Public Accounting Programs

MPA at University of Texas - Austin (McCombs)
  • One of the best programs in the country
  • Average GMAT for 2018 - 668
  • over 90% US students and over 75% International students received jobs offers before graduation.
  • Average GPA is 3.7 (for entering class)
  • Average CPA pass rates is around 77% (for students)
*These are top schools in Public Accounting and do not represent any order in ranking.

Public accounting is the most diverse type of accounting. A public accountant works for an accounting firm that provides auditing, bookkeeping, financial analysis, tax, consulting and accounting services for other organizations, businesses, government agencies, non-government agencies as well as individuals.

Career information

To practice public accounting, an individual needs a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting or other related fields. There are many employers who prefer applicants with a master's degree in business administration with accounting or in accounting. By taking up a master's program, the individual gets an opportunity to pursue an area of interest like tax or cost accounting.

Sometimes, graduates of community colleges, accounting clerks, and bookkeepers who have the education and experience requirements of the employer get a job as a junior accountant. Work experience of about two years is utmost important to get a job as a public accountant and to apply for Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. Work experience can be gained through part-time or summer internships with a business or public accounting firm. Such a license is given by the state's Board of Accountancy and is considered as the accounting profession's highest standard of proficiency and assurance of quality.

Every accountant who files a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or wants to set up their firm is required to have a CPA license. To become a CPA the individual is required to complete 150 semester hours of college coursework and clear four-part national exam within 18 months of clearing the first part. This uniform exam is designed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and is held by the NASBA. In most of the US states, CPAs are required to renew their license every 2-3 years along with continuing education requirements.

Job prospects

An entry level public accountant within 1 or 2 years often advances to senior positions. Over the years many accountants become managers, supervisors, partners or even open their public accounting firm. It has been found that Public Accountants often move into another aspect of accounting and auditing such as internal auditing or management accounting.

Expected Salary
The median salary of a public accountant with Bachelor's degree is $70,00 and one with masters degree, MBA or CPA is $90,000.

Growth outlook
It has been predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that the employment opportunities for accountants are expected to grow rapidly in the coming years mainly due to setting up of more start-up businesses, the complexity of taxes, change in the financial regulations, accounting information systems and international controls. This job prospect is best for those with advanced education or CPA license. The employment growth rate of an accountant is expected to be 10 percent from the year 2016 to 2026. This growth rate is as fast as the average of other professions.

A Public Accountant is expected to work 35 to 40 hours every week. However, during the tax season, the working hours for the Public accountant are much more. They must be organized, Analytical, patient and accurate.