The Ultimate Guide to CPA Jobs: Everything You Need to Know

Discover everything you need to know about CPA jobs. Find out how to become a CPA and explore the benefits of remote and freelance CPA jobs, as well as career opportunities at Intuit.

What is a Certified Public Accountant’s job? CPAs are accounting professionals who work in a variety of finance-related roles. CPA jobs could range from tax preparer and bookkeeper to financial adviser and accounting professor. While the ongoing education requirements may seem intimidating at first, the advantages of earning your CPA certification can far surpass the investment of time and money.

Read our complete guide below to learn about various CPA jobs, salaries, and how to become a CPA. Explore the benefits of remote and freelance CPA jobs, as well as how Intuit can help you kick-start your career as a TurboTax Live Tax Expert or QuickBooks Live Expert Bookkeeper. 

What Is a CPA?

A Certified Public Accountant is an accounting professional who performs tasks such as auditing books or analyzing financial statements. They have met specific education and licensing requirements to earn the CPA designation.

CPA Jobs and Specializations

CPAs have the opportunity to move into different accounting jobs throughout their careers. A CPA certification can be extremely valuable in securing positions for different types of accountants, such as corporate accountants, tax accountants, or even forensic accountants. However, you could also choose to become a compliance auditor or a financial adviser. Other jobs include budget analyst, finance manager, and accounting professor. 

Many of these CPA jobs also allow you to choose between private and public accounting. A private accountant works for an individual client, typically as an in-house member of the finance department. On the other hand, a public accountant might work with multiple companies or clients. They may still have a permanent position with a specific business, but they might also have freelance clients outside their primary job.

CPA Job Description

CPAs are responsible for helping businesses and individuals assess their finances and improve their overall financial health. CPAs work closely with clients to review financial statements and perform audits to ensure compliance. A CPA may perform the following daily activities:

  • Balance financial records and statements
  • Check books for inaccuracies
  • Identify risks to financial health
  • Keep track of project budgets
  • Audit and publish financial statements
  • Work with management to determine budgets
  • Oversee entry-level accountants and other finance personnel
  • Make suggestions based on financial analyses
  • Provide assistance during external audits

How to Become a CPA

To become a CPA, you will need to meet certain education and training requirements to earn the certification. First, you must have a bachelor’s degree and at least 150 credits of coursework. It’s recommended you have a degree in accounting or business, but this isn’t required. However, some states will require you to take a certain number of accounting-related credits regardless of your major.

After completing the education requirements, you must pass the CPA exam administered by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). There are four sections of the CPA exam: Auditing and Attestation (AUD), Business Environment and Concepts (BEC), Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR), and Regulation (REG). You must get an overall score of at least 75 out of 99.

Each state will have varying requirements after you pass the exam, but many require that you have at least one year of experience working as an accountant to officially earn your CPA certification. Some states may also require professional experience in specific types of accounting work.

Once you have your CPA certification, you may need to renew it every one to two years. Each state will have continuing education requirements, so you will need to attend courses for a specific number of hours to renew.

CPA Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CPA jobs are expected to grow at about the same rate as other occupations, around 4% per year for the next 10 years. There will likely be about 126,500 CPA job openings available each year, which is enough to cover the number of people leaving the profession either to switch careers or retire.

The expected growth seems to be slowly declining, which could be affected by many factors. For example, AI and other technologies could automate certain accounting tasks, such as data entry, which may increase the need for other skills, such as analysis. 

Are CPA Jobs in Demand?

There will always be individuals and businesses that need to hire CPAs for accounting work. In addition, tax codes are constantly changing, which creates demand for CPAs who keep up with their education and hone their skills. However, there are likely to be more entry-level positions than management or high-level accounting jobs. 

CPA Job Salaries

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2022, the median salary for accountants and auditors was $78,000, or $37.50 per hour. Compared to the median salary for all occupations, which is $46,310, CPAs have the opportunity to make quite a bit more than other individuals. The highest-paid CPAs work in finance and insurance, management, tax preparation, bookkeeping, payroll services, and government positions. 

Remote CPA Jobs

A remote CPA works from home, or anywhere else they like, as long as the environment is appropriate for their work duties. There are a variety of remote CPA jobs, such as accountant, tax preparer, bookkeeper, and financial adviser. 

Many businesses and individuals hire remote CPAs since remote work offers many benefits that are desirable in today’s busy world. If you can work from various locations, you might be able to travel more, or you might just like the idea of being comfortable in your own home during the workday. 

Some remote CPA jobs still require you to work specific schedules or attend video meetings, so be prepared to make a commitment to the position. Remote CPA jobs also have the same skill requirements, so you’ll need to receive the proper education that aligns with the job. 

Freelance CPA Jobs

Freelance CPA jobs are a type of self-employment, so you can choose to work with as many or as few clients as you like in whatever capacity you prefer. And freelancers can often take on just about any role they want in the accounting world. 

Freelancers have the privilege of being their own bosses. For example, if you agree to work with a client, you work together to figure out a schedule, the pay rate, the location, and any other details of the job. This is significantly different from an in-house employee, who will have to work during specific hours, often in the office, for a wage that is largely dictated by the company. If a freelancer doesn’t agree with a client’s requirements, they can simply choose not to work with them.

Want to Run Your Own Business but Don’t Know Where to Start?

If you want to start your own business using your CPA license, you have many options. You could start your own tax preparation business, bookkeeping business, or financial adviser business. There are numerous opportunities, and the process is much the same for any accounting business. 

First, you’ll need to ensure you’ve received a proper education. If you already have your CPA certification, then you’re all set. In addition, you’ll need to register your business with your state and apply for an employee identification number (EIN) with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you’re preparing tax returns, you’ll also need a preparer tax identification number (PTIN), and possibly an electronic filing identification number (EFIN) if you’re filing more than 11 returns online. 

You can then determine exactly what your business is about. Take some time to figure out your services, ideal clients, and rates. You’ll also need to get the right software for completing your work tasks, communication tools, and any other equipment. 

The ongoing work of running your own business will consist of fulfilling financial services, as well as marketing yourself to continuously reach new clients and expand your business. 

Grow Your Business Through the Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro Program

The Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro program allows independent tax preparation business owners to partner with Intuit and access a wider range of customers. You must provide proof of your credentials, and then Intuit will list your business in local and national searches. 

You’ll also be able to take advantage of Intuit’s tax preparation software, which allows you to onboard customers, collect documents, and file returns easily. You can also use the software for your existing clients if desired.

There is no up-front cost to becoming an Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro, and you can set your own rates just like you normally do for your business. However, Intuit does take a certain percentage as a fee for promoting your business. 

Another benefit of the Intuit TurboTax Verified Pro program is that you can connect with other tax professionals to ask questions, discuss business topics, and learn from one another. 

Available Jobs for CPAs at Intuit

Intuit has two primary categories of jobs for people with a CPA certification: Tax Expert and QuickBooks Live Expert Bookkeeper. 

Tax Associates and Tax Experts work directly with clients to answer tax questions and help file returns. You’ll have access to Intuit’s large library of finance resources to help give customers advice, prepare tax calculations, and answer product or software questions. You’ll also be able to use the company’s software for online chats and sometimes video chats while keeping track of your communication records. 

Requirements to become a Tax Expert include:

  • Must be a CPA, enrolled agent (EA), or practicing attorney
  • Must have at least two years of experience with at least 30 tax returns filed per year
  • Must have or be able to obtain any required state licenses or permits
  • Must have an active PTIN
  • Must have strong customer service skills
  • Bilingual communication is a plus

If you’re a CPA with a focus in bookkeeping, consider becoming a QuickBooks Live Expert Bookkeeper. You may spend most of your time handling the customer’s financial information, or you could be closely working with them to answer questions and provide guidance on how to use the software. For example, you might handle inquiries involving financial statements, sales tax, payroll issues, and more. You’ll be able to use Intuit’s software to communicate with the client via online chat and video.

Requirements to become a QuickBooks Live Expert Bookkeeper include: 

  • Must have at least three years of experience as a bookkeeper
  • Must have at least three years of experience using the QuickBooks software
  • Must have a QuickBooks Online Pro Certification
  • Must have strong customer service skills
  • QuickBooks Online Advanced Certification preferred
  • CPA or Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) preferred
  • Four-year degree preferred
  • Bilingual communication is a plus

What It’s Like to Work as a Remote Tax Expert or Bookkeeper at Intuit

Intuit’s remote positions for Tax Experts or Bookkeepers provide many benefits. You can perform these jobs from home or anywhere else that has good internet access and allows for private communication with customers. Even though these are virtual jobs, you’ll also get the opportunity to work with other finance professionals to provide assistance to customers.

Intuit also provides equipment and training to make sure that you’re able to perform your duties effectively. You’ll receive a laptop with the correct software, headset, webcam, and more. Training, which is paid, is completed in a mixture of self-led and live sessions.

You can choose your own schedule when working in either of these roles. Tax Experts must commit to a minimum of 20 hours per week, but they can choose their own shifts between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. PT, any day of the week. Bookkeepers can choose shifts between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT from Monday through Friday.

Compensation for the job can vary widely, depending on your level of experience, education, and location. Tax Experts are also eligible for a performance-based bonus at the end of each tax season.

Career Paths as a Tax and Bookkeeper Expert at Intuit

Working with Intuit as a Tax Expert or Expert Bookkeeper opens up a world of opportunity within the accounting industry. While you must originally commit to a specific role at Intuit, there are plenty of chances to move up and across. 

For example, Tax Associate who continue to earn additional certifications and credentials could move up to Tax Expert. However, they may also choose to educate themselves in bookkeeping and choose to fulfill a role as an Expert Bookkeeper instead. Individuals who gain enough education and experience on both paths can move up to tax and bookkeeping manager positions. In addition, seasonal tax professionals may be able to take on a year-round bookkeeping position.

Intuit provides numerous resources to make these moves easier, including free courses in tax preparation and bookkeeping, so you can continue to learn new skills and improve on your current ones. Each time you complete a course and pass an exam, you’ll earn a badge that you can use to stand out on your next job application, whether that’s with Intuit or another company.

Entry-Level CPA Jobs

There are many different routes you can take when entering the accounting field. Fortunately, many accounting jobs are available to new CPAs who have limited professional experience. 

Bookkeeping is always a great way to learn your way around all of the basics in accounting, since you work hands-on with a client’s everyday finances. However, you could also choose to apply for jobs in accounts receivable, accounts payable, auditing, or payroll. Many of these jobs will require excellent data-entry skills, and you may deal with numerous administrative duties. They offer a lot of value in terms of growth and educational opportunity.If you’re interested in becoming a tax or bookkeeping expert but currently have no experience, Intuit offers free education through the Intuit Academy and a Tax Prep program that can help you gain tax prep experience that can qualify you for the Tax Associate role. While a CPA certification gives you an extra leg up during the application process, it’s not required, and these positions give you the opportunity to earn an income and experience as you continue to pursue your CPA license.