Thursday, 05 July 2012 08:39
Last Updated on Friday, 06 July 2012 10:13
There are certain stereotypes about CPAs and accountants we’d like to clear up and shed a little light on, so here are the top ten myths about CPA, busted:
1. Myth: CPAs Can Only Work in Ireland
CPA Ireland is by its very name, an Irish institution. We pride ourselves on our roots, however we recognise that the world is made to explore, which is why we try to make working abroad as easy as possible for our members. The CPA designation is the most recognised in the world, meaning your qualifications travel with you. In addition, the Institute has agreements with CPA Australia, CGA Canada and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in India. Under these agreements, our members can apply for membership with these bodies and work and travel with ease. In addition, CPA has Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) in place with professional bodies in Lithuania, South Africa and Zimbabwe. CPA is also statutorily recognised as an approved body of auditors in New Zealand.
2.Myth: CPAs Work in Boring Office Jobs
One of the biggest misconceptions about the accountancy profession is that they are restrained to offices, behind a desk. Some of CPA Ireland’s members’ positions range from an Emmy-nominated casting director to entrepreneurs to CEOs of large corporations. CPAs by their very nature have an understanding of business, which prepares them to work in the world of business, at any level. CPAs can start their own practices and work in at the ground level in their local communities, helping to make the local businesses as successful as possible.
3. Myth: CPAs Need to Excel at Maths
Most people think that accountancy is purely focused on numbers and making them add up. This couldn’t be further from the truth. While a certain amount of numerical literacy is required, accounting is about putting the pieces of a puzzle together, analysing what the numbers mean for a business or a bank manager; be it problems with cash flow, increasing or cutting expenses and where money should be directed within a business. Increasingly, CPAs are taking on a more advisory role, providing executive advice to their clients and ensuring their business plans make financial sense and build a sustainable future for their company.
4. Myth: CPAs Don’t Work with People
The stereotypical image of the shy, retiring accountant does not hold any weight in the world of accountancy today. CPAs work with real people on a real level, whether on personal accounts or in the inner-most workings of their businesses, which puts them in close contact with people 24/7. Good communication skills are one of the most vital assets CPAs need, as they are key to building solid working relationships with clients and colleagues.
5. Myth: CPAs are Mainly Male
This is one myth we especially want to disperse because, even in today’s world, gender inequality is still an issue. Fortunately this is not the case at CPA Ireland, as we are one of the first accountancy bodies in Europe on course to reach gender parity. CPA Ireland strongly believes in the business benefits of diverse and balanced boardrooms, which is why we push all our students and members to reach the peak of their profession.
6. Myth: CPAs are Facing Unemployment with the Recession
It’s hard to envision any profession that is not facing difficulty in the current economic climate. However, the accountancy profession continues to weather the economic storm, with 97pc of CPA Ireland’s 2011 conferees now in employment. The finance sector continues to be highlighted as a growth area, with outstanding opportunities for accountancy graduates in Ireland’s multinational companies.
7. Myth: CPAs Only Work in Small Practices
There is a mistaken believe that CPAs are often restrained to working in small practices in Ireland, however this is not the case. CPA Ireland members work in all of the ‘Big Four’, with KPMG part of CPA’s Approved Training Partner programme. CPAs also have the option of working in ACCA and ACA practices, to ensure that as many doors as possible are open to our CPA graduates and to increase their opportunities to work right around the country.
8. CPAs Only Work in Business
CPA Ireland regulates Ireland’s large and small practices; however some mistake this as our members only working in practice. In reality, CPAs are at the heart of business and industry in Ireland, with some of our members taking the roles of financial controllers in the biggest companies in Ireland. Our Approved Training Programme also provides students with the opportunity to work in industry, with ATPs including international heavyweights, such as Apple, Microsoft, General Electric and Vodafone.
9. Myth: CPAs Work in the Past
While being a CPA can involve regular book keeping and tax returns, this does not mean your work is resigned to the past. CPAs are actively involved in planning for the future for their clients, whether for their personal finances or their professional ones. CPAs can show businesses where they can grow, how to create strategic business plans that guarantee a sustainable and profitable future. While organising past accounts and tax returns is part of the job, so is planning for the future.
10. Myth: CPAs Need an Accountancy Background
People can often be held back from studying CPA because of the unfounded belief that they need an accountancy background. CPA students include school leavers, undergraduate, post graduate, mature students and those seeking a change in career, with study options including full-time, part-time, distance, weekend and e-learning. The flexible study options and the absence of a registration fee, mean there are no obstacles between you and your career in accountancy.