consulting is a diverse field that caters to paying customers. High-profile clients are willing to pay premium prices for top-tier consultants, and having a CPA certification is a significant advantage. When I was in the automotive industry, clients had no issue paying premium prices and wanted all personnel on their projects to be accredited. Now, I work with insurance companies who prefer only licensed engineers to handle their claims. I transitioned to full-time consulting after being laid off from NASA.

I'd also suggest you start compiling your own document library for future reference. My experience spans various industries - manufacturing, automotive, oil & gas, NASA, Department of Energy, and so on. Over time, I've gathered numerous documents that I can adapt and create templates from for different clients. Building a personal library will empower you to be independent and potentially offer your own consulting services one day. I'd also encourage you to join the International Toastmasters student organization and complete the beginner's manual. This will significantly improve your communication skills and provide you with invaluable tools that can't be developed in the classroom or bought. I joined Toastmasters while at NASA, and for a small monthly fee, I became a confident speaker and professional communicator. This greatly assisted me in handling challenging situations, bosses, and clients. Evan, you have a bright future ahead! I salute you!

Jody recommends the following next steps:

Make an outline of companies you may want to work for
Research their career sections on the website for open positions
Copy the job descriptions and requirements for the jobs
Make an outline of steps you think are necessary to develop marketable skills.
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Kathie’s Answer

Obtaining a CPA license could potentially be advantageous if you're considering a career in consulting. However, it doesn't assure you a position in management consulting. The field of management consulting is broad, encompassing various sectors. While some of these sectors, like Finance or Accounting, might necessitate a CPA license, others may not.
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