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Here’s how a CPA designation can sharpen your business skills

Image: CPA Australia

If you work in accounting and finance, you have most likely heard of Certified Practicing Accountants, also known as CPAs.

A CPA designation takes your accounting and business skills to the next level, providing additional, in-depth training that opens up diverse career paths.

If you’re debating whether to work towards the CPA designation, here are some of the benefits to consider.


It will refine your skills and provide you with new ones

As an internationally recognised accreditation, the CPA Program provides you with more than just technical accounting. It will also prepare you for finance and business situations that affect global marketplaces. It will teach you how to be a leader in finance, strategy and business.

The program’s capstone subject is “Global Strategy and Leadership”, which focuses on an increasingly complex business environment to take your existing financial and management knowledge to the next level.

The other core subjects are:

  • Ethics and Governance
  • Financial Reporting
  • Strategic Management Accounting

They’re crucial cornerstones if you’re focused on climbing the C-suite career ladder or have your own practice, because being a CPA places you on a similar level to an MBA.

Telstra’s mobility business operations manager, Shweta Vincent, can attest to the benefits being a CPA have brought her.

“As a CPA, you have that pure accounting side, but you also gain that strategic edge so you can impact global organisations,” she said.

The delivery of the CPA Australia Program is also designed to support and benefit a variety of schedules — so you can choose which is best for you. The options include:

  • Full time — a 12 month intensive learning program
  • Distance learning — you set your own study plan
  • Combined master degree

Students are also supported with professional resources and tutorials, as well as study groups.


It can help you make a difference

Businesses need highly ethical and responsible people and a CPA designation not only provides the necessary accreditation, but also an ethical framework. The Ethics and Governance subject in the CPA program also covers governance structures and responsibilities, social responsibility and strategic leadership.

It also takes an international focus, looking at the reporting requirements under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) — preparing accountants who plan on working in varying roles across different international markets and in diverse organisations.

All of this will enable you to affect positive change throughout your career in a way that keeps organisations accountable.

CPA have also found that they have been able to use the learning in the CPA program to influence positive change on a global level across many different types of organisations. That’s exactly what Chelsea Collins, who is now the operations accountant for the Australian Ballet, found since she earned her CPA.

“I started to realise that all of those technical skills I had built up translated into real benefits for business, and I could influence an organisation. At that point, I felt I could make a difference beyond the financial sector, so I moved into not-for-profit,” she said.

While working with Oxfam, I managed the finances of a disaster relief effort in the Philippines. And now with the Australian Ballet, I’m making decisions for our organisation’s future.”


It can strengthen your networking and career opportunities

Becoming a CPA delivers brand recognition and the prestige that is associated with leadership, strategy and in-depth knowledge that gives someone the edge in a highly competitive landscape, especially if you’re keen to seek opportunities overseas.

Being a CPA is the sort of the qualification Athanasius Tanubrata, deputy CEO of BDO Indonesia looks for.

“Indonesia’s economy is growing rapidly, so a lot of global companies are investing here. [They] demand the best accountants with the highest levels of integrity and technical ability. That’s why it’s important to have [an] international designation,” he said.

“If a candidate holds the CPA Australia designation, I know they can work to an international standard, and our clients can feel confident too. So it definitely stands out on a CV.”

Being a CPA can also provide networking opportunities, and CPA Australia runs a busy calendar alongside the study groups, social media and events you’ll experience during the program, as Telstra’s Shweta Vincent can attest.

“When I started the CPA program I didn’t know many people in Australia, so I really enjoyed all of the networking events and support groups that CPA Australia ran… I met so many people, all wanting to achieve different things,” she said.

“Catching up with people from the network, it’s really interesting to hear where everyone has been able to take their careers.”


Enrolments for Semester 2 of the Australia CPA Program open on 19 June, 2017. For more information visit the CPA Australia website.

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