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How am I able to obtain a CPA with an accounting minor and a major in marketing, what are the requirements? Can you explain how I can build an accounting portfolio to get a high paying job? Do I have hope for that even with a minor?

I am currently a senior, trying to figure out how to build a portfolio in accounting to obtain a good job if marketing doesn’t work. I am confident in my major as I’ve built up a portfolio for it but the entry level pay may not be good. I appreciate your support and advice!

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Beth’s Answer

Just a friendly nudge to remember that a CPA license isn't always a necessity for all accounting jobs. There's a good chance you can apply for beginner-level accounting roles even if you don't have a CPA license or eligibility. It could be beneficial to concentrate on entry-level accounting positions to gain some hands-on experience. After that, you'll be in a better position to determine whether pursuing a CPA license is a path you'd like to explore.
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Candace’s Answer

Hello! Each state has unique criteria for acquiring a CPA license. If accounting is your minor, it's entirely possible for you to meet these requirements. You'll need to find out the specific guidelines of the state where you wish to be licensed. The key requirement is usually 150 credit hours, but some states now only require 120 credit hours to take the exam. You might already be eligible, and you can then sign up for additional, more specialized accounting classes to earn the remaining 30 credit hours needed to reach the 150 credit hour requirement. A little research is all it takes - the Board of Accountancy in your state can provide you with solid advice.
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hey Alex! It's important to understand that requirements can differ a bit from one state to another, so it's a good idea to research the specific rules for California. Just to give you some perspective, I'm based in Texas and I'm currently finishing up my own CPA requirements. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and a Master's degree in Management Information Systems. In Texas, you need a master's degree to be eligible for your CPA, but it doesn't necessarily have to be in accounting. However, having a solid foundation in accounting can make the CPA exams easier to tackle. You'll need to pass four CPA exams within a span of 18 months. On top of that, you need a year's worth of work experience under a CPA before you can apply for your own CPA. Some states, including Texas, also require applicants to pass an additional ethics exam after they've submitted their CPA application.
Thank you comment icon Thank you Elizabeth, I appreciate you! For your area of expertise, What job opportunities would I be able to obtain with an accounting minor? Alex
Thank you comment icon Hi Alex! With an accounting minor, you shouldn't have issues finding jobs. I have a Bachelors in Finance and am in an accounting/consulting role. Opportunities with accounting backgrounds are plentiful, every company requires an accounting department. If you're passionate about sports you can look for accounting roles with teams or a league. Additionally, you can work for a Big 4 firm and get some experience with F500/FAANG companies to give your resume some weight. The additional opportunities larger firms provide are great as Deloitte offers to pay for CPA exam costs and study materials. Apply for business/accounting internships in college, as you'll get to see a variety of finance/accounting projects and their respective day to days. Hope this helps and all the best in your future! Arjan Lubana
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Hector’s Answer

Hi Alex, as long as you meet your state's accounting credit requirements and you have 150 credits in total, you should be able to sit for the CPA exam. As others have mentioned in this thread, each state is different in terms of what they require to be CPA eligible. Here's a link to the California Society of CPAs: https://www.calcpa.org/become-a-cpa/cpa-licensure/cpa-licensure-requirements.

Also, here's a tip sheet from the Cali society of CPAs which outlines in detail the credit requirements: https://www.dca.ca.gov/cba/applicants/tip_sheet.pdf

As some mentioned here, some states might require a masters, some others don't require it. For example, I'm working towards my CPA licensure in Florida and this state does not require a masters, only that you have 150 credits. I do not have a masters, but I double majored in accounting and finance during my 4 years of college and I made sure to take the right elective classes to ensure that the Florida institute of CPAs would accept these credits.

There's not a perfect formula to get your CPA, as you meet people you will see that everyone has gone in different paths to be CPA eligible in their home state. Keep up the good work and don't loose hope, consistency is the key!
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Jae’s Answer

Hi Alex, each state has different requirements when sitting for the CPA exam. Overall, there are credit requirements that you would need to meet in order to sit for the exam and additional requirements to receive your license. The ultimate question is what you plan to pursue with a CPA license. Not all career paths related to accounting will require a CPA license. However, in most public accounting firms, CPA license is a requirement based on the position and/or promotion. The CPA Exam has also changed through the past few months with new exam sections, score expiration period, and experience.

I would strongly encourage you to start networking with professionals at companies you are interested in working for in the future. Not only would they provide you with additional resources about the company/firm, you would also be able to build additional soft skills necessary.
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Chau’s Answer

Hi Alex,

CPA requirement depends on which branch of accounting you would like to pursue.

If you want to work at smaller CPA firm, CPA-eligible is not required, but nice to have.

But if you aim for jobs in the Big 4, I believe you need to be eligible to sit for the CPA, and it also depends on the state requirement. I believe for CA, you need to earn 150 credits with 20 semester units in accounting. You can further this research.
Some ways to pursue this 150 credit requirement: take courses from community college (this can be cheaper) or get a Master in Accounting/Taxation/Business Analytics and take some accounting classes.

For building up your portfolio - trying to apply for internships//jobs at big companies, can be in various positions. Start to build your resume by joining accounting/finance clubs in college, aim for leadership position, start at some small firms as a finance/accounting interns, and apply for internship in the summer. You can also join as many case competition as you like to build up your experience. Big 4 annually held competitions that college students can join.

Best of luck!
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Olivia’s Answer

Hi Alex, to get a CPA license with a minor in accounting and a major in marketing, you'll need to complete 150 semester hours of coursework, including essential accounting subjects, and pass the CPA Exam. Most states also require one to two years of supervised experience under a licensed CPA. Building a strong accounting portfolio involves securing internships or entry-level positions in accounting, pursuing additional certifications such as CMA, engaging in professional networking through associations like the AICPA, and showcasing your work through detailed project highlights and recommendations. This combination of certification and practical experience can significantly enhance your job prospects, even with a minor in accounting, by demonstrating a comprehensive skill set that is attractive in various business contexts.
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Ashley’s Answer

Hi Alex! I see you're noted as based in California. As some of the other responders have indicated, CPA requirements vary by state. If you intend to stay in California after graduating, below is a link that will give you more specifics for California licensure. The CPA exam is a rigourous exam and I recommend looking into different options for study materials. One of the more commonly used CPA review courses is Becker - I believe they offer both self-study, virtual, and in-person live classes depending on your study preference and location. As a minor, there may be some aspects you haven't covered in classes where spending time with a structured study would likely be needed at a minimum. As someone else mentioned, some accounting firms/companies may reimburse you for study materials and/or the costs of the exams for the first time you take each test.
https://www.calcpa.org/become-a-cpa/cpa-licensure/cpa-licensure-requirements
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Nick’s Answer

Hi Alex,

It really depends on the State you are in. Different states have different CPA requirements. Usually, the requirements for siting for the exam are 120 credits from college with some specific accounting courses. If you had taken those required accounting courses with minor in accounting, you should be fine as long as you also have 120 credits. After sitting for the exam and passing all of them, some states require 150 credits or master's degree to be licensed. Additionally, there will be some working experience requirement in order to be licensed.

I hope that could help!
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Reginald’s Answer

Hi Alex,

Great question, I have my CPA so I think I can help you with an answer.

First off, the CPA requirements is different in every state so you'll need to look and see the exact requirements but most of the time you need a certain amount of hours in school (usually about 150 hours) to be able to sit and take the 4 exams. Since you minored in accounting and may be short on hours you may want to look at getting a masters in accounting. It's not required for a CPA but if you need the extra credits it won't hurt. I also think there's programs where you can study for the CPA with live classes (I think through Becker) and get a few hours of college credit. Once you have the hours and pass the 4 exams you'll get your license.

Also I work at a Big 4 accounting firm and will let you know you don't need a CPA to work here.
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Emily’s Answer

Hi Alex! I encourage you to not be worried about having a minor in accounting and wanting that to be your career path. There are many career paths and different journeys into accounting. I think the first place for you to start is to narrow down what you specifically want to do in accounting. There are many factors to consider, the most important being: 1. Tax or Audit (or neither) and 2. Public Accounting (Working for a firm, serving many clients) or Private Accounting (Working in the accounting department for a specific company).

The answer to these questions will help you to determine if you even need your CPA license or not. If you decide you do want your CPA license, then find out the requirements per your state as many have answered above. If you find you need more credits a great option is to get your master's in accounting. Specifically, if you are interested in Tax, a master in Tax is a great idea because it will give you industry specific knowledge as well as make your resume more attractive.

I would also implore you to look into internships that could lead into job opportunities. The accounting field is very internship focused and there are lots of opportunities to get your foot in the door.
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Trung’s Answer

Taking the path to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), with a side focus on accounting and a main focus on marketing, is quite a unique journey. Here are some friendly tips to help you become a CPA and boost your accounting portfolio:

Education: To sit for the CPA exam, you'll generally need 150 semester hours of college coursework. This is more than a typical bachelor’s degree, which is usually 120 hours. Since accounting is your minor, make sure your classes meet the specific accounting and business course requirements set by the state board where you plan to get your license.

Experience: Most states ask for one to two years of accounting experience under the guidance of a CPA. The specifics of this experience, including what kind of work you do and how long you do it, can differ from state to state.

Internships and Entry-level Jobs: One of the best ways to gain hands-on experience is through internships or entry-level jobs in accounting or finance. You could work in an audit firm, an accounting department, or a finance role within a marketing firm. Keep track of all the projects and tasks you work on, especially those where you've used accounting principles or made financial decisions.

Networking: Get involved with accounting or business groups on campus. Networking can open doors to mentorship and potential job opportunities. Going to industry conferences and workshops is a great way to meet professionals and stay up-to-date on industry trends.

Show Off Your Skills: Put together a professional portfolio that showcases your work. Include case studies, reports, analyses, and recommendations from your classes, internships, and any relevant work experience. Highlight skills that combine accounting with marketing insights, like managing budgets for marketing campaigns, analyzing finances for market expansions, or calculating ROI for marketing strategies.

I hope these tips give you a better idea of how to break into the world of accounting. Best of luck to you!
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Shirley’s Answer

Hi Alex,

Depending on the state where you intend to practice as a CPA, there are state-specific requirements. However, all states will require you to have completed 150 credits. If you're interested in accounting, I would speak with a an academic advisor at your college/university to see which accounting courses you would need to take to comply with the licensure educational requirements. It is possible that if you want to become a CPA, you will have to take additional accounting and general business courses. Have you considered majoring in accounting and/or delaying graduation?

Some useful undergraduate accounting classes when it comes to preparing for the CPA exam:
Intro to Accounting
Intermediate Financial Accounting I
Intermediate Financial Accounting II
Advanced Financial Accounting
Cost Accounting/Managerial Accounting
Accounting Information Systems
Principles of Personal Income Tax
Principles of Auditing
Principles of Micro and Macro Economics
Principles of Finance
Intro to Business Law

After that, you'll have to take four parts of the CPA exam, may also need to take an ethics exam (depending on your state), and work under the supervision of a licensed CPA for at least a year to become fully licensed.
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Jennifer’s Answer

Hello Alex,

During my academic journey, I specialized in business economics and supplemented it with a minor in accounting. The credits earned from the accounting minor certainly hold value. Additionally, I pursued a master's degree in accounting to meet certain requirements, though it's not a mandatory step for obtaining a CPA in California. The main requirement is to successfully complete 150 semester units in coursework and gear up for your exam!

Remember, as a newcomer in this field, you're not expected to already possess a CPA license. My suggestion for you is to focus on preparing for the exam and seize opportunities like summer internships or joining accounting/finance clubs at your school. The Big Four firms also provide excellent opportunities to gain practical experience. Do visit their websites to explore any available programs!

Wishing you the very best in your journey!
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Kevin’s Answer

Hi Alex,

You can find the requirements for sitting the CPA exam in California on the California Society of CPAs website: https://www.calcpa.org/become-a-cpa/cpa-licensure/cpa-licensure-requirements

Many have shared valuable advice on preparing for the CPA exam, and I agree with their insights. I’d like to emphasize that at my firm, possessing a CPA license (or an equivalent) is essential for promotion beyond certain levels.

Additionally, it's important to recognize that your marketing background will come in handy should you choose to pursue public accounting. There is an aspect of selling work to clients that is a huge part of what we do, so it's a good skill to have.
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